Originating in the role back in 2017, and having become Sloane repeatedly on tour and the West End since, Sharon Sexton continues to display her awe-inspiring talents in Bat Out of Hell- the electrifying Meatloaf musical that is a rock 'n' roll phenomenon; love story with layers. Also having built a family with her partner (both on and off stage!), Rob Fowler, the duo have recently released some of their own work, as well as starred in Mamma Mia! together too.
Speaking about her experience on the show, and accomplished career in the arts, Sharon has kindly answered a few questions for a lovely interview below.
What keeps bringing you back to Bat Out of Hell and what does the show mean to you?
I think when you create a character, you give a bit of your soul to it, and so I feel this way about Sloane. I was very privileged to make a lot of choices about the role, her arc, her journey, her text and her musical numbers, so there is a lot of myself invested in the character. For that reason, I think there will always be a draw on my heart to play her - plus Bat Out Of Hell is one of the most epic shows out there and I love being part of it.
Which elements of the production do you most enjoy?
This show is all about the staging and the music. I’ve been singing the songs for six years and I still get goosebumps when the piano intro starts for ‘All Coming Back To Me Now’, so you know it’s something special.
How do you feel that motherhood has impacted on your role of being a mum on stage?
As an actor, you are always putting yourself into the shoes of other people and you have to use your craft and imagination to empathise with the character and imagine yourself in that situation. I’ve been playing mums for quite a while now and so I think being one now, has impacted more on the logistics of the job, rather than the role if that makes sense.
Having recently starred in the contrasting shows of Mamma Mia! and Bat Out of Hell, how did it feel to make the change, and now be back at Bat again?
I absolutely loved playing the role of Donna and I feel that I got robbed a little bit due to Covid cutting the tour short, however, it was lovely to step back into Sloane‘s shoes. I mean, how lucky am I to play these two awesome roles. Even though the shows are quite different, the characters definitely have a lot of similar traits. Both very strong-willed feisty, funny women, that are sometimes ruled more by their hearts, than their heads and both of them wear their emotions very much on their sleeves.
What differs about your approach to the production between touring, and being West End, and is there any exclusive backstage gossip you’re able to share?
It’s really tricky to take care of yourself when you are on tour and it’s something you have to put a lot of energy and effort into! For example, eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep and finding downtime to rest. When you are at home or based somewhere like the West End for a long time, it makes these things a lot easier. People may not always see it like this, but honestly a lot of being a performer is about how you spend the OTHER 21 hours of your day to be able to do your 3 hours on stage each night.
No gossip for you I’m afraid. Like a true mum, I’m the last to find out everything in this show!
What do you feel that you’ve learnt about yourself and are most proud of over the span of your career, and what piece of advice do you think is most important to share?
I’ve definitely learned to mind my space and take down time when I need it instead of just saying yes to everything and everybody, and trying to do too much that you end up doing nothing well. I think this is really important.
A lovely piece of advice that I listen to is the saying “you cannot pour from an empty cup”.
Having done some independent work away from the big productions, such as Vision of You, would you consider taking this further in the future?
I absolutely love playing intimate spaces, there’s something so special about those concerts where everybody is collectively in such a special moment of live theatre. We definitely have more of these planned and I think, as a performer, they are sometimes even more satisfying for your soul and creativity. There is nowhere to hide in those kind of concerts and that also makes them exhilarating.
If there were to be a jukebox musical about your life, what songs might we find on the soundtrack?
Definitely a bit of Fleetwood Mac, probably a bit of Billy Joel and Elton John - I love their lyrics. And definitely a lot of Bowie.
Who inspires you, and why?
David Bowie - so original, so creative, imaginative, free thinking and unafraid to break grounds
that no artist ever had before him and at the same time to just be unashamedly himself.
Huge thanks to Sharon for her contributions to this- professionalism aside, it has been a dream to interview one of the people that has had such a profound impact on my passion for theatre. As always, best of luck with everything you do, and I look forward to continuing to support your brilliant work going forward.
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