The next interview in our stagey chat series, is with the world famous choreographer, Gary Lloyd. Gary has fast become one of the UK’s most sought-after Director Choreographer who is represented by BBA Management. Currently taking the London theatre by storm with Cruel Intentions and Rehab the Musical.  

Get yourself comfy and join us for the next segment of Stagey Chat!

Hi Gary (represented by BBA Management), thank you so much for chatting to Stage to Page today. Can you introduce yourself to our readers and tell us how you first got into choreography and directing?

I was always the annoying kid who got all his friends to learn routines and scenes and perform them for our parents and neighbours. I spent hours in my room writing shows and coming up with concepts as well as choreographing routines. That translated into a profession very early on during my training at Laine Theatre Arts and then on an early job when I was asked to re choreograph a lot of the work in a show I was doing for Royal Caribbean. From there on I was always the Dance Captain in shows becoming the Resident Director, Associate and then the Assistant. It’s only a matter of time before you are creating your own work and in demand as an individual choreographer and then director in your own right, if that’s what you really want to do and put the work in. Currently I am represented by the lovely folks ay BBA Management.

You're currently taking the West End by storm with choreography and directing credits on both Cruel Intentions and Rehab the Musical. How has the experience been working on both of those shows?

Both shows rehearsed and opened at the same time which was demanding but both very different pieces. Cruel Intentions, we had some material created from when we did the show at Edinburgh in 2019. Both Director Jonathan O’Boyle and I were working on two shows but we have an amazing team, a phenomenal cast and I have an incredible associate in Matt Nicholson. There were some very long days and all rehearsed over the Christmas period! 

Rehab, I have also been involved with for a while and deeply invested in its development as it is a brand new original piece. As Director and Choreographer on this one, the experience was very challenging but so fulfilling as we have spent a year since our workshop production at the Playground theatre working on the script and music to open this new production at Neon in Piccadilly. Another blessing of a cast and team meant I could switch between the two feeling supported and without worrying too much. Both shows have opened to rave reviews and very appreciative audiences! I am very grateful.

How do you go about developing a new dance routine for musical theatre, as opposed to something like an arena tour?

The starting point has to come from the text and narrative. What is the character going through and what are they thinking? Where are we in the piece and does this song progress the story somewhat. The style of choreography totally depends on the musical style or the directorial concept.

With an arena style or TV routine, the choreography stems more from the music, the beats and arrangement and how to serve the artist or idea and how to wow the audience within the song’s 3 or 4 minutes.

What inspired you to pursue a career in choreography? Was there a particular routine that you can pinpoint which started it all?

All I can say is I was born to do this. I don’t know anything else and I am extremely grateful and lucky to be surviving this long in an ever growing and competitive industry.

I guess the routine would have to be FAME. My biggest inspiration as a young dancer was Fame the TV series and my choreographic hero was Debbie Allen. I adore her passion, her drive and the tough love she gave her dancers. She encapsulated the energy of the 80s and that, together with those movies, Fame, Flashdance, Dirty Dancing and Footloose were the soundtrack and visual inspiration of my teenage years.

From Sweet Charity at Art Eds, to Snow White in Southampton with Diversity, it's been a busy few months. Can you tell us what's next?

It continues to be busy as we are now maintaining Rehab and Cruel Intentions as well as putting on understudies and filming EPKs. There’s a lot in the pipeline for 24/25 so expect some announcements soon!

My blog is called Stage to Page. But if you could turn any book, from page to stage, what would it be and why?

I directed CARRIE the Musical which was one of my favourite ever novels growing up. Having done that already I would have to say taking a piece of history and adapting it for the stage through a contemporary lens. I was very moved by the recent Scorsese movie, Killers of the Flower Moon. I would like to make an impact like that with a story of a movement or historical figure on stage. I am also a keen advocate for the care system and supporting the neurodiverse community, so working on those stories, like in Rehab the Musical, dealing with addiction and trauma, feels like such an important part of the job as a storyteller. 

And finally, do you have any advice for those trying to make it as a director or choreographer in the theatre industry?

If you know in your heart that you are a creator, there should be no stopping you. Keep going. Reach out to people who inspire you. Believe in opportunities and not rejections. Be present both in person and online and never stop believing in your craft.

You can find more details about Gary's career here.

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