Love London Love Culture’s Emma Clarendon chatted to the actress and singer about bringing Songs for Nobodies to the Ambassadors Theatre.
Hi Bernadette, thank you so much for talking to me. What can audiences expect from Songs for Nobodies? It’s my pleasure! I think audiences can expect a show that explores some of the emotions we all feel in our lives: loneliness, grief, loss but also love. It’s a show that explores our desire to be in close proximity with celebrity or talent, but also strips away the veneer of the life of stars, showing that the ‘nobodies’ and the ‘divas’ aren’t ultimately that different.
It is quite a few female singers that are covered in the show – What were your initial thoughts about being asked to perform as each of these divas? I wasn’t asked- I insisted! I specifically chose each individual diva because of my great love of their music and admiration for their lives. The whole show was born of my desire to work with the brilliant minds of director Simon Phillips and playwright Joanna Murray-Smith on a piece that really showcased my talents.
Of course on top of that each have their own unique style of music – how did you approach becoming each woman in the show? Since I was a child I’ve always been keen to embody different characters and have been especially fond of bringing to life some of my favourite singers. I studied each singer extensively, watching interviews and listening to their music, basically just immersing myself in their work.
Have you a personal favourite moment in the show? As a monologue, my favourite is probably the third one which is where I play Edie Delamotte, the English school librarian whose life is intertwined with that of Edith Piaf. But as a select moment, I love the transformation from Bea Appleton to Judy Garland in the first monologue, because of how unexpected the audience finds it each time.
Who do you find the most fascinating personality that you perform as during the show? I’ve always had a soft spot for Judy Garland, because of her enormous talent and charisma, and also because of her enormous suffering. I think all of the singers in the show have that bittersweet mixture of a superb voice and yet a life filled with hardship. I think in a way that’s what makes them so alluring to us.
How would you describe the show? As a performer it’s challenging and rewarding; as an audience remember I would hope that it’s engrossing and moving.
What do you think it is about each of these women that continues to inspire singers today? Their passion, their strength in the face of adversity and of course their sheer talent, which transcends time as they remain some of the greatest and most beloved voices of all time.
How are you feeling about bringing the show to the West End? I am so excited and delighted! I’m very grateful and absolutely can’t wait.
By Emma Clarendon
Songs For Nobodies plays at the Ambassadors Theatre from the 9th January until the 23rd February. To book tickets click here or visit: