The writer and performer chatted to Emma Clarendon about bringing her musical Shida to London.

Hi Jeannette – thanks so much for talking to me. For those who don’t know what is ‘Shida’ about? Shida is a musical I wrote based on true story. It’s about my childhood best friend, who as a child was very smart, ambitious, and hopeful. Unfortunately, as she got older, she fell on
hard times and got derailed. Eventually, with the help of her family and friends, she found her way back on the right path and discovered her voice again.

How did you come to write ‘Shida’? I was in the musical Hair on Broadway, and after an amazing run, we got notice that the show was closing. I thought to myself, “I should write a musical.” As soon as the thoughtcame, I knew exactly what I wanted it to be about. Growing up in Bronx, there were so many challenges that I faced and witnessed. Because of my strict upbringing, I was able to avoid lots of pitfalls. Unfortunately, that was not everyone’s story. My childhood best friend had been through so much and overcame so much, and I felt like I really wanted to tell her story because I knew it would empower others.

How do you feel about bringing the show to London and The Vaults? I am super excited about bringing Shida to The Vaults in London! This opportunity is a dream come true. To share this story about a little girl from the Bronx across the pond means so much to me.

What can we expect from the production? You can expect a beautifully intense roller coaster ride. Shida’s journey will allow you to
experience so many emotions in 75 minutes. We hope you’ll laugh, cry, and cheer. We’re going to have an amazing band, and I’m so excited about our creative and design team. I’m blessed to be working with some amazing artists and musicians who are working around the
clock to tell Shida’s story and make our UK premiere a truly special production.

What do you hope audiences over here will take away from the show? I want people to leave the theatre empowered and inspired. We all have struggles, and we all need a community of people to help us make it through them. I know that this story will remind people to be kind, be forgiving, not to judge, and if you feel like giving up, to give life
a second chance.

For those who are thinking about coming along to see the show why should they? You should see Shida because it’s a story of hope. We all need a little hope in our lives. Shida is my story. Shida is your story. Shida is our story.

By Emma Clarendon

Shida will play at The Vaults from the 11th September until the 13th October.