Rounding off our interviews ahead of The Wizard Of Oz at the Epstein Theatre, and following our chats with Sean Smith, Lindzi Germain and Lewis Pryor, is our conversation with Lola Saunders. Here, she talks about her leading role in The Wizard Of Oz, her experience on The X Factor, and her future career ambitions!
First of all, tell us about your character in The Wizard Of Oz.
I’ll be playing Dorothy. I love the show, it’s such a classic story. I’ve never played it before, and so I’ve never played the character before. I’ve played roles like Cinderella or a Princess, but this is a movie that I’ve grown up and always loved. I think everyone else loves it too. I’ve always been a fan.
When did you first develop a passion for performing?
I’ve always loved singing ever since I was younger. I would pick up a turkey basin and I would be singing into it. But for performing to a crowd, that came after I did The X Factor. It puts you’re on a platform where you’re lucky enough to receive opportunities to try different things. I took really well to it, and I really enjoyed being on stage and being more live, as well as being involved more in acting rather than just singing.
How did you find your experience on The X Factor back in 2014?
I absolutely loved it. Obviously at the time, I was a lot younger, so you’re still very naive. But it really opens up your eyes much more quickly. You’re given some amazing opportunities. I feel like you learn more about the industry coming off the show. You couldn’t buy what you learn from doing that show. For that, I’ll always be really grateful.
You’ve appeared in numerous other pantomimes. What would you consider to be your highlights?
I love it when mistakes happen. When something goes wrong, I just start laughing. It’s always light-hearted. The audience is in with you. I know the cast will probably go to try and make me laugh, because I’m someone that laughs very easily. When you know how something is meant to go in the show, but you’re watching it like and it’s like “Oh, this is meant to happen”. But then the mistakes happen, and it’s just a laugh. It’s great fun. Plus, the audience enjoy moments like that too.
I’ve often wondered how the cast manage to learn everything that goes into a pantomime, from acting to singing to dancing. Can it prove difficult at times to learn your lines from the script?
When you first get a script, you’re like “Oh, gosh!” But everybody learns things differently. With me, I’ll pick up a script and try to learn it as much as I can, but you can’t really learn it until it’s all up on its feet. You know that when somebody walks in saying a particular line, that’s when you say your next line. It does all slot into place.
What are your future career ambitions?
I love being in the radio studio; that’s something that I’m really passionate about. I’m also hoping to start acting on TV, I’ve been attending a few auditions for TV roles. There may be something in the pipeline for next year, which I’m quite excited about. That’s more about serious acting; if I could crack the serious acting, that would be amazing.
Finally, why should the Liverpool audience come to see The Wizard Of Oz?
You’ll be in for a massive treat with the Wicked Witch; she may be flying a broom, or she might not! (Laughs) There’ll be lots of different things going on, and I think it’s gonna be really funny. Everybody will have such a good laugh.
The Wizard Of Oz runs at the Epstein Theatre from Thursday April 11 to Monday April 22. To book your tickets, click here.