London = the city of musicals? This might sound like a cliché but it turned out to be the perfect equation for Phantom of the Opera current lead actress Sofia Escobar.
Photo of Sofia Escobar: Courtesy of VIP.pt
As soon as she was done with school, Sofia Escobar knew very well what her goal in life was and decided to go after her dream: acting and singing. For that she decided to leave her hometown, Guimarães, in Portugal, and embrace the opportunity to study in one of the most renowned music and acting universties, the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.
We both come from the same country, decided to move to London for the same purposes (mainly to study and build a career) and she studied in a school that is a mere five-minute walk from where I live. Us crossing paths was simply meant to be, right? Well, that and the fact that I added her on Facebook (ah, the joys of technology) to set up an interview. Fortunately, Sofia wasn’t creeped out by my random adding (we do have one mutual friend after all) and very nicely accepted the offer.
– Why did you decide to move to London?
I always had a big passion for music and acting, and I really wanted to be able to study both. After a bit of research I came to the conclusion that the schools in London were my best bet, so I decided to go for it!
– How did you adapt to the English culture and the United Kingdom?
Luckily, I usually adapt well to new environments and, in this case, it was even easier considering I was already familiar with the most important tool when moving abroad: the country’s language, English. Mostly I was just very excited to have been given the opportunity to study at Guildhall, which helped me embrace this new phase in my life. The only thing that is worse is missing my family and friends.
– Did singing and acting appear as a calling to you or did you develop this passion over time?
In a way, both were always a part of me, but it was through the learning process and the deeper knowledge I now have on the subject that I was really able to develop this passion. Life experience also helped a lot.
– How do you feel now that you’ve become somewhat famous?
I feel exactly the same. Obviously, though, I am very happy and thankful that my work can be appraised positively. It only boosts and motivates me to work more and become even better.
– I assume that, when someone leaves a life of anonimity behind, it is hard to keep yourself grounded. How did you deal with such a life-changing situation?
I think that depends on one’s education and goals in life. My priority was never to become famous or well-known; it always was and always will be to live doing what I love, and be the best that I can be in what I do. Furthermore, and fortunately for me, I’ve always had a family that did not encourage certain types of behaviour, such as acting superior, something that some famous people sometimes feel the need to do. I am exactly who I used to be, the only difference being that nowadays I feel happier and accomplished by all the efforts I have put in to make my dream come true.
– Tell me a bit about the process of auditioning for Phantom of the Opera.
The process of auditioning in general is extremely hard and exhausting, there is always a lot of pressure and stress involved. Sometimes auditions end up dragging on for a long time and then it becomes even harder controlling your anxiety. But that is part of any actor’s life and anyone getting into this business needs to be prepared. It’s not always easy!
– What does it feel like to work in such a well-known musical amongst such renowned actors?
The atmosphere is great, everybody gets along really well and there is a lot of respect among the whole team, but we’re also quite demanding, leading to some pressure at times. I do six shows a week and each of them needs to be of a very high level.
– Have you met Andrew Lloyd Webber? If so, what did you think of him?
Yes, I have had the pleasure of meeting Sir Andrew, and he was extremely friendly and approachable.
– Have you thought of working in movies, too?
It is part of my long-term plans but because my experience consists mostly of acting on stage, I would consider studying and doing some preparation in that area first. Theatre and cinema envolve completely different ways of working and acting.
– Do you have heroes in life?
Yes, I do! Audrey Hepburn, acting-wise, and my sister in my personal life.
– Finally, what are your plans after the Phantom of the Opera?
I’m on contract until September, so it is still early to know what I will do after this. This is a big part of my new life: I never know what might come next!
Sofia, if you’re reading this, thank you once again for this wonderful opportunity!
Click here to book tickets for the show.