Interview

Interview with the OLIVIER and BBTAs award winning Actress Miriam-Teak Lee

British actress MiriamTeak Lee is known as a musical powerhouse for her awe-inspiring performance in Hamilton. Recently and currently in & Juliet as Juliet, the Arts Ed graduate which is one of the top drama schools in the UK has had an enviable start to her career not long out of drama school in 2017, she has picked up several awards, including a recent OLIVIER  2020 Award for BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL and a Black British Theatre Award (BBTAs) for Best Female Actor in a Musical  both awarded for her performance in & Juliet as Juliet. The timing could not have been better as both the Olivier Awards and BBTAs aired on TV on the same night. ALT caught up with the actress not long after.

Tell us something about the 10-year-old Miriam that shaped who you are today?

Yes, it started in arts school in North London which was kind of a hobby originally as performing  was not where I saw myself. I was quite shy, but my brother was  just incredible. He was just so amazing and inspired me so much. It was actually by being his duet partner that I found my confidence. And I actually always loved to sing but it was just by myself not in front of anyone. As I got older, I really started getting into who I was as a performer and by then my brother had left and went to Arts Ed. I was just there by myself, with  this newfound confidence in me. There was a time when I was going to go to university, I did really love business studies. But I went to Arts Ed for  three years and had an incredible experience.

What was your first professional role?

When I graduated in 2017 I got my first job as Claire DeLoone in Drew McOnie’s “On the Town”.  That was so much fun, it was at Regent’s Park and it was the lead character who was all prime and proper but who had a flirtatious side and ended up having an affair. After that I got my first award, and it was a big award (The Stage Debut Awards) which I did not expect just coming into the industry. When my agent told me, I was like “I cannot believe it”.  I then went on to Hamilton as ensemble cast and learning about being a cover was like a whole different world, covering those tracks and just be a part of that show was amazing. Then playing Juliet, which is just an absolute dream come true, a  dream show. It’s just so perfect. The message that it has is powerful, a confident role. All the qualities that Juliet has inspires young children who are coming up in the theatre industry.

What was it like winning the OLIVIER  and the BBTA  awards on the same night?

You know that does not usually happen. But it was so special to be recognized for Juliet a role  which is so, so honest and credible  so positive and the BBTAs allows for a new platform for different voices the event was great even under the social distancing rules.

You mentioned that it was a positive role to play. So, what was positive about it?

Well the whole idea of young love and the way she helps other characters and from her own experiences she also tries to be better. I also get to live my popstar dream every night.

How do you think theatre and the arts will cope with the Pandemic?

The positive things are getting to spend time with family. People go through all sorts of things in their lives and I think we have to work together to get things back.

Who are your Sheroes?

Grace Jones and Beyonce?

Do you think we are going toward a more positive time as everyone is talking about racism?

Yes, I try to look at things with a positive edge.

What are you looking forward to next?

The hope is that & Juliet will return, well that is the plan.

What has lockdown taught you about yourself?

 I can say that I have learnt how to use a multitude of skills from editing to video, and learning to be resourceful?  

More about & Juliet here: https://www.andjulietthemusical.co.uk/. More about the Black British Theatre Awards here.

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