The Tab Meets: Spring Awakening

The Tab meets the cast of ‘Spring Awakening: The Musical,’ talking song-choices, adolescence and on-stage sex scenes.

exeter phoenix Spring Awakening the tab the tab exeter

Spring Awakening opens at Exeter Phoenix on Tuesday (21st). The Tab caught up with producer Tim Bradbeer, first year Hannah Bloom, who plays Wendla, and Jonathan Leigh, who plays Melchior.

Sophie Marston (SM): For those who haven’t heard of Spring Awakening, tell us what it’s about?

Tim Bradbeer (TB): Well it’s set in Bavaria during the 1890s. It’s a story of sexual awakening, education and the dangers of authority.

Jonathan Leigh (JL): It’s about young people growing up, essentially.


SM:  There are lots of dark themes in the play, how did you cope with exploring them?

Hannah Bloom (HB): Well, from the start they asked if we’d be OK with it and, as we went along, we spent a lot of time getting to know each other and everyone talked through it.

TB: We’re all good friends which helped.

JL: Well we spent quite a lot of time developing the characters so you end up knowing the reasons why your characters do what they do.

The complete ‘Spring Awakening’ cast

SM:  The show is taking place at the Phoenix, a big venue. Have you ever done that kind of thing before? 

HB: Yeah, I’ve done some similar things back in California in community theatres.

JL: I’ve been involved with the Edinburgh Fringe.

TB: Well, I’m on my own producing this time. And it’s a theatre we’ve never worked with before, so I’m developing new relationships with them. They’ve been fab, and we’re keen to start a yearly thing with them. I want people in five years to be asking what the Phoenix show is this year.


SM:  So, why did you chose to audition for your characters in particular?

HB: I’ve been singing the songs with my teacher for a long time, but the schools in California aren’t brave enough to put it on. In such a short amount of time she grows up and has to face all these problems. It’s interesting to play a character like that nowadays our parents talk to us about these issues. It’s a really good challenge.

JL: I wanted to go for Melchior because he’s the sort of character I’ve never played before. He’s a very interesting character because he’s intelligent and passionate but gets himself into all these situations. It’s challenging and testing I’ve really, really enjoyed it.

The ‘Spring Awakening’ cast in rehearsals

 SM: The show is sold out, how are you feeling about performing in a packed out theatre?

HB: I’m so excited

JL: It’s a really nice theatre and a really cool space. It should be good fun.

TB: I hope we get an interesting mix of audiences. Obviously, all our friends are going to come but I hope there are young people, old people, people from the college to get a wide variety of people from the city.


SM: What about the sex scenes?

HB: Obviously, at first, when we didn’t know each other it was like ‘get on top and thrust.’ But now we know each other it’s now just another scene in the show. You don’t think of it as a sex scene; you just think its act one scene whatever. We knew from the start that we were going to have to do it.

TB: You’re doing it as the characters. There’s a reason why you’re doing it.

HB: Obviously, we’ll laugh at times – but we’ve done it so many times now.

JL: It’s so professional. It’s not as awkward as it could have been.

Rehearsing the dance moves. Don’t drop her

SM: There are so many great songs in the production. What’s your favourite?

TB: ‘Those You’ve Known.’

HB: I just can’t chose, but if I had to it would be ‘Totally Fucked.’

TB: Yeah – especially the way the cast do it.

HB: There’s something that happens when we do it, we just get into it. A few days ago, when we did the second run through, we were so into it and there was a great energy. it was just so much fun.

JL: Mine’s probably ‘Those You’ve Known,’ too. I love it.


SM: Do you have any advice for people looking to get involved with theatre at uni?

HB: Do it. When I look back on it, I can’t help but smile.

JL: Go for it. You need to keep in mind that you need to be confident right from the start. No one ever thinks badly of someone who goes to an audition and tries hard.

TB: Don’t be put off by never having done it before, or being a fresher or thinking you do the wrong degree. Shotgun [Theatre] push for people who the non-typical people because, actually, that’s the kind of show we want. We’re doing a show in term three so come along an audition for that. We’re not scary.

Point those fingers, cast