An Interview with Faye Brookes
Hi Faye. Tell us about the panto at Hull New Theatre. What was it about Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that took your fancy?
I think we’ve all truly missed a bit of festive fun, and what was so lovely… I’d signed up to do Chicago during the previous lockdown. I was fortunate enough to be doing Dancing on Ice at the time when I found out about that job, and I didn’t realise there was a small gap in my schedule that allowed me to go and do a Christmas panto. And there’s nothing that gets you more in the Christmas spirit. So I was thrilled to be doing Snow White this year.
What was the first panto you saw as a kid?
There were so many. It was a tradition. We’d always go Boxing Day; we’d always have leftovers from Christmas Day; we’d get dressed up, and we’d always go and watch the matinee or the evening performance. I just remember several princesses that I saw, and I loved that as a little girl – watching the princesses on stage, and now I am that princess, and I can see the Snow Whites dressed up on the front row, and it just brings a real nostalgia to the role.
Did those early pantos as a kid give you a taste for theatre?
I always wanted to be an actress. I watched films, and live theatre and everything on TV, and even just animation… I loved everything, and I truly knew there was something out there for me. Now I’m doing it all.
It must have been great to play Kate Connor on Coronation Street. Any plans to return?
The door’s still left open, so I’m not going to hold my breath, but I hope one day that I get to return to the cobbles. It’s unfortunate that now my (Street) family is quite thin on the ground (laughs). My dad recently passing, but my sister’s still there, and I’ve still got cousins. We’re a big family the Connors, and I think they’ll always come back with a vengeance, so hopefully there’s still room for my little role to make an appearance one day, but for now I’m kind of loving being back on stage.
You must love the adrenaline rush of live theatre…
That’s my bread and butter, theatre; I was trained to do musical theatre, and I have always pursued that. It’s where I saw myself, and I just got really, really lucky, and was able to further my skills by going into TV, and what an iconic place to be, which was Weatherfield.
What are the less obvious differences between theatre and making a TV show like Corrie?
As much as I love theatre, it’s a whole different ballgame with TV, and what comes with that is also fame, and a very hectic schedule; the demands are a lot higher and there’s a lot more pressure, because you end up being thrown into social media from all different angles. And at the same time you don’t really get the pat on the back that I think everybody thinks you get. You film everything two and a half months in advance anyway, and you don’t really get to reap the rewards as they say. You’re then onto the next storyline, or you’re being thrown a different storyline that you need to sink your teeth into, so I think you’re just always on the go. There’s no kind of time to breathe, and I do need to be that person that sits back and takes in what’s happening. I just like the fact I’m very present right now.
What was your favourite Corrie storyline?
There was no particular favourite because they were all brilliant. I was lucky to have worked with the writers I got given, and the directors especially. I have to say that Rana’s exit was the biggest challenge for myself, because emotionally it was difficult. If anyone’s lost a loved one, it’s probably the hardest thing you can ever do, and we wanted to capture the essence of Kate and Rana’s storyline, which was obviously very touching and groundbreaking for Coronation Street. We filmed over numerous months and I just remember being on the set when she (Rana) was underneath the (collapsed factory) roof, and we walked on set together and I said: ”It’s like a film set!”
What have you got planned for New Year?
I’m doing nothing for new year. I’m staying at home with my dogs and just chilling out. I fly to Dubai with Chicago on the 3rd (January), and I think we’re there for 10 days, so we do a week of shows in Dubai, which is completely out of the blue, and lucky for us to experience Chicago in another country.
What’s a typical working day?
After finishing two shows yesterday, today I had my booster jab at 8.20am; went to the gym; had a shower; did one show; now I’m doing the interview with you; then I’ll do another show; do some Christmas shopping, and hopefully get a minute where I can do some meditation or just have some peace and quiet with a cup of tea. Then I’ll sleep.
Finally, do you have a dream project?
Broadway. Yes please. I’m putting it out there.
Break a leg with all the projects, stay safe, and have a great Christmas.
Thanks. Merry Christmas!
‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’ can be seen at Hull New Theatre until January 2nd, 2022