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Interview

U.K. Actor Eliza Shea Used Backstage to Book Work in NYC

U.K. Actor Eliza Shea Used Backstage to Book Work in NYC
Photo Source: Ted Ely

Following her leap across the Atlantic from London to New York City, Eliza Shea was just cast through Backstage as Elvira in a production of “Blithe Spirit.”

All actors must make their own opportunities.
“I now split my time between homes in London and New York City. Having worked as an actor on both sides of the pond, I find it to be universally true that making your own work happen is essential to staying busy and fully immersed in this fast-paced industry.”

Backstage has been a part of her America.
“I have been reading the magazine since I arrived in NYC and started my conservatory training. It was great to have the hard-copy magazines readily available in the lobby of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts each week. I joined three months before I was due to graduate.”

Being British has advantages.
“Having worked on [‘Blithe Spirit’] during my training, I was very familiar with the text, and being British [was] useful for [interpreting the work of playwright] Noël Coward! I initially read for the role of Edith and was then asked to look over sides for the character of Elvira. I read opposite Drew Kahl, who had already been cast as Charles.”

She follows a regal line of Elviras.
“Elvira is quite literally the ‘blithe spirit’: a ghost with an absolute disregard for the rules. She is the first (and now deceased) wife of writer Charles Condomine and is summoned to their home through a séance, much to the chagrin of his second wife, Ruth. She is an incredibly fun character to play, and following in the footsteps of previous Elviras Joanna Lumley, Twiggy, Jemima Rooper, Ruthie Henshall, and Christine Ebersole (also a fellow AADA alum) is no mean feat.”

Backstage works for her.
“I check Backstage online every day for new casting listings, and read the full magazine cover to cover when each new issue is available. Backstage is extremely user-friendly and I appreciate how clearly the audition notices are formatted, making it quick and easy to see which appointments I will be attending [and] applying for. I also make use of the ‘apply now’ feature on the website, and value how efficiently I can send my Backstage profile directly [to casting teams] by going through the website.” 

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