Les Misérables star feels ‘privileged’ to make professional debut in Glasgow

When the Covid-19 lockdown started in March 2020, aspiring actress Paige Blankson was still training.

Now, almost two years later, she is starring in the acclaimed production of Les Misérables and taking on one of the lead roles.

When those in the Theatre Royal crowd saw the curtain lift on the opening night last month, they were also witnessing Paige’s professional debut.

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“it’s my first job,” she said. “It’s really exciting and I feel really privileged to be in one of the principle roles in a show like Les Mis.

“It’s been really fun. It’s my first job so it’s a little bit mad. The show is so massive. I felt daunting at the start but I’ve settled as the show has gone on.”

‘She’s been through a lot’

Paige stars as Cosette, one of the main protagonists of the musical, as the production tours the UK.

While she had auditioned for numerous roles in the past, Paige admitted this was the first one when she felt “really comfortable”.

Not that the process was without its difficulties. She suffered a bout of laryngitis - a big challenge given the singing involved.

Paige also hadn’t seen the show or read the book prior to auditioning, and chose to play Cosette as she thought she would be based on the material.

Her decision paid off - after several auditions she secured the role.

“I wanted to make her feel real,” said Paige. “It’s easy to make her the pretty, singing role - but she’s been through a lot.

“I love her heart. She doesn’t have a lot of material but she’s spirited. She’s such a good character to be able to play.”

Glasgow Christmas

The production opened in Glasgow on November 23 and is running until December 31, meaning it will be in town over Christmas.

While some cast members will be returning home to celebrate over the two-day break - the shows is not running on Christmas Day and Boxing Day - Paige will be spending Christmas with some of her colleagues in Glasgow.

When the show opened in November, for some of her cast mates it was their first time on stage in front of a crowd since the lockdown.

And it wasn’t just the actors who were relieved to be back.

“It was very surreal,” Paige said. “We’d been isolated for so long. You could tell everyone was so happy to be there. It was humbling to see how much people wanted to be there.”

Her experience of lockdown was also different from many of her colleagues.

Paige was still training when the lockdown started. She said graduating during the pandemic was “very strange”.

Les Mis in Glasgow

The award-winning and acclaimed production of Les Misérables is in Glasgow until the end of December.

While tickets for the musical have been snapped up, there are still are a limited amount available.

To purchase a ticket for the show, visit the ATG Tickets website.