Introducing Tamara Tare, a rising star in the theatre scene. A graduate of the esteemed Royal Academy of Music class of 2023, Tamara's talent took centre stage with her debut in 'JUST FOR ONE DAY,' the world premiere of the Live Aid Musical at the Old Vic in January 2024. Her journey was further marked by receiving a Disney Theatrical Productions scholarship during her time at RAM. Tamara's passion and dedication to her craft continue to shape her promising career, captivating audiences with each performance.

Natalie: I’m backstage at the Old Vic Theatre with Tamara Tare. Thanks for coming on the podcast.

Tamara: Oh, my gosh. Thank you for having me.

Natalie: And we’re talking about Just For One Day.

Tamara: Yeah. I mean, it’s been incredible to be a part of. We’ve got about four weeks left now, which feels crazy. It’s gone so quickly. We started rehearsals beginning of December and has just gone so quick. But I’m having a great time and it’s such a fun show to do every night. The cast are amazing and yeah, it just feels really cool to be a part of.

Natalie: I love the show. I was raving about it three podcasts ago. And it feels like just yesterday that I saw the show and now I’m like, Oh, it closes on the 30th. I need a ticket, and then I’m on the website and I can’t find two together. It’s pretty much nearly pretty much sold out for that. Unless you can grab one of those £180 tickets. Or one of the cheap ones right at the top. Not sure about the leg room situation for me and my son.

Tamara: Yeah. I mean, they do have a hack, actually, on the day they have a lot of resells in the morning and also TodayTix. I’ve got friends tickets for £30 in the middle of the stalls. So it’s sort of like a last minute thing, like you can get tickets the day before or the day of if people want to get rid of their tickets.

Natalie: Fabulous. Okay, good tip there. So tell me about your journey to this production. This is your professional debut?

Tamara: It is, yeah. It’s been crazy. I mean, so I graduated from the Royal Academy of Music back in July of 2023 and had four months of auditioning and getting my foot in the door. It’s really funny how I auditioned for this. I got through to the final of another West End show and I didn’t get it. And I was like, You know what? I’m just gonna to go on holiday with my mom and then my agent sent this through to me. I told him don’t send me anything before I come home and before I even got on the plane he sent this one through. I was like, oh gosh, okay, I guess I’ll have to do a self-tape in Dubai, you know, in my hotel room. I had the lights off, my mum sat on the bed in the dark while I was doing the self-tape. I owe my mum so much. So I sent the self-tape in and within two weeks I had a zoom call with Luke Shepherd and Stuart Burt, who cast it. Then the week after I was in the room and in rehearsals.

Tamara Tare (Alicia), Olly Dobson (John) and the Company in Just For One Day at The Old Vic

Natalie: Wow. That’s speedy.

Tamara: It was really speedy. I was really surprised how fast the process was. I’d seen Stuart quite a lot before, but I’d not met Luke before. I actually only met him via zoom before I stepped into the rehearsal room. So that was really interesting. Luke is an amazing director. He’s got such a great way of creating a healthy room and making it very collaborative. One thing about the show is that it has everyone’s fingerprints on every single part of the production, and that’s down to Luke being open to so many people’s suggestions. And also every character, including my own, I got to pick my name, Alicia.

Natalie: I wondered where the name came from. The whole cast are ensemble. Apart from one or two people like the Bob Geldof character and then the old and young main storytellers.

Tamara: So Bob Geldof is obviously based on an actual person. The same with Harvey, Midge Ure, John Kennedy and Margaret Thatcher. But the majority of the cast are sort of extensions of the actual person playing the role. This goes down to costume and character names. And Luke was just really good at identifying someone from the past and picking out really cool parts of their personality that can be injected into the show. So yeah, there’s lots of other little cool parts as well where it’s like, he came up to you and be like, okay, we need this sort of vibe, can you improvise something in the room?

Natalie: Because each song, each artist has obviously a different feel, different genre so it is great to see that. Yeah. And there’s moments when you’ve got your mic in your little holster and I was like, I reckon this is her audition for SIX.  All we need to do is add diamanté’s and a headdress and after March that’s where she’s heading.

Tamara: I mean fingers crossed I would love to be in SIX. I’m also surrounded by some incredible six icons. Danielle Steers and Collette Heart are phenomenal. I’ve learned so much from just watching everyone in the cast and ask them all about their vocal warmups, how they approach a script and just little things that is so personal to everyone. But you just take what you can get because everyone’s amazing and has fantastic resumes and great experiences, so for me as a graduate it’s probably the best first job I could have asked for really.

Natalie: So yeah and just having the band on stage as well.

Tamara: It literally feels like the music is vibrating through you especially when you’re dancing through it. Like some of my favourite moments is In The Air Tonight because I get to dance along-side it and when that drum beat gets going, it just feels so epic. And I Don’t Like Monday’s, the drums in that section, particularly towards the end of the song, on the stage there’s no other feeling like it. And you’re just there with the whole cast on stage, rocking out while Craig or Eddie, because they both play Bob and Eddie covers Bob, are there and it just feels so surreal and epic and everyone’s together and yeah, they’re ready for it.

Natalie: I just remember when I came to see the show, the lights went down, boom. And immediately I had goose bumps on my arms that you don’t often get. I mean, I love musical theatre and I’ve seen some great shows open, but that was, there was something about that moment and I was like, Oh, here we go. Like the beginning of a roller coaster. I loved it. And I have my son next to me who’s 18. And, you know, for me, I mean, you’re very young. But in 1985, I was eight years old. I remember dancing and watching the concert on telly and I remember standing there dancing. I do remember seeing the images interspersed of famine. I do remember that. I think there’s loads of people in the audience, you know, very eclectic age mix and there’s that bit at the beginning where they ask if anyone was there. and this woman next to me waved her arms and said “I was there, I was there.” and sadly she wasn’t seen from the stage. But you could tell she so wanted to be seen wearing her Live Aid t-shirt.

Tamara: Oh, we get that every night. I didn’t realise that would be a thing. I think that was added quite later into the show, asking the audience if they were there to create the conversation energy. Yeah, bring them in, get the energy of anyone who was there to let them feel involved in it. And the response we get every night, oh, my gosh, people are literally like stood up. “I was there.” People pointing at their friends like that is down the road. Yeah, it’s crazy. I think I really underestimated how much of a response that particular part in the show would get. It’s great to see so many people enthusiastic. I actually didn’t know about Live Aid before I did this job, so it’s been historic learning. And also because I cover a Omara who’s the British aid worker. So from like analysing her script and the monologues that she delivers as well as learning historically about it. I researched how it felt to be out in Ethiopia and experiencing all of this. And it’s opened my eyes massively.

Tamara Tare in Just For One Day

Natalie: It’s such a beautiful show. It’s like being at a concert and it is musical theatre. But obviously it’s like a jukebox because it’s songs that we know. But the arrangement is beautiful. Those harmonies.

Tamara: The MD, an absolute genius. I don’t know how his brain works. You’re in the room with him and he’s just creating these incredible harmonies, just like crunchy. It was a real insight at looking at his genius.

Natalie: It’s amazing for the audience and especially the people that were at the concert, who know those songs. We want to hear them how we know them. Yeah, but it’s got that twist on it. That makes it sound new again.

Tamara: Yeah, I think it’s lovely. Particularly my generation. I think I kind of knew the songs beforehand, but obviously I listened to them [songs] and this is the new arrangement, like two completely different takes. Something else I love as well Blowing In The Wind, you really listen to the lyrics. And they found such a clever way of allowing the lyrics that were made in a completely different context relate to the show and drive the narrative, which really astonishes me.  It’s really been great to be a part of and like actually watch the process happen. It’s inspiring.

Natalie: Luke Shepherd’s shows are brilliant. I loved & Juliet and again that’s a jukebox musical. We are using the songs, we are changing the lyrics slightly.  We’re making it drive the narrative. It’s fitting certain characters, certain situations in a retold, new way. So this is obviously his speciality. I’m excited to see what he does next. Have there been any sort of happy accidents that have happened in rehearsals? Stuff that has stuck?

Tamara: There was one point where Joe Foster, held the sign up upside down of Live Aid during one of the concert bits. We were all like, let’s just keep that one in. But no, that didn’t happen. But I don’t remember if there were any accidents really, or there was one point where, like I was saying earlier, Luke came up to me and he was like, we need to make this bit a bit more American before We Are The World. So he made me improvise. And I became like an African American leader “see it people come on, let’s do it.” And then they were like, Oh my gosh, that’s a bit too much. But at the end of that bit, I just say “wrap it up, people take five.”  and that’s where that came from. Essentially just from me improvising, almost Diana Ross like. But yeah, that was something in the show that I didn’t think was gonna happen. Also, I wrapped the King Of Rock by Run DMC.

I remember they brought this rap in and I didn’t know how they were going to put it into the show. So everyone in the rehearsal room rapped up together at one point. And I just saw Luke sitting there, thinking this isn’t quite right. Then he asked if anyone was comfortable rapping. And I was like, Well, let me just put my hand up, because you know why not, and also Run DMC is a group. So I thought I’d be doing it with people. But low and behold, that wasn’t the case. So I ended up doing it by myself, which is a bit daunting, but everyone was really supportive in the rehearsal room.

Tamara Tare with full company of Just For One Day

Natalie: It reminds me of being a little girl trying to rap. Not managing it very well at all. Getting all the words around the wrong way. You couldn’t just Google the lyrics. That was not a possibility back then. So I just had to make the lyrics up. So unless you had the LP, and it had the words in it, or inside the tape cassette, written really small. You had no idea. Or in Smash Hits magazine. I think they would sometimes print the lyrics.

 You went to the Royal Academy of Music. Graduated. In Dubai and doing your audition. Got this and then started rehearsing straight away and in the programme notes it says that you did Romeo and Juliet. Giselle,  Swan Lake. All ballet?

Tamara:  So a lot of people get confused because people initially think that I’m a ballet dancer, which I am not. I am not a trained dancer. So I went to the Royal Academy of Music, which is predominantly for acting and singing. They do have great dance training there, but it’s not the focus. So my dance training actually came from just doing Saturday school. At university I joined a hip hop dance group. So that’s the extent of my training, but I actually joined the Royal Ballet as an actor, so I was just acting alongside by doing any sort of like gestures at one point I used to be like a sort of a Royal Duchess. You go from Royal Duchess to literally being like a town’s lady dressed in like a carpet. Honestly, the amount of costumes they had at the Opera House, it was amazing. But yeah, it was such a great production to be part of and in an amazing venue. And in the heart of Covent Garden. It was really lovely. But it was great for me to get used to being on a big stage and being at the side. And because I wasn’t a dancer, I was never at the forefront of the focus.

Natalie: Did you get to speak in these roles?

Tamara: If it’s a ballet there was no speaking, it was choreographed walking, or you bring massive props on. The dancers interacted with you at certain points, like if they needed a bread seller or something. like honestly, it was like little roles like that, but it made such a difference. I have some friends that do puppetry. So in one show, there was massive horse that would come through and some of the actors would be sort of manoeuvring the puppet horse, which say it’s a puppet. But it was almost like a Warhorse, it was extraordinary. There are just so many great opportunities with the Royal Ballet. And it was just really nice to be part of and that was my first step into theatre, which made me realise, oh gosh, like I really want to sing and dance and act on a stage.

Natalie: I think that’s the great thing about this production, as well as that most of the cast gets their individual moment to shine as well. I think a lot of those moments happen in the second act, from what I recall.

Tamara: Luke was very, very vocal with making sure that everyone had either a song or a moment to showcase themselves, which is really nice as an ensemble member, because you feel like you’re a part of it, and you’re driving the story along. And when I found out that I was going to be singing Madonna initially, I was quite intimidated. Also, because I just feel like I’m quite different to how Madonna actually is. And actually the scandal of that is we didn’t get the rights for it for a long time. Previews had started and we still didn’t have the rights. So every night I would sing that song and be like, right, this is it, Madonna is gonna say no, the songs is not gonna go through and then I’m never gonna sing it again. But eventually we did get the rights. But yeah, it’s it just really nice to see everyone able to express themselves through a song that really suits them and has been changed to suit cast and also for the audience to enjoy and listen to the lyrics in a different light.

Natalie: Such an uplifting production. I think for younger audiences, because obviously you’ve got that younger character who goes through it, and she kind of brings that relevance to a younger audience. I was looking at my son and seeing a connection there. I think there’s something for everyone. And I’m desperate to see it again. I really hope that it has a longer run somewhere. I’m sure it will with Luke Shepard at the helm, it could make it to Broadway.

Tamara: I always wonder how the American audience would perceive this because it’s very, very British. And even thinking about how we’ve injected songs like We Are The World or we have a little bit before Blowing In The Wind where we have the American radio come out and be like, Oh, we’ve got a concert in Philadelphia and also a second concert in London. Those are the jokes where you’d have to retranslate them. But yeah, there’s no news on a transfer or anything. So we’re waiting to see what happens really.

Natalie: Well it is really hard to get tickets as it’s selling so well.

Tamara: It was hard to even get tickets when I joined in rehearsals. I was like, oh, gosh, I’ll have to book my friends and family now, and it’s not even the next year.

Natalie: I remember the people next to me on the way out, there was such a buzz and people humming songs as they cross the road. It was really lovely. One woman was like, Did you love it? Did you love it? I was like, I loved it. Did you love it? And she’s like, yes, we loved it.

Tamara: That’s nice. I think another thing that I would love for people to take away from the show is the actual message. And because obviously, the story tells of how Band Aid was created, why it was created, and how that started on Live Aid because of the famine that happened in Ethiopia. And it’s just so relevant with what’s still happening in the world today. And that’s another reason that drew me to the show. I looked at the monologue that I had to deliver as Mara, and thought, gosh, wouldn’t it be spectacular to be a part of a musical when you love the music. And also you’re pushing a narrative into the mainstream sort of world that can actually make a difference, or spark those conversations and ignite those conversations. So yeah, for me, that’s something that really drew me to this production, just making sure that people understand that, you know, there’s so much more to life going on in the world. I remember in rehearsals we used to have conversations and we would chat about how, you know, people see Africa as one massive place. They don’t really know, for instance, you’ve got Egypt in the north with Morocco. Then you’ve also got South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Nigeria in the West, like it’s so diverse, Ethiopia in the East, obviously. But people just lump it as one massive place. And that’s something that for me, I felt really passionate to sort of drive into the show. And that’s my little fingerprint, having those  kind of conversations with cast members and then feeding that back. It’s just been really nice to see that that’s been important in the show, and I hope people take that away with them as well.

Natalie: That’s why I wish the show was on for longer, because as an educator I take the students to see shows all the time, and musical theatre per se isn’t on the syllabus. I do take the students as they’re lucky enough to be in London. And so they see as much as possible, but for exactly the same reasons that you’ve just said. That’s why I think this kind of production is so incredibly important for young people to see. It’s such an ethnically diverse cast, as well. So yes, we’re setting it in 1985, but we’re also thinking about all theatre policy for now. And I think it’s so important for the young people today that are sitting in those audiences seeing themselves represented on stage. Keep in touch. Looking forward to seeing what happens next for you. If you get that part in SIX.

Tamara: Thank you.

[some of the wording has been altered from the original transcribe for editing purposes.]