Proving that great things can happen with hard work and determination, Stockton’s Francesca Bolam has been slowly building a highly credible portfolio of artistry, moving through various forms in a career recently expanding with an off-broadway production. Damian Robinson caught up with Francesca about staying true to your dreams and the importance of never giving up.
Hi Francesca, your story of success is so inspiring, particularly for budding artists from the Northeast. For those readers who perhaps haven’t heard of you, or your story, could you give us a quick summary please?
I grew up in Stockton, discovered a love for musical theatre, and grasped every opportunity to perform, in venues like The Sage, The Arc, The Albany in London and SIRF. I began training with West End actress Nancy Sullivan and when it came to drama school I auditioned for The American Musical & Dramatic Academy in NYC & LA and was accepted. I’ve been fortunate to collaborate and work with incredible people and productions since.
Your recent project ‘Untitled Monologues’ also perhaps needs its own overview, could you tell us a little about the project and what writer/ director work was required to bring it to life?
I was invited to write for an off-Broadway festival in NYC and had been writing Untitled Monologues over the course of a year, in the notes app on my phone, as individual pieces. When the pandemic hit I realized the pieces worked well as a body of work. I felt it was crucial to explore these themes and mental health when so many people were spending so much time alone with their thoughts. I wrote, directed, cast, edited and starred in the piece, it was incredible.
As a thriving North-Eastern artist with a large stateside profile, what’s next for you and can we look forward to seeing you bring any of your work back to the North East soon?
I’m currently lead vocalist on an ongoing project with Grammy producer Bassy Brockmann, am playing the lead role in a new play, and have a residency at Rogue Theater in NYC. I would love to bring my work to my hometown, especially with the opening of The Globe, that would be really special.
As an artist with multiple ways to express yourself creatively would you nudge younger artists towards specialising in one form or trying a number of different forms?
I would tell them to dive into everything! Why limit yourself? I have found that so many of my skills are transferable and open even more doors.
For artists thinking about making a living out of the arts is there anything you would recommend?
I think this industry can be so difficult compared to others, you’re putting your whole self on the line. Develop a strong sense of self and look after it. Create your own work, collaborate with people, take classes and never give up.