My Week: Summer Strallen

The West End performer prepares for the first night of Andrew Lloyd Webber's sequel to 'The Phantom of the Opera'
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The Independent Online


I'm playing Meg Giry in Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom of the Opera at the Adelphi Theatre, and I had yesterday off because we've all been rehearsing so hard.

Today I try to sort out my first-night gifts for the rest of the cast and company, as first night is tomorrow. I write in everyone's cards then go and do the show. Afterwards I realise I don't have enough gifts for everyone so I go to a 24-hour Asda and buy loads of sweets and chocolate and get home at 2.30am.


I sleep in till 12.30 which is disgusting! My sister and flatmate, Zizi, who is in Dirty Dancing, drives me to Richmond and we rush about getting another gift for Sierra Boggess, who plays Christine in Love Never Dies, and has become one of my best friends in the world, so I have to get her something thoughtful. I then have lunch with other cast members. The opening night show goes brilliantly. A while ago Andrew Lloyd Webber took us to see England vs Croatia at Wembley. I've spent nearly 12 months of preparation on the show, so there's relief that everyone now knows what it's about and I don't have to keep it secret! I'm very proud of it. After the show Sierra and I were having a relieved cuddle and Andrew comes over to tell us that after the performance we gave he will definitely take us to Wembley again, so I think that's probably a good thing. After the show I get ready for the party. I do lots of press, and by the time I have a glass of champagne it's time for me to go home.


I get up about 12.30 again, so I obviously need the sleep. I take my two dogs for a walk for the first time in ages. I come into work and have lunch with Sierra and her sister and talk about the previous evening. I do the show again and it's quite a relief not having the creators there. I don't read the reviews. Everyone's entitled to their opinion, but if it's a negative opinion I just don't want to know. I'm more than happy to take constructive criticism from people who are involved in the piece and know the ins and outs, but I find that sometimes critics can be a bit harsh for no reason. Actors are so used to rejection anyway. There's no need to take on any more. After the show I go to my friend's birthday drinks and let my hair down a bit.


I watch Will and Grace and take the dogs for a walk. It's strange how much you lose your life when you do a show, all the boring stuff like laundry, so I try to get that done. The show tonight is slightly strange because everyone seems to have relaxed and things that used to go wrong just work perfectly.


I look through some emails, call the Sky+ man, get dressed and head off to the theatre. After the show I have some drinks in my dressing room with my friends. I'll be playing the role for another year probably. It's quite intimidating but I will endeavour to be the best I can every night.