Saturday, 2 August 2008

Fran the Early Years

The following was kindly sent by Robert Gould who has known Fran since she was at school, to give us a little insight into Fran and where it all began. 

Francesca was always destined for a career on the stage - ever since she took on the role of Percy the Polar bear in nursery school!  She began taking dance classes at the age of five and soon afterwards began performing with a local theatre group in Ystradgynlais in the Swansea valley, the Glantawe Players. At a very young age she sung  the Alan Menken/Howard Ashman song “Part Of Your World”, in full Mermaid costume, and stunned the audience with the power and tone of her voice as well as her immense stage presence and ability to “sell” a song.


As a member of the National Youth Musical Theatre company in 1991, Fran appeared in Whistle Down The Wind and in 1994 she made her West End debut at the age of 13, playing Bet in the Sam Mendes production of Oliver at the London Palladium. The following year, again with the NYMT, she was in the cast of Bugsy Malone and she continued to perform with the Glantawe Players as well as in school productions at Maesydderwen School, playing Sandy in Grease and later Nancy in Oliver. After taking her GCSEs, Fran went on to study Performing Arts at Neath College, where her roles included Carmen in Fame.


 In 2002 she wowed audiences at the Swansea Grand Theatre as silent screen star Mabel Normand in the Swansea Amateur Opera production of the Jerry Herman musical, Mack and Mabel. She went on to train at the Mountview Academy in London, performing in shows such as Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens.

 In 2006 she was in the UK touring ensemble of Rod Stewart’s Tonight’s The Night, covering the lead roles of Dee Dee and Mary. And in 2007 she thrilled West End audiences with  her stunning vocal performance as lesbian attorney, Joanne Jefferson in Jonathon Larson's Pulitzer Prize winning musical, Rent.


Shortly after the closing of Rent, Fran began to demonstrate her talent to a wider audience as a contestant in BBC’s I’d Do Anything. Though she failed to win the coveted role of Nancy in Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Oliver, she clearly demonstrated that she belongs on the West End stage, especially with her incredible rendition of the torch song As Long As He Needs Me during her final moments on the show.

Thanks Again for the article Robert its good to see where it all started and look forward to the bright future ahead of her. 

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