Rachel Cole got some tips on niche, risk and making good art – from the horse’s mouth itself.

I’m a certain type of musical theatre performer: an above average height, white, brunette, with a reasonably good vocal range, a sub-standard double turn, good teeth and gammy joints. There are thousands more where I came from: suburbia. Part of this works for me, because musical theatre is a conservative art form, where most casts are clean-cut-looking white people. It also means it’s very difficult for me to stand out from the pack because a) I have a common skill set, and b) there are hundreds more just like me.

People often start as generalists, then specialise with experience. Doctors become Orthopedic Surgeons. Actors specialise in comedy. Ballerinas become podium dancers at gay clubs. Finding a niche heightens risk, because as one specialises, employment probably becomes less frequent. There is a fine balance between discerning what you are uniquely good at, where there is a gap in the market, and what the public will pay for.

Rachel Cole is in the cast of Matilda the Musical

Think of musical performers like Alan Cumming,...

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