Interview: Will Bozier

by Alex Cleator

Will Bozier has worked his way up to Principal dancer in Matthew Bourne’s company New Adventures for the latest production of Cinderella. This production takes place in World War Two with Harry, an RAF pilot crash landing into Cinderella’s life for this innovative and fresh expression of our much loved classic fairytale. We get the opportunity to speak to him about what it has been like to be a part of the process and what is next for Bozier.

 

Congratulations on such a successful run of Cinderella so far! Tell us about your role and what is so special about this new production?  

We first meet Harry when he’s crash landed his plane … he’s a bit shellshocked and disorientated and he comes into the house to find Cinderella who finds her prince … then we go into Cinderella’s fantasy world where she sees him as a hero. Which is what [pilots] were seen as in the RAF, these massive heros but they were normal men just doing their job, fighting for their country. Towards the end we see him again searching for Cinderella with the shoe because they get separated loads of times and each time they come together, they get separated again.

That’s an incredible role to have and a very different take on Cinderella, how has that been to perform Cinderella so differently when you compare it to the traditional story?

It’s been great! My grandad was in the RAF as an engineer during World War Two so it’s been great to research ... I’ve been able to talk to my mum about it and about my grandad. It’s really great to have visited that part. It’s set in the blitz so we got to do a lot of research with Matt ... It’s such an iconic part of our history so it’s just been amazing to be able to put that on stage and recreate.

 

As principal dancer in this production and having worked with Bourne over the years, what’s that been like to experience?

I’ve been with the company for four years now. I’ve worked my way up and now I am the principal which is amazing and I’m loving every second of it. Matt is very hands on and loves to sit down and chat and go through any queries about the role, about the part … he’s really helpful. He comes to the venue every week so if you’ve got a query at the beginning of the week, like if your like ‘i’m not to sure about this part’ and he’s like ‘it’s perfect’ or ‘maybe try and do it this angle’.

So with that being every week, are you talking about rehearsals or now that you're performing, are you still tweaking?

Yes! It’s always an evolving piece. We try not to settle in the role and we try to find [different] ways of doing a set-bit and trying to build the character constantly and the movement and dancing. Yeah, it’s constantly evolving.

Comparing traditional performances to this, more modern piece, is it normal practice to be constantly tweaking?

For us, in this company especially, it is quite normal for us whereas traditional, it’s quite set in stone how it is and how it should be done. Luckily we have got that freedom to evolve the characters and Matt loves it when we come up with new ideas ...luckily we can constantly evolve.

 

That must be quite refreshing to have a choreographer that is keen to hear your own opinions! Do you think that we are moving more towards that collaborative style of training?

Definitely, a lot of choreographers now, they do like to get hand on and get in depth with the piece and the characters within the piece so definitely it’s especially with Matt. To get the best out of the piece and the people to relay the story, I think it will definitely go more that way now.

 

Do you sense that warmth that everyone else is talking about this piece?

At the end of [every] show they go crazy...you can see people crying, you can see happiness, luckily for us you can get a range of emotions during the show. There are some very funny moments, there are some very touching moments so we’ve got a bit of everything … Luckily with Matt’s stuff, he likes comedy so you get the reactions from that and people aren’t afraid to laugh or cry and … they leave happy. Cinderella gets the man in the end so everyone’s very happy. Everywhere we go, we’re welcomed with open arms so it’s brilliant.

 

With that range of emotions and movement in the characters, it’s sounds as if you’re challenged as both an actor and a dancer, is there more of a focus in this company on the acting side?

We definitely do, with emphasis on the dancing but with Matt’s work, it’s always driving the story and there’s a lot of research into the time, the people and the way things were, so we do a lot of work on that as well to drive the story. It’s not just dancing, we are telling a story and making it as clear as we can for the audience watching.

 

This is a very innovative piece for the production, choreography, acting, storyline and a very individual piece, what do you think is still bringing people to the theatre to see ballet and give it a chance?

With this company, New Adventures … it stands as its own entity. It’s a great company and everyone knows of Matt and how entertaining it is and how heartwarming it can be … We get the repeat audiences that come back every year to see the show. We’re very lucky and honoured to get these people that do come back and enjoy Matt’s work so much.

 

What do do you think is on the horizon for you as a dancer in your own right, for the company and for Cinderella?

Matt’s got Swan Lake coming up later this year which is another amazing show which would be amazing for me to be a part of that because obviously, growing up as a young lad, that’s one of the things you want to be as a dancer ... [Cinderella] is doing an Asian tour after we’ve finished in the UK and American tour which will be amazing to see the world. Always onwards and upwards with this company which is great.

Catch Will Bozier perform in Matthew Bourne's Cinderella, which dances its way into the Bristol Hippodrome 20th - 24th March 2018. Book tickets here

Photos courtesy of Bristol Hippodrome and The Mandy Network. 

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