‘Musicality’ Presents: Footloose, The Musical! – Interview

Harriet Rothwell-Inch

Move over Kevin Bacon, UoN’s musical theatre society; Musicality, is cutting loose on the dancefloor with their very own production of the family favourite ‘Footloose, The Musical’! Impact’s Harriet Rothwell-Inch sits down with Assistant producer Ellie Finbow, Director Caoimhe Jones, and cast members Michael Cantle and Helen Fitzmaurice in an exclusive interview to chat more about their upcoming show.

So, how are you all feeling in the run up to show week? 

EF: I’m feeling excited! I can’t wait for everyone to see what we have been working on for the past 6 months. Of course, lots of publicity to do for me though!

CJ: From the creative side we’re feeling pretty confident so far. Rehearsals are back and going smoothly. Just a few more things to tweak and work out but apart from that, we’re on!

MC: It was nice to have a break over Christmas, but now we’re back and I agree that final tweaks are necessary but everyone’s getting more confident as we go through everything again.

HF: I feel similar, but now we’re just having fun and enjoying the lead up. Sometimes we forget to actually perform because we’re having such a good time.

‘Footloose’ is a classic musical and a household favourite for many. What makes Musicality’s version better than the rest?

MC: Everyone’s very integrated, which I think is what makes us different. In rehearsals we all get to suggest ideas or changes and put our own spin on the show and Team is really receptive to that. It’s a really inclusive environment.

CJ: I agree. It’s the inclusivity which makes it different from other productions. Normally there is a hierarchy in a theatre production, but like Michael said; Footloose really feels equal and inclusive. Obviously Team has authority but in terms of encouragement, teamwork, and ideas it’s very equal. 

HF: I think it’s just the fact that we are all choosing to do this; it’s what we do for fun. Like we’re all just musical theatre nerds. And so we’re just having a good time and because it’s fun for us, the audience will have fun!

EF: It’s so much fun. The cast radiates energy when they are on stage. The performance will be really enjoyable; Footloose has a line-up of amazing songs and dances, and I think people will be smiling and laughing for most of it!


Michael and Helen, tell me, how did you find the audition process and why did you want to get involved with this production in the first place?

MC: The audition process was great; there was no judgement, I never felt like I wasn’t good enough, there was always encouragement and it was just a really comfortable and enjoyable process. I’ve always loved musical theatre but I haven’t performed in quite a few years. I found out about Musicality through friends and having them give so much positive feedback about the structure at rehearsals and knowing what I was going into was really attractive to me. 

HF: I really loved the audition process. Obviously, they were looking for people who could sing and dance really well, but I just wanted them to see that I love musical theatre and to show my passion. I’ve also had a significant gap in doing theatre and that fun society vibe is definitely what’s been missing in my life. That’s why I wanted to do this; because I love performing and I just wanted to be involved in theatre again. I was like ‘Even if I don’t get cast, I’ll go for stage manager or costumes’.

I know from experience how intense rehearsals can be, but I really want to know what’s been the most rewarding moment in rehearsals for you personally?

HF: For me, it’s not a particular moment, but it’s when we all absolutely nail the harmonies and I just think: ‘Oh my God…I’m part of this!’ Just the whole group singing and it just sounds so good and knowing we had to do it right for it to sound that good.

MC: Genuinely my moment came really recently, during our first rehearsal back. We ran the opening number after not having rehearsals for a month and, I won’t say it was perfect because choreography isn’t my forte, but I got every move on every beat. First time! It’s just a really rewarding thing, knowing that you are getting better and the hardware does pay off.


Everyone knows about what the cast do in a musical, but not many know about the work that goes on behind the scenes. Ellie and Caoimhe, can you tell us more about your roles as Assistant Producer/Director?

CJ: As director I have creative control over the acting scenes, and that’s been really fun! I also work very closely with the choreographer, Ella, and I didn’t realise just how close until we started rehearsals but it makes sense because acting and dancing, especially in a show like ‘Footloose’, come hand in hand. It’s just been an incredible experience putting the show together.

EF: Being Assistant-Producer has been full-on at times – I do all the behind the scenes stuff that no one really thinks about: the publicity and social media, organising the stash orders, planning the socials, helping the producer with fundraisers and crew, etc. – but I wouldn’t change it in any way. I have loved the experience, and getting to make so many incredible friends!

How does it feel bringing your own version of this classic musical to the stage?

EF: It has been so enjoyable! I’ve really loved it. The songs have such a great energy to them, so rehearsals have always been really light-hearted and fun. ‘Mama says’ has been stuck in my head for 6 months, but I’m not complaining!

CJ: It’s just been an incredible experience. There’s been many happy tears, some ‘needing a shoulder to cry on’ kind of tears as well. But that comes with creating a show like this; it’s not going to be all just highs, you need to have the lows to really appreciate those highs.

What’s been everybody’s favourite part of the whole production process?

EF: All the publicity for sure, I love all the artsy stuff like that.

HF: Doing and watching the first run we ever did and seeing it all come together. I saw all the bits that I’ve never seen before and how all the different scenes fit together.

MC: Definitely the first time we did the final number all the way through. We finished with a jump on “everybody cut footloose!” and I jumped and I kicked my leg out and absolutely whacked another cast member in the ribs. Not a great first impression but very funny.

CJ: Personally, I would say working with my team. The amount of hours we’ve spent together, the emotions we’ve shared, we’ve just formed this really lovely group dynamic. Also I’ve really enjoyed the whole community spirit.

And which part has been the most challenging?

EF: The fundraising concert for sure, I think most of Team would agree! Creating an hour-long concert in 48 hours was a challenge, but we pulled it off and everyone did amazing.

MC: Aside from learning the choreo, it’s definitely time management. It’s tough because we’re all students and doing so many different things. I play Rugby and I know other cast members play sports as well, so going from full-on rehearsals straight to training or matches…you’re just knackered.  

CJ: I think compartmentalising everything is tricky. I’ve definitely done more for Footloose than my degree so far this year, but it’s OK! The most challenging part is probably keeping morale high, especially during long rehearsals because sometimes it can take a mental toll on you when you’re spending that long on something, both for Cast and Team.

HF: I think for me it’s just been like getting back into the swing of things after a significant break – we won’t mention how many years! But yeah, I haven’t sung or read music or danced in a group for a long time so it’s been a challenge trying to get back to it. 


It’s been great chatting to you all, but before we go; in 10 words or less, why should people come and see this show?

EF: Talent, fun, laughter, and cowboy-boots!

HF: It’ll be a rootin’ tootin’ good time!

MC: Come watch this amazing company do what they do best!

CJ: It’s the best party in this town, baby!

You can catch Musicality’s production of ‘Footloose, the Musical’ at the Nottingham Arts Theatre in Hockley, Nottingham City Centre, from the 8th-10th February 2024. Tickets are still available for most nights but they’re selling fast, so don’t miss out and buy yours here: Nottingham Arts Theatre | Footloose 2024 (

Evening performances: 7:30pm start (Thursday 8th, Friday 9th, & Saturday 10th)

Matinee performance: 2:30pm start (Saturday 10th only)

Ticket prices: Adults: £15.00 / Concessions (Children under 16, Seniors, & Students): £12.00

Harriet Rothwell-Inch

Featured image Footloose Poster courtesy of Ellie Finbow. No changes were made to this image.

In article image 1 courtesy of @footlooseuon via No changes were made to this image. 

In article image 2 courtesy of @footlooseuon via No changes were made to this image.

In article image 3 courtesy of @footlooseuon via No changes were made to this image.

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