An actor from Aberdeen is heading to the West End this autumn to perform her debut solo show.
Ailsa Davidson from Chapelton will be performing at Crazy Coqs, an intimate live music and cabaret venue located inside Brasserie Zédel, on Saturday August 7.
Her show, titled Ailsa Davidson 27 and a half, is hugely inspired by one of the actor’s favourite books, The School of Life: An Emotional Education.
The 27-year-old has been performing across the UK from a young age and was heavily influenced by her parents.
Born to be on the stage
Ailsa said: “Both of my parents were very involved in amateur dramatics (am dram) in Aberdeen when I was growing up, so I’d say that I grew up around performing.
“In my teens I auditioned for something called Youth Music Theatre UK, which is now called BYMTUK. This was really the first time I realised I should take performing seriously.
“I worked with industry professionals who helped me navigate potential routes for pursuing a career in performing.
“And in 2012, after several auditions, I gained a place on the BA Musical Theatre course at Guildford School of Acting where I trained for three years and gained a first class degree from.”
‘I have been lucky to work consistently’
She added: “Since graduating I have been lucky enough to work fairly consistently.
“My first job was playing the lead in Our House at the Union Theatre London and I then had a stint at Theatre Royal Stratford East developing some new writing.
“Following that I was cast in the UK and International Tour of Grease. I played Miss Lynch and understudied Rizzo and Jan.
“I actually went on for Rizzo when the show opened up in Aberdeen which was a real pinch me homecoming moment!
“I returned to the Union Theatre in 2019 to work on a beautiful show called Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens which centralises around the Aids Epidemic, it altered my life as a performer and refocussed me immeasurably.
“And then I was lucky enough to visit the Edinburgh Fringe and work on a devised play called Lipsync. This was based on the life of a woman called Kirsty Young, who starred alongside me.
“Kirsty lives with cystic fibrosis and the play explored that condition in a moving and impactful way. We performed at Summerhall, winning the Lustrum award there and then went on to win a Fringe First.”
Bringing the show to life
Speaking on how her debut concert came to be a reality, the performer says she was approached by producer Shaun McCourt.
Shaun has played a key role in bringing Ailsa’s show to life.
She added: “Shaun, the producer of my show, had seen me in Elegies and wanted to work with new voices for this festival that my show is a part of – so that’s how it came about really.
“I am so grateful to him for trusting me and giving me this platform.
“My show’s title and theme are hugely inspired by The School of Life: An Emotional Education.
“With arrangements and accompaniment by Flynn Sturgeon, my show features music that has had great influence over me during the course of her personal and professional life.
“I’ll use song to explore being human, showing us how far we travel through living out our ordinary days and nights.
“What I love most about it, and the thing viewers will love the most, is that it has a lot of heart and will feel like a real full-circle moment as live performances are finally permitted again.”
‘It has been a difficult year for everyone’
She went on to say: “I can’t wait to get back to performing. It has been a really difficult year for everyone, the arts sector has literally ceased to exist and I cannot express how much it fills my heart to have actual performing dates in my diary.
“Genuinely, all I want is to feel creative fulfilment in every avenue of work that I pursue.
“I obviously have specific blue sky career moments. I’d love to work at the national one day and originate a role and break into screen work.
“But honestly, I try to keep my mind open and like I say, as long as I gain creative fulfilment from my work I will be happy.”