Horsham return for HAODS with Sister Act
Claude Hopkins admits she can’t quite believe her luck.
She is going to be playing disco diva Deloris Van Cartier when HAODS bring Sister Act to the Capitol Theatre stage in Horsham (November 9-13).
“It is just so wonderful. It is my dream show in my hometown.
“I just really couldn’t ask for more!.
“A few years ago, when I used to live in London, I auditioned for the role of Deloris in the West End.
“I got down to the last few. I am semi-professional. I was so fortunate to get that far in the audition process.
“I guess it taught me resilience.
“I knew that it would be very, very hard.
“You do get knocked back. It was a massive audition initially and lots of people went out, and I was in the last handful of people to get through. “
And now she is getting the chance to do it for real – a huge opportunity.
“It is just my dream show. I love the story. I love the songs. I love the script.
“I just couldn’t believe it when a colleague of mine told me that they were auditioning for it with HAODs.
“I thought ‘I remember HAODS.’ I had done a charity event and they were there. I decided to go for it, and I hadn’t auditioned for anything for so long.
“But it is just brilliant. It is funny. It captures every emotion. It is quirky and it is hilarious and it has got absolutely everything.”
Not least a really friendly cast around her: “They have been so incredibly welcoming.
“People think I am confident but going into a company where I didn’t know anybody is actually quite daunting.
“They had been about eight weeks away from putting the show on when Covid came in. And now I came in as a new Deloris.
“But they have been so welcoming to me, like a really big family. It has been great.”
In the show, when Deloris witnesses a murder, she is put in protective custody in the one place the cops are sure she won’t be found: a convent.
Disguised as a nun, she finds herself at odds with the rigid lifestyle and uptight Mother Superior.
Using her unique disco moves and singing talent to inspire the choir, Deloris breathes new life into the church… whilst putting her own life and the lives of her new-found friends at risk.
“Deloris is a really gritty character.
“She has had to have a thick skin growing up the way she has. She was brought up by Catholic nuns in a convent and they didn’t really appreciate her love of music.
“She was subjected to a lot of put-downs and a lot of ‘You won’t ever amount to anything.’
“And she had to adapt and develop that thick skin to make it through the music business.”
And then in the convent, in hiding, she learns so much more about herself still: “She discovers that she is a really good person with a really big heart.”
Claude is loving the music: “It is none of the film songs. The score was written solely for this show.
“I would say that the songs are really quite upbeat. Some are poppy, some slightly gospel. It is really quite modern.
“There are some that are quite jazzy and there are some emotional ballads.”
By day Claude works as a special support assistant at a special needs school in Horsham, Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee School.
“I have been working there for a number of years. I had a break and had a baby and went back last October.”
It’s a great job – and now she has got a great part to play.
“I am just so grateful to be treading the boards again after the theatres have taken such a massive hit.
“To be back in the theatre again is such a massive treat, especially in such a lovely theatre as this one.”
Tickets for the show are available from the Capitol Theatre box office.