Anne-Marie Piazza

Trained at The Bristol Old Theatre School


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Gwyneth George

This year we lost the Gwyneth George, a classical cellist, a generous and loving spirit and my a dearly beloved cousin. She and my grandfather were first cousins and her line was one of the few in my family to pursue music.Grandad

When I was little we didn’t often get to visit her but I always remembered when we did the love with which she spoke of her cello. Making music was her life, her cello was as much a part of her as her limbs or her solo, so it was hard not to fall in love with it all when seeing it through her eyes. My mum plaIMG_0444yed the piano and cello so when I was little I started on the former.  Then when I discovered a big red cello living hidden away upstairs, I decided it would be mine (despite my mum’s protestations of “why don’t you lean something smaller, lighter, more practical..the flute?”)

Still, anyone who knows me knows I can be stubborn and I put my mind to learning the cello. Of course the big full sized one upstairs wasn’t yet a fit for 8 year old little me but in time I inherited mum 120+ year old French cello and play it for work today.

Gwyneth’s love was infectious and when I moved to London I visited her in her welcoming home in Holland Park. Always gracious, beautiful and warm I was so grateful to have found her again. I never known my grandfather and the rest of his generation, bar Gwyneth, had passed on so I looked to her to talk about the past and fill in some of the blanks, learning about the family and her as we went along.

We talked of Mumbles and Swansea where she grew up and where my family were from. We talked with her carers to, most notable of these was Mary who showed her so much love and devotion in the final years of her life. We owe a lot to Mary, so much. Mostly we talked about music, her travel, her playing, her collaboration with Alberto Portugheis. If you ever get a chance to here their recording of Rachmaninoff’s Cello Sonata please do, she makes the cello sing so much you’d swear it was alive.

So it was with great sadness I visited her in hospital February this year, Mary ever by her side and filled with emotion. To the end Gwyneth was full of grace and beauty. In our time together I’d never heard her say an unkind word about anyone, generous to a fault . She was a rare thing and I am immensely grateful that she was in my life. I hope to take forward her love and dedication to music and to live with the same grace and generosity she did.

I was heartened when the Telegraph got in touch to tell me they’d be writing her obituary. I didn’t want her passing to go unnoticed by the world. I will upload that article soon but here is another obituary in the Times and a response written by someone who knew and loved her.

 


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Sondheim and Spacey

This May Rhys Jennings and Darren Clark learned their new musical was shortlisted for the Kevin Spacey Foundation bursary and were to present to a panel of musical theatre experts including Michael England, Beverley Knight, Clive Rowe, Danielle Tarento.. to name a few. I’d first worked on The Wicker Husband, an original story by Ursula-Wills Jones, exactly a year ago. We had a week’s rehearsal and development under the playful direction of Charlotte Westenra.  Ever since, Darren andRrhys have been working tireless on the story, the script the score and, most importantly the funding.

The song Darren and Rhys choice to use in their presentation was My Wicker Man which they asked me to reprise (yes being my obvious answer) and with the musical talents of Rachel Dawson, Loren O’Dair and Ruairi Glasheen we had our ensemble. There’s no recording of this wonderful performance but here’s my recording made at the St James’ Theatre as part of the “Coup Coup Club” performance of music from “These Trees Are Made of Blood.”

Then after the excitement of performing in front of these industry leaders, the Stephen Sondheim Society invited Darren and Rhys to have one of their songs performed at their monthly Monday night Cabaret. It just so happened it was the very same day as the presentation to KSF so on an adrenalin high Darren (on guitar) and I took to the stage.  There’ll be footage at a later date but here’s a production photograph from the night.

Sondheim

It’s a song that has become very close to my heart not least because of it’s beautiful lyrics and soulful melody. I have been fortunate to share it’s development with two other wonderful actresses: Olivier nominated Laura Pitt-Pulford and soon to graduate vEllie Pawsey.  All three of us are at different stages of our careers and come from vastly different singing backgrounds and this, by his own admission, has really helped Darren build “My Wicker Man.” We were interviewed about it last month and you can find the full text on the Musical Theatre Review‘s website.

The final note on this particular song (for this week anyway) is that this Sunday it will be performed by a lucky and talented gradate at the 10th annual Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year competition as it is down to the last 12 songs nominated for the Stiles & Drewe Award. Do go if you can get to the Novello Theatre for 3pm, it’ll be wonderful.


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Velvet Trumpet – Southwark Playhouse

In March I was lucky enough to work on the new comedy written by Gabriel Jones called Ealing Broadway. It featured as part of a showcase of new writing called “Soggy Brass” at the Southwark Playhouse arranged by South London-based theatre company Velvet Trumpet. We had very little time, just two short rehearsals and some quick fire line runs on the night before showdown but we were led by director Sharon Burrell so were in very safe hands.

A few show photos and some information on the play and company:

 

EALING BROADWAY | Written by Gabriel Jones
Director | Sharon Burrell
Cast | Stuart Benson, Angela Bull, Andrew Mudie, Anne-Marie Piazza & Ryan Wichert

Ealing Broadway is a comedy about four dumb tube passengers (who all believe they are the smartest person in the carriage) and their unfounded existential fears.


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A Christmas Rose in Kingston

Last winter I was lucky enough to spend Christmas in Dickensian England at Kingston’s Rose Theatre. It was adapted and directed by Ciaran McConville with music composed by Eamonn O’Dwyer and I played Mrs’ Cratchit, Fezziwig and Filtch.

Here is some of the music I recorded written the wonderful Eamonn

Some publicity images:

Show photos:

A shot from rehearsals with my beloved Cratchit kids and the how Christmas Caro family:

CVI1pjjWwAEK81vKingston-event-photographer-