Jane McBennett

How did you get involved with Phantom and how long have you been working here?
I have been here nearly two years I think, oddly enough – time certainly flies! I started in the wig department, one of my tutors managed to get me work experience after my course and from then on I was asked to be a swing, I just showed enthusiasm, got on with the wig team and had a really good time. About a year down the line, I was asked to be a make-up assistant.

makeup2Can you give us a brief description of your role?
In the make up department I’m a second cover so Tanya Noor (Make-Up Supervisor) would be here during the week most of the time and usually if she’s on holiday or if there’s an illness one of us covers her (there’s two people in the wig department who cover make-up).

Can you describe your typical day?
When I’m in charge of The Phantom’s make-up you have to make sure the space is set up first of all. I’m usually in from about 6pm and I make sure everything is replenished. Wigs usually come in around that time too so I make sure everything is ready for them. I make sure all the latex pieces are painted and everything’s stocked up and ready to go before Gerónimo sits in the make-up chair. There’s a bit of time management needed, obviously because it’s a live show and he’s needed on-stage so we have to make sure everything is timed correctly because his wigs need to be fitted too so if I’m behind I need to pick up the pace. It’s then just a case of maintaining the make-up throughout the show because people’s make-up will need touching up. That’s mainly it really, maintenance throughout the show and then taking it off at the end of the show.

I learnt to do the Phantom’s makeup by watching Tanya do it a couple of times. Because I’m also working in wigs I got to see it being applied quite a bit. You would then practise on another cast member who has volunteered to model and they would sit for you and Tanya would time the process. Usually you will do it twice but I only had to do it once but after a few goes you hit the ground running!

Jane McBennett

Her Majesty’s Theatre London