Outsider at the door in Park Hill musical saga

Although she was born in Lancashire, spent her teenage years in Australia, and now lives in London, Maimuna Menon chose to play her character in Standing at the Sky’s Edge with a Scottish accent.

Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 16:01 pm
Maimuna Menon as Nicky in Standing at the Sky’s Edge  Credit: Johan Persson.

She is Nicky, a young woman who comes to Park Hill to persuade her girl-friend to leave Park Hill and return to London.

“I am playing her with a Scottish because I think she is a character with a regional background and understands what it is like to live in a community like Sheffield and has rejected it and that’s why she has moved to London,” explains the actor.

“My ex-partner moved there for some healing process, Belonging is such an important theme of the show and supporting one another and finding your place.”

She delivers what one critic called “ a lung-busting” version of one of Richard Hawley’s most famous songs, Open Up Your Door.

“I am glad that musical theatre is now embracing my kind of voice,” she says. “There was a time when I would not have fitted into that role and I’m really glad it is now embracing all kinds of musical voices.

“Open Up Your Door is my main song and a few others but most of us are singing right the way through either backing the singer doing their main song or moving around and being part of the whole space, it’s very communal

“There was a very similar vibe to Jesus Christ Superstar in the Regent’s Park Theatre in the sense they went back to the roots of the concept album. I played Mary but I was playing the guitar on stage, a lot of the other characters were too. The musical supervisor was Tom Deering and he is musical supervisor on this show as well.”

Originally from Darwin in Lancashire she emigrated to Australia with her family 11 years ago. “It was hard for me to fit in there when I was 15. I waited until I was 18 and then I came back.

“My father is Pakistani and my mother Irish so it was a big culture clash which is lovely and shown me a lot of things and I am grateful for that,” she reflects.

“I have been an outsider in many ways, growing up with my dad facing a lot of racism and so did I when I was younger but in London it’s different, and any big city really.

“I think I will always be a northern girl at heart but London is now home.”

In addition to her theatre work Maimuna sings with a band and writes her own material. She has also written a theatrical show which starts touring in May for 10 weeks including one night in the Crucible Studio. “It’s called Electrolight and I play a singer-songwriter in that show and I feel singing this kind of music is what I fit into most.

“When I graduated we set up Wild Card Theatre Company and over the last three years we have made a lot of progress and I think this is our most successful show and we’re bring it back to Edinburgh his year.

“ Singing has always been a big part of my life and I loved to write music too so it’s wonderful to be in a show like this where the music of Richard Hawley is so raw and really comes from the heart.”

Maimuna had worked with the writer, Chris Bush, before on the show, The Assassination of Katie Hopkins at Theatr Clwyd and was involved with one of the workshops on Sky Edge. The writer was so keen to utilise her talents, “I tweaked a part to make it right for her,” she admitted.

Standing at the Sky’s Edge runs at the Crucible until Saturday, April 6.