Noa looks directly into camera in her professional headshot

Alumni Interview / ICTheatre / Take The Stage

Take The Stage: Noa Nikita Bleeker

11th March 2024

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‘Take the Stage’ is a series in which we meet some of the amazing graduates from our Performing Arts faculty, comprising of Performers College and Institute for Contemporary Theatre.

Noa, a Contemporary Musical Theatre pathway graduate from ICTheatre Brighton has already had an interesting story, from drama training in New York, to finding her dance and singing styles at ICTheatre – while also appearing in Disney’s The Little Mermaid, Apple TV’s Ted Lasso, and a variety of stage and screen roles. We caught up with her to find out what shes up to, and hear her reflections on life at ICTheatre.

What is an average day like for you currently?

Currently, I’m in the inevitable in-between-jobs stage that every performer will experience at least once (if not a few times) throughout their careers, so every day looks different. Overall, it’s a lot of self-taping and auditioning, going to classes, going to the gym, and learning new skills while keeping old ones sharp. In the times where the auditions and acting jobs aren’t as abundant, I shift my focus to other creative avenues, such as my modelling career. Recently, I’ve also completed a voice-over intensive course, at the end of which, I got to record a mini reel which I’ll be able to use when applying to voice-over agencies. Hopefully at some point this year, voice-over work will be another creative avenue I can tap into.

The reality of the in-between stage is that there will be good and plenty of difficult days, and no two days will look the same. But one constant, no matter what is that I always make sure to look after my mind and body so that when I am called for a job, I know I’ll be in good shape to do it.

What has been your personal career highlight so far?

There’s definitely a number of career highlights but my top 4 would have to be filming for The Little Mermaid out in Sardinia (and getting to be a mermaid), appearing in an episode of Ted Lasso and getting meet/receive directions from Jason Sudeikis. I also worked on an award-winning short film Mr. Mimoto with one of my closest friends, and played Helena in a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream featuring Kerry Ellis as Titania, Jonathan Hyde as Nick Bottom, and Milly Zero as Hermia.

The biggest highlight overall, however, has to be the fact that I constantly get to work with new people and make new friends and connections; I’ve definitely made some friends for life over the past few years through various jobs. I’ve also been fortunate to get to work with some people on multiple occasions because they want to get me involved in other projects, or they’ll put me forward for work they think might be right for me. They say it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and I can confidently say that that can sometimes be a very accurate statement.

Noa portrays a background character in Ted Lasso

How do you feel ICTheatre prepared you for your career?

I definitely feel like I’m in a more confident place whenever I receive a brief that requires me to sing or dance because that was such a big focus during my time at ICTheatre. I attended a drama school in New York for my acting training prior to coming to ICTheatre, and because the primary focus of that course was acting, we didn’t get as many opportunities to expand into various styles of dance or singing. And the industry nowadays wants performers that can do at least a little bit of all three and then some, so to have received further training to develop my dance and singing skills has been very useful even if I don’t use them on a regular basis; it’s skills I can refer to if need be.

I would also like to say a special thank you to my dance teachers at ICTheatre for not only training us to pick up choreography quickly, but also teaching us a section of choreo and then giving us 5 minutes to learn it in the opposite direction. We incorporated a prologue scene in our production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream where we all did a group dance on stage. I was away the day the choreography was set and had to learn it from videos taken by my fellow cast mates, and when it came to mapping out the choreography on stage, I was suddenly told last minute by the choreographer I would be needing to the whole thing in reverse for it to make sense with my stage positioning. Safe to say I was able to mirror it instantly with no trouble, but it was definitely one of those moments where I thought ‘ah yes, I trained for instances like this!’

Noa portrays helena in a midsummer night's dream

What top tips would you give to a current student or up and coming performer?

There’s a lot of tips I would give, and these are a few that I was taught as well as tips I learned from working in the industry:

There will be times where work dries up. Stay busy. Whatever that means to you. Make your own work if you can. Get some people together, make some magic happen. Network network network. Stay in touch with people you’ve worked with including HMUA, directors, producers, fellow co-stars and cast mates. It can often be about who you know, not always what you know. Simply as adding them on social media can be a start.

Be prepared to make your own schedule when you graduate. It is very jarring to suddenly go through life at a different pace than your peers, but remember life isn’t a race. As hard as it is with social media, please do not compare yourself. Social media is full of people’s highlights and you often don’t see the realities or the behind the scenes of a lot of these success stories. Your journey is your own.

Indulge yourself in your craft but find balance and remember to live your life; gaining life experience can always be filtered back into your craft. It’s important to have hobbies/interests outside of performing.

Treat every audition like you have the job for the 5-10 minutes you’re in the room. Show them your choices. Be bold. Be brave. Have patience and believe in yourself!! You have the talent, as does everyone else but you’ve got to show them what it is YOU have to offer. Once you’ve done an audition, forget about it. Carry on with your day. If you hear back, great! But unfortunately a lot of times no answer is an answer.

Noa Poses in her costume from The Little Mermaid

What are you working on next?

I am very excited to be back on stage this Easter in an American play called Seal Boy by Ken Weitzman. It’s making its UK premier and will be directed by Sean Turner (The Play That Goes Wrong, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Why I Stuck a Flare Up My Arse For England) and produced by Olivier Sublet (Trainspotting, A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Performances run from April 2nd – 7th at Riverside Studios in Hammersmith. I’ll be appearing as one of the chorus members and therefore taking on a number of roles throughout the play.

Usually jobs tend to come up last minute, especially photoshoots, so I imagine there will (hopefully) be more to come as the year progresses!

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