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A musical that's above and beyond

Playing a key role in a dazzling London production that retells the Bible as never before is a dream for Holly-Anna Lloyd

Holly-Anna LloydHolly-Anna plays Mary, the mother of Jesus in Love Beyond, an exciting new production at Wembley’s SSE Arena next month, and is therefore involved at some critical points.

‘In the nativity scene, the music is just beautiful - it sums up how majestic and dramatic that moment is,’ she says. ‘We all go to nativity scenes at Christmas time, and you never really get the full impact from Mary’s point of view. It’s really exciting to be part of.’

Holly-Anna, a worship and youth leader at Ruislip Baptist Church in North West London, is a member of the 29 strong cast of Love Beyond. Described as “the greatest love story of all time”, it has attracted a clutch of West End stars and one of the biggest live orchestras of any musical theatre show in London.

Unlike other musicals which take Bible stories as their starting point - think Joseph, or Jesus Christ Superstar - Love Beyond relays the full Gospel message of creation, loss, restoration and healing. And that makes it even more exciting for a professional singer with a strong Christian faith like Holly-Anna.

’It attracted me because it shows God’s love in a way that hasn’t been shown before,’ she says, ‘It’s from a Christian point of view, which other musicals like Jesus Christ Superstar (which features Jesus’ death but not the resurrection) aren’t. Love Beyond is written by a Christian and the production company ideally wanted people who are Christian.

‘It’s a really good representation of God, very accurate, so it seemed like a really perfect thing to get into.’

The sense of Christianity as the starting point – rather than simply telling a good story that happens to be in the Bible – has been reflected in the auditions and rehearsals, Holly-Anna continues.   

‘In the auditions we had a time of prayer and worship - I’ve never heard of anything like that before. In the final big audition, where the parts were being chosen, there was such a friendly vibe, even though people were about to be chosen. You never get that with West End productions. At the end we all prayed together - it felt a huge privilege.’

Love Beyond The Musical Official Trailer, Wembley Arena (The SSE Arena) 1 and 2 October 2014 from Love Beyond Musical on Vimeo.

Holly-Anna became a Christian after being invited to a local youth group called Blaze at Ruislip Baptist Church by a friend. She started attending church services and gave her life to Christ at a Soul Survivor camp in 2005. Ruislip remains her church, where she is a youth leader and worship leader.

As her faith developed, so did her musical career Holly graduated from the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with a First Class BMus Hons in Vocal and Opera Studies. In 2013 she graduated from the Royal Academy of Music Postgraduate Musical Theatre course. During her studies She was awarded numerous music prizes including Welsh Musical Theatre Young Singer of the Year 2013 and the Kathleen Ferrier Society Bursary for Young Singers Award in 2009.

Holly-Anna describes herself as a "crossover soprano", enjoying performing in musicals and operas. It’s another reason why she is thrilled to be part of Love Beyond.

‘Love Beyond is certainly something you can bring people along to. It tells such a powerful story in a way that’s both accurate to the Bible and accessible. It will be two special nights, especially at Wembley in front of a big crowd. I can’t wait!’

Love Beyond takes place on 1 and 2 October. For more including booking tickets, visit http://www.lovebeyondmusical.com/

Baptist Times, 16/09/2014
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