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A Message in a Bottle: Interview with Lizzie Gough

Dancer Lizzie Gough first worked with choreographer Kate Prince more than a decade ago. Since then, the two men have joined forces on various projects. Their most recent project, Message in a bottle, features 27 of Sting’s most beloved songs. Gough, who is also a choreographer, spoke to Phindie about his different roles and responsibilities in the production.

(Miller Theater, on the Kimmel Cultural Campus, 250 S Broad St) May 14-19, 2024; ensembleartsphilly.org

Debra Danese: How was working with Olivier Award nominee Kate Prince?

Lizzie Gough: I have been fortunate to work with Kate for the past 13 years. We met in 2011 on the BBC show So you think you can dance. Kate was one of the choreographers for the series. She then asked me to join the cast of Some people like hip hop in one of the main roles, JoJo.

I really enjoy working with Kate on any project because she always inspires and enhances everyone’s abilities as an artist.

DD: In addition to performing on stage, you are both an assistant choreographer and resident director/choreographer. What do these roles involve?

LG: As an assistant choreographer in the creative process, I would technically be the body of what Kate would like to try ideas on. Sometimes we would have the opportunity to try things and Kate would shape and guide the movement, based on the direction and content of the section. We also had Tommy Franzen as assistant choreographer. He brought more of the breaking elements that Kate wanted in the series.

Like any production, each artist is very different from each other with their own wow factor. When the show is on tour, my job as Resident Director/Choreographer is to maintain the quality and intention for which Kate created the show. I also make sure that the artists feel safe when performing, as the majority of them play up to three roles.

DD: The story is told through Sting’s music. Which song from the series do you draw the most inspiration from?

LG: This question is a bit difficult to answer because each song brings a different intention and feeling. Some of the songs were rewritten for the show, so I have a lot of them that really inspire me. I think the opening number Desert Rose has always been a favorite, even before Kate created this series. It’s always an honor to achieve this.

DD: You have such a diverse biography. What type of project would you like to undertake next?

LG: After this series of Message in a bottle, I will return to the world of television as a choreographer. I always enjoy it!

Message in a bottle will perform at the Miller Theater, Kimmel Cultural Campus, 250 S. Broad Street May 14-19, 2024; ensembleartsphilly.org