From The Lion King to Motown The MusicalSoul Sister to The Book of Mormon, Aisha Jawando is a veteran of London’s West End.

This summer Jawando will be playing the lead role in Tina – The Tina Turner Musical which re-opens at the Aldwych Theatre on July 28th. Having been part of the company of Tina since its world premiere in Spring 2018, Jawando previously played the part of Tina’s sister, Alline Bullock. Now, Jawando steps into the lead role of this musical which tells the story of Tina Turner: a woman who dared to defy the bounds of racism, sexism and ageism to become the global Queen of Rock n’ Roll.

We spoke to Jawando to find out more about what Tina means to her, and why she’s so excited to finally be able to welcome audiences back into the theatre…

Please introduce yourself.

Hi – my name is Aisha Jawando, I am Nigerian and living in the UK and to describe what I do, I would say I help bring art to life. 

Please share a word or sentence which best describes your life right now.

On the cusp of something new but familiar.

Over the course of your career, you’ve done the rounds of the West End, starring in musicals like The Lion King and Motown the Musical – what is it you love about musical theatre, and are there any shows you’ve not yet starred in that you’d particularly love to be a part of?

I don’t think it’s necessarily my love for musical theatre but more my love for entertaining within this sphere. As far as any other musicals, I would like the be a part of I‘m not sure yet. 

You’ve been part of Tina – The Tina Turner Musical since its world premiere in Spring 2018, previously playing the part of Tina’s sister, Alline Bullock. How does it feel to be stepping up to play the title role?

It’s scary! But it’s making me step out of my comfort zone and I’m grateful for that. 

Before getting involved with Tina, were you a Tina Turner fan, and what’s your favourite Tina Turner track?

Who doesn’t enjoy a Tina Turner tune!? It’s really hard to pick a track but I would maybe say it’s between Its Only Love and Private Dancer

Aisha Jawando as Tina Turner in Tina – The Tina Turner Musical © Manuel Harlan

Do you have any anxiety about how Tina herself might respond to your performance?

Well, she has already seen me perform and it was really exciting. One to tell the kids about!

In February this year, I saw you perform ‘(Simply) The Best’ at The Greatest Show, and wow – those whistle notes! Has it been difficult at all keeping your vocals healthy during the intermittent lockdowns of the past twelve months?

The break has actually helped a lot with resetting my voice and making it stronger. 

This year you were also part of the professional jury for the Eurovision Song contest – what was that like?

It was hard. There were so many great performances so picking my top 10 was very difficult.

The last twelve months have been difficult for the theatre industry – what do you look forward to most about finally being able to welcome live audiences back to see Tina in person?

Feeling the vibe of the audience, being able to capture their hearts and mind and performing with my cast, for sure. 

Have you got any other projects on the horizon that you’re excited about?

Gotta keep that kinda of information under wraps.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU

  • A book you have to have in your collection? The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe 
  • A song / album that defines the soundtrack of your life to date? Green Papaya that’s been on repeat today. 
  • A film / TV show that you can watch/have watched repeatedly? The Devil Wears Prada/My Wife And Kids 
  • The first stage production you saw and what it meant to you (play, musical, dance, or concert)? I actually don’t remember.
  • What’s made you sad, mad, and glad this week? The sun leaving made me sad, insensitivity to certain matters made me mad, and living to see another day made me glad.

Tina – The Tina Turner Musical re-opens at the Aldwych Theatre on 28 July 2021. Find out more here.