Miriam-Teak Lee — “If this is your passion but you don’t have the means, you have to apply”
Miriam-Teak was supported through her studies and is an Olivier Award winner for her role in &Juliet
Nerves give way to passion
Miriam-Teak was three years old when her mum took her to Morgan Aslanoff, a local dance school in North London, and her first memories are of nerves while performing – “if I did solos I would run off the stage, I was so scared!”
Her confidence began to change when her older brother Dex joined the school and in time they became duet partners. He helped inspire her to find a love for dancing.
Around the age of 15, she found her own feet and began placing higher in competitions. Dancing became her passion but it was touch and go whether she wanted to continue learning because she was also a very academic student.
During a gap year participating in classes at Pineapple Dance Studios however, she found her calling – “I realised this is what I wanted to be doing. I couldn’t be in an office, my toe would have been tapping under the desk all the time.”
Ian Fleming auditions
In the second year of her studies at ArtsEd, Miriam-Teak heard about Help Musicians and applied for the charity’s Ian Fleming award. This offers promising musical theatre students financial support towards study and living costs.
There was a great energy in the room during the auditions and she remembers feeling excited to share songs she loved with a panel of external professionals. Funnily enough Miriam-Teak was on the other side of the desk as one of the panel at the most recent Ian Fleming awards, which was a “surreal” experience.
At her own audition, she spoke about what she wanted to achieve in her career, telling the panel that, “there was no role I wouldn’t go for. The world was my oyster and I never wanted to be in a box singing just opera or just pop music.”
Miriam-Teak was awarded funding by Help Musicians and this support was vital at a point in her career when she was still developing as an actor, singer and performer. She was then able to focus on what was most important, making the most out of her education and learning skills every day.
Roles in Hamilton and &Juliet
Since graduating, Miriam-Teak’s career has gone from strength to strength. Her first job post-uni was a lead in Leonard Bernstein’s On the Town and after that she had a role in the smash-hit Hamilton.
This was an amazing experience which taught her much, particularly from watching the professionals around her who were performing every night for over a year.
Miriam-Teak has won an Olivier Award for her current role in &Juliet, one of the most critically acclaimed and popular musicals to have emerged in recent years.
&Juliet has fortunately now been able to reopen after it was interrupted by the pandemic. Coming back to the show now, the whole cast and crew have a new sense of appreciation for the production and gratefulness that they are back doing what they all love.
It has been a long journey for Miriam-Teak from nerves at Morgan Aslanoff to starring in the West End, but her hard work and perseverance has got her where she is today.
When asked what she would say to someone who was thinking about applying for the Ian Fleming Award, Miriam-Teak was unequivocal: “Don’t even think about it just do it – you have all to gain and nothing to lose. If this is your passion but you don’t have the means, you have to apply for this award.”