Alexandra Burke on making major 'sacrifices' ahead of West End return in Sister Act

Virgin Radio

5 May 2024, 10:08

Credit: Getty

Alexandra Burke on the challenges and joys of returning to the West End in Sister Act.

Alexandra Burke, the renowned winner of The X Factor, is set to grace the West End stage once again as Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act at the Dominion Theatre in London from June 10th to August 31st.

In an exclusive interview with, the Hallelujah singer opened up about the highs and lows of her career, shedding light on the 'sacrifices' she’s had to make to pursue her passion for musical theatre.

Reflecting on the rigorous demands of stage performances, Alexandra remarked, “I consider myself really lucky because I'm not someone who's trained in musical theatre. I respect musical theatre and people that audition for certain shows, and do musical theatre, because it is the hardest you'll ever work."

Acknowledging the physical toll of performing, she added, “This is a next level of working hard, like this is sometimes 12 Shows a week, eight shows a week, sometimes six shows a week. And that is so taxing on your voice your body.

"And you know, you have to make sacrifices in this sense where you have to save your voice preserve that preserve your energy."

Alexandra’s journey to the West End was partly nudged by her mother, Melissa Bell, a former singer in Soul II Soul.

Recalling her mother’s influence, Alexandra shared: “She kept saying to me, 'Why did you talk so much? That's why you're losing your voice. You know, why don't you, love, just shut up?' Like I was like, 'Because I get it from you! You talk so much.'"

Her mother's support proved instrumental, especially when Alexandra hesitated to accept her first role in the West End back in 2014, when she replaced Beverly Knight as Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard.

Alexandra originally turned down the role to star when she was just 23-years-old, believing that she was not yet ready to justice to the part.

However, her mum was again came to the rescue, although not in the conventional sense.

Alexandra explained: "I turned it down because I didn't think I was good enough to do it and I didn't think I could do Whitney justice. Then I got asked to do it again at 26. 

“I was living in New York and my mum… she'd come to visit and I had the call. I said, ‘Oh my god mum. I was offered three months at the Adelphi Theatre to do Bodyguard!’, and she went, ‘You better get your backside on that plane or I'm doing it for you!’”

Despite the sacrifices, Alexandra finds solace in the joy she brings to audiences.

She continued: “But I always say to people, we aren't saving lives, we are here to allow people to escape, we are here as entertainers to put a smile on people's faces for two and a half hours."

Beyond the stage, Alexandra is also an advocate for gut health, partnering with Symprove. Sharing her own struggles with digestive issues, she emphasised the importance of destigmatising such discussions.

She said: “I'm now at that point in my life where I'm not afraid to speak up about it because it's something natural and something that people need to talk about because we want to feel good in life."

As Alexandra prepares to captivate audiences once again, both on stage and through her advocacy, she continues to inspire with her talent, resilience, and commitment to well-being.

Alexandra Burke will be at the Dominion Theatre, London, for Sister Act from 10th June to 31st August.