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Guest Stories

Meet Queen Victoria’s Entertainment Director – Sally Sagoe

July 11, 2011

We Are Cunard

Posted in: Guest Stories, Life On Board

Those of you who have sailed on board Queen Victoria recently may have met our guest blogger today; Entertainment Director Sally Sagoe.

Sally comes from an international background and was born in the UK in London. She graduated as a ‘Speech and Drama’ teacher – and spent time teaching underprivileged children and those who were unable to participate in main stream education.

She later spent several years as a television and West End theatre actress and singer. Award-nominated Sally is probably best known for the part she played for 3 years as Hannah Carpenter in ‘Eastenders’ in the 1980s, one of Britain’s best loved TV soap operas.<BR>

Guest Blog

Sally Sagoe

Entertainment Director

Queen Victoria

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I have been working at sea since 1999 on board several different P&O Cruises ships, and most recently Queen Victoria. My background is in theatre and television and before working at sea I spent many years in the industry, including a few years on the popular British soap Eastenders.

One of the strange things about being in a soap opera is that the general public feels they know you personally – often I would be stopped whilst out shopping – and a complete stranger would berate me for not looking after my fictional TV husband and children. On another occasion the storyline dealt with a pregnant character – numerous members of public sent in knitted booties for the fictional baby!  You often hear about actors and actresses having the privilege of filming ‘on location’ – often in exotic locations. Whilst filming for another soap opera –  I was  excited and expectant when it was discovered we were  going   ’on location  -  however it turned out to be Tooting Bec! Nothing wrong with Tooting Bec  -  but we were hoping  for Barbados!  

My London West End theatre, television and film performances culminated in the accolade of being invited to perform at the ‘Royal Variety Performance’, where I was honoured to sing for the late Queen Mother and to meet members of the Royal Family. 

My first love has always  been theatre, I love a live audience  -  there’s nothing like a ‘first night’ to get the adrenalin going  -  you wait expectantly  in the wings  in  scintillating anticipation -  a million thoughts going through  your head  -  you hear ‘Overture and Beginners’  –  it’s your  cue –  and you’re on. Weeks of rehearsals have finally come to fruition and now it’s your turn to  ‘tread the boards.

My love of the performing arts prompted me to set up my own music business which sent me touring around the world with my jazz, blues and soul bands. I auditioned bands and then took them out on the road with me for various tours. Life on the road as an artist was exhilarating and very hard work   - particularly when travelling on mountainous roads in Scandinavia. Driving from venue to venue could take up to 5 hours. Far from the luxury of stunning Queen Victoria   – we travelled by cars and touring vans during winter -  with studded tyres and chains on tyres to grip the snow .It all seemed so exciting then  -  not so sure I’d want to do it now! However who could not enjoy the spectacular and scenic views?  

Rehearsals for my 45 minute stage  act would commence shortly after arrival at the venue  -  and then  early morning  –  the boys and I and my manager  would be back on the road  -  travelling to the next venue. On one occasion the boys in the band went to a party and left their equipment on stage. During the night the hotel caught fire and all our instruments burnt to a cinder. Most importantly everyone escaped unharmed, however we had to cancel the rest of the tour and return home. My experiences of life on the road with numerous bands gave me a thorough understanding of the intricacies of music and the complex nature of some musicians-  and an appreciation of remaining in one place for more than one night at a time!  

More recently, my career has taken me into the training consultancy, management and cruise industry where I met and married a ship’s engineer in a romantic wedding on a beach in Barbados.  

My first impressions of moving to Cunard and Queen Victoria was of how breathtakingly beautiful she is – stunning venues throughout the ship and the excitement of hearing not one but two wonderful orchestras. It was thrilling to watch guests on one particular evening   – as they emerged from the Theatre still singing “Rule Britannia” & waving flags- making their way to the Golden Lion Pub where the rousing  sounds of New Orleans and Dixieland Jazz  with the fabulous Royal Court Theatre Orchestra  filled the air. A little further on the Victoriana Ball was in full swing – many in full Victorian costume. Those who ventured beyond were delighted by the classical melodies cascading through the mid ships area with the String Quartet and Harpist   - what more could a girl ask for?

 

With her zest for life, extensive entertainment background and love of people and travel, Sally says she finds her role as Entertainment Director on Queen Victoria a wonderfully fulfilling position. If she ever finds the time, she would like to write a book about her experiences both at sea and on land.  “I might have to change the names of a few people to protect the innocent!”

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  1. Beryl Moss says:

    A very interesting blog Sally. You certainly have had an interesting life and I agree Queen Victoria is a very elegant ship along with a very friendly and homely atmosphere. Look forward to meeting you the next time we are on her.

  2. Tom Morgan says:

    Welcome. As one of the particpant’s in the “Do you want to be a Cunard Dancer” Programme on the TA of the QV last spring under your predecessor, Keith Maynard’s watch, I strongly suggest that you keep up with that programme. It was great fun and did provide at least one act, made up of me and 7 other stalwarts, for the passenger talent show.

  3. Michael Burke says:

    i have been on 2 cruises on the the Queen Victoria in the last 9 months and indeed planning another for 2013 in the Victoria plenty to do on ship dressing up for evening in various attires interesting places to visit at well selected ports of call i like quizzes bingo movies internet slot machines singing music i think the Queen Vic suits everybodies taste whether you want to do nothing or like to take part in games etc will recommend a Cunard cruise to anyone it is great value for money. My wife and i will be cruising on the Queen Victoria for years to come it is atruly get away from it all experience

  4. Mr J M Edwards says:

    Just a quick email to say how much we enjoyed the entertainment on our 24 night black sea & turkish voyage on 30th September 2013 on the QV. Sally was a joy to watch and to speak to, she always had time for a cheery hello and to ask how we were enjoying ourselves, we booked 3 more voyages whilst we were onboard and the only thin we will miss on the next 2 voyages is Sally and her infectious giggle as she is on shore leave. The singers and dancers were SUPERB, their shows were fantastic. The QV is my 3rd favourite Cunard ship but i think i had the best time on the QV thanks to the crew : )

    Next voyage is 5th November then the 17th November , both on the QV then the QE in December : )

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