You have performed in some amazing shows so far like Dirty Dancing, We Will Rock You, GHOST and most recently Show Boat at the New London Theatre. What have been some of your career highlights so far?
Ghost was definitely a highlight for me, both personally and professionally. I felt a deeply personal connection to the role of Molly and I think the job changed people’s perception of me within the industry and kickstarted a new phase in my career. The Donmar had long been on my bucket list of places to I wanted to work, so City of Angels was a really wonderful experience. And Showboat was a joy!
You are now going to be starring in Floyd Collins at Wilton’s Music Hall. What is the show about and what attracted you to the part you are playing?
It’s based on a true story; that of Floyd Collins, a caver in 1920’s Kentucky who becomes trapped whilst exploring a cave he hoped to open up as a tourist attraction. We tell the story of the race against time to free him by his family, friends and the world at large. His plight became one of the biggest media sensations to hit America outside of the world wars and was an early example of how exploitative and dishonest the news media can be. I play his sister Nellie, who has very recently returned from a six month stay in a mental asylum. What I love about her is her openness; she’s completely filterless in the way that young children are, but is in no way unintelligent. She’s a joy to inhabit; particularly after a long stint playing Julie in Showboat, who’s entire life was a lie. Telling her story was a pretty bleak, draining experience, so to go from playing someone so troubled to someone so truthful and pure feels good for the soul!
Who are your biggest inspirations in the theatre industry and why?
Hard one! I love Barbra Streisand for the way she kicked down doors for women and for that incomparable talent. I also think Audra McDonald is astonishing as a performer and as human being, and was blown away by Denise Gough in People, Places and Things recently.
What West End show would you like to see make a comeback and why?
I loved Once and would love to play the girl, so if that came back I wouldn’t complain!
What has been the funniest or most embarrassing thing that has ever happened to you on stage?
Oh Christ, think I’ve blocked most of them out! I’ve fallen over more times than I care to admit, wardrobe malfunctions, slicing my finger open and managing to coat pretty much everyone in the scene in blood… The list goes on!
Apart from acting, what is your biggest passion?
Food. Heheh. No, I love to read, play piano, long walks in sunny places, spend time with my loved ones, the usual. I really do love food though…
We are living in a time where films are often being turned into stage plays and musicals. If you had to choose one, what film would you like to see adapted to the stage?
Toss up between The Princess Bride and The Nightmare Before Christmas. It kills me that Adam Guettel started writing the former….!
If you could be the opposite sex for the day, what theatre role would you love to have a go at playing?
So many Sondheims; Sweeney Todd, Georges Seurat, the Baker, I can’t pick!
If you won the lottery and could stage one theatre show of your choice, what would you choose and who would be your dream cast?
I’d do the Light in the Piazza and cast myself as Clara, ha!
Why do you think people should come and see Floyd Collins at Wilton’s Music Hall?
It has one of the most beautiful, haunting scores I’ve ever worked on, bar none. It’s a deeply affecting portrait of a family and a community in turmoil, with an incredible sense of humanity; and for a show that deals so much with death, it’s astonishingly life-affirming. Plus, Wilton’s Music Hall is one of the most magical places I’ve ever set foot in!
Thanks for having Tea With Wilma
Floyd Collins plays at Wilton’s Music Hall 21 September – 15 October 2016