The Mail on Sunday - You - - Coverstory - Played Lady Mac­beth in

at Shake­speare’s Globe I found per­form­ing at the Globe quite men­tal; it’s an ex­pe­ri­ence. I couldn’t be­lieve how dif­fer­ent it was from most the­atres. It’s alfresco, for one thing, so you’re think­ing, ‘Holy cow, it’s tip­ping it down with rain. I’m go­ing to get very wet and prob­a­bly have to shout my lines.’ You can see every­one in the au­di­ence: if they’re watch­ing you, if they’re on their phones, if they’re leav­ing be­cause they’re bored. The first time you see hun­dreds of faces look­ing back at you is ex­tra­or­di­nary.

I’m al­ways ner­vous be­fore I go on stage. I kept think­ing it would get eas­ier as I got older, but it doesn’t. It’s thrilling, too. Some­one once said that anx­i­ety is only ex­cite­ment with­out the breath­ing, which is nice as long as you re­mem­ber to breathe. Af­ter­wards, I’m so re­lieved. I’m at my most grate­ful at the end of a play. The only time I im­prove is when I’m on stage. You get the chance to per­form ev­ery night, so if you’re not happy with it you can hone your char­ac­ter and do it again. There’s also the con­trol of the au­di­ence, par­tic­u­larly if it’s a play with some laughs in it. You can sense how they’re re­spond­ing and adapt your per­for­mance ac­cord­ingly. It makes you feel in com­mand.

I found the show so funny at cer­tain points that I lost con­trol and laughed when I shouldn’t have – but only about three times out of a hun­dred! One time Steve [Pem­ber­ton] had a cus­tard pie thrown at him and a bit of pas­try stayed on his face for the rest of the play. The au­di­ence found it very funny and that set me off.

I let the mood from the day bleed into my per­for­mance; it means the show is al­ways dif­fer­ent. And be­cause I’m a mum to two young chil­dren I’m com­ing to the theatre from clean­ing the kitchen or hav­ing Play-Doh thrown at my hair. Back­stage I like to have some peace and quiet, or play mu­sic – I love Katie Melua.

Played Eleanor in the Vaude­ville Theatre at

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