With the company now in rehearsals, we interview the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School actors cast to play alongside theatre professionals, Timothy West, Stephanie Cole and David Hargreaves in King Lear.
Here we get to know Michelle, one of the Theatre School’s talented rising stars.
BOVTS: Helen in The Trojan Women (Bristol Old Vic Studio); Weasel Wilfred/ Mouse Malcolm/ Gaoler’s Daughter in The Wind in the Willows (Redgrave Theatre); Rosalind in As You Like It, Margery in The Country Wife, Mrs Railton-Bell in Separate Tables, Yulka in Ladybird, Liz Morden in Our Country’s Good.
Pre BOVTS: Little Red Riding Hood in Into the Woods, Scilla in Serious Money, Greta in Bent, Sarah in The Accrington Pals, Emma Goldman in Ragtime.
Where are you from and how did you get into acting?
I’m an Irish lass from Limerick in Ireland. My Dad is a builder and my Ma does her best to keep everything in check, including himself. There was a nun in the Convent primary school I was in who set up a drama class after school and it took off from there really. Not from an acting background at all so it’s a wonder I kept it going. Extremely glad I did though!
Who are you playing in King Lear and what challenges have you faced in that role?
I’m playing Regan in King Lear and I’m loving every second. The Received Pronunciation accent has always been fun to do but the audience as always can be the judge whether I’ve mastered it or not. Taking control of Shakespearian language has been an interesting challenge during this process. There is so much depth to it and it’s extremely interesting.
What’s your favourite thing about training at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School?
Cliché answer, but I’d have to say the people. Such a wonderful nurturing place. Everyone has a shoulder to lean on in tough times and trust me there are plenty! The school has been so good to me, especially with financial aid. They gave me an opportunity I’d never have otherwise and I’m very grateful for that.
How does it feel to be taking the Bristol Old Vic stage in your graduating show?
If you would have told me a couple years ago that I’d be playing Regan on this amazing stage alongside Timothy West, I’d have keeled over laughing. But here we are. It’s such an exciting prospect. Will have to keep my nerves in check!