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Amy Nuttall. Photo Tommy Ga-Ken Wan

Interview: Actor Amy Nuttall on All My Sons and Branching Out

16 May 2014 Charlie Kenber

"All the characters coming in have got secrets that are going to rock big boats…"

Ahead of the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s summer season we spoke to actor Amy Nuttall about her role in All My Sons...

London Calling: How’s the show coming together?

Amy Nuttall: Very well thank you! We’ve done four weeks and we start the tech rehearsal today. So this is when the exciting bit starts, because we get to see everyone in costume and actually get on the stage and on the set!

LC: That must be quite a big change especially when working with an open air space…

AN: Yeah, I’ve never done open air before. I’ve seen it done here a few times and always loved it.

LC: What in particular makes it challenging – do you have to play everything ‘bigger’?

AN: We have challenges with the weather, which goes without saying. Apparently they can sometimes hear the animals in London Zoo, you have aeroplanes going overhead…but the good thing about All My Sons is it’s set in a back garden in Mid-Western America, and the play takes place during the course of one day. It opens in the morning, and it ends in the middle of the night – so it’ll be interesting when we do the evening shows, opening in daylight and then being in actual darkness by the end. It’ll be fitting for the play!

LC: What attracted you to the project? Was it the theatre?

AN: Well the play more than anything! I love Arthur Miller, this is his first big hit and it’s an amazing play. I’ve never seen it done but I knew it very well. I just really enjoy good American playwrights. I did A Streetcar Named Desire up at the Octagon (in Bolton) a couple of years ago and I just absolutely loved it.

LC: What about your character – how have you found playing her?

AN: I play Ann Deever – she’s the next-door neighbour who grew up with two of the Kellers, the Kellers being the main family. I was the sweetheart of the youngest son who went missing during the Second World War. The play is set immediately after the war, and I’ve since moved away. I’m revisiting them having not seen them for a couple of years. All the characters coming in have got secrets that are going to rock big boats…it’s difficult to say anything else without giving it away!

LC: How’s the director Timothy Sheader been to work with?

AN: He’s a dream to work with. He’s very generous, he let’s all the actors explore in the rehearsal room and he doesn’t just dictate. He let’s us all have time to find out way, and then goes “right I like that, I don’t like that.” It’s all about teamwork; it’s been a really good experience. I feel very confident I’m in safe hands!

LC: It must be interesting performing somewhere like Regent’s Park having done lots of television work. The scale is at the other end of the spectrum…

AN: Completely, yeah. And I’d forgotten how massive the space is here – it’s a hell of a big auditorium. I’ll find out as soon as we get on stage today, to be able to gauge how big to go.

LC: It seems like you’ve been doing a lot more stage work recently – has this been an intentional shift?

AN: I just go where the work is to be honest! We can all have preferences of what we’d specifically like to do next, whether it be TV or theatre, but it’s all dependent on the project and who’s involved that will swing you either way. I just filmed an episode of New Tricks yesterday with my day off, so I’m managing to keep them both going. I want to do as many different things as possible, but you go where the work is. I think probably 1% of actors are in a position to choose – put it that way!

LC: Is that the case with musical theatre as well? Do you prefer one or the other, or again is it just about what comes along?

AN: I loved my spell in musical theatre. My very first job was Phantom of the Opera when I was 16, and then I came back to music theatre after Emmerdale (which I did for four years). I did My Fair Lady and various bits in Cabaret and Guys and Dolls and stuff. It was amazing but obviously such hard work.

In this country specifically I think it’s harder sometimes to be seen by certain casting directors if you only do one genre. So if you want to branch out and you’re passionate about doing something else then you have to be brave and go “ right, enough of that now, I’m going to concentrate on being seen for this.”

But I’ve been very fortunate to play some amazing roles – like Eliza and Sally Bowles – and I’d love to do more musical theatre, definitely!

LC: That must be quite a scary thing – having a stable job on something like Emmerdale and taking the decision to leave and branch out into something else.

AN: Yeah. I was 22 when I left Emmerdale and I wasn’t in a position where I was getting married or had a family or needed that stability, and I was always hungry to do lots of things. I always knew I was never going to stay there long-term – but I completely understand people who do! Stability is one thing that is rare in this profession, so when it comes around you want to grab it sometimes.

LC: Finally, why should people come and see it?

AN: People should come and see it because it’s Arthur Miller, and anyone who knows about theatre should know that he’s pretty darn good! If you’re interested in plays you can’t not love it.

All My Sons is on at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre from 15th May – 7th June. Tickets from £23 - £55, available here.

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