12 Sep 2017
53 performances, 200 proposals, and 10,000 miles later, and I’m safely back home in London after the summer of a lifetime. Pride and Prejudice toured from Land’s End to Inverness, in pouring rain and glorious sunshine.
Our two-week residency at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall, in the blazing sunshine we had at the beginning of June. A sold-out audience every night, a weekend off in the middle to spend on the beach, and being horribly upstaged by dolphins - it can’t really get any better!
Getting to perform at Packwood House in Solihull. This is where I first saw Illyria perform ten years ago, and so returning to the venue as part of the company was really exciting. What made it terrifying was the home crowd that turned out: grandparents, small cousins, old friends, old teachers… nerve-wracking but such an incredible privilege to share the show with them.
The incredible hospitality all over the country, from amazing venues, staff and volunteers. Special thanks have to go to Westminster Abbey and Hill House in Helensburgh, who hosted us on our two wettest shows: the tea, cake, and love made it all better; and the mad audience members who stuck with us through the downpour, and carried on laughing despite the cold, made everything worth it.
At the show in Tonbridge Castle, a small girl in the audience came and said hello in the interval, and showed us a picture she’d drawn of Lizzy and Darcy having an argument after his first proposal. You know you’ve hit the big time when children are drawing pictures of you!
Our very last show in Cockington Court, Torquay: the weather was perfect, the venue staff were lovely, our director came to watch, and it was possibly the best show of the whole tour - it was a wonderful way to finish.
These are just some of the best bits, but pretty much every moment of the whole summer was incredible. Obvious credit for that goes to Oliver Gray who adapted the script, directed the play, orchestrated the whole tour, and of course cast me in the first place; and also Josh Harvey, Katy Helps, Katherine Lunney, and Toby Webster, the beautiful lunatics who made even set-building in the drizzle seem pretty wonderful.