An interview with Laura Dalgleish performing How To Be Brave at Wasing Woodland

Wasing are hosting a festival of theatre on 4th, 5th and 11th July in the wonderful setting of the woodlands. Dirty Protest Theatre are a welsh theatre company making waves in the industry, Laura Dalgleish will be performing the critically acclaimed How To Be Brave, before taking the play to Edinburgh. For all the information, click here.

For the theatre buffs amongst us, we’ve asked Laura how she’s found being involved in the play.

What attracted you to HTBB?

I had really wanted to work with Dirty Protest previously as I was a bit of a fan of their work, but the opportunity hadn’t arisen. When this came up it was exactly what I was looking for. Then when I read the early excerpts of the script for the audition, I loved Sian’s writing, and I felt this connection to the character. I’d never felt that before. I had done a piece for Sian Owen (our writer) previously, and then when I met Cath (our director) at the audition, it just felt easy like we had know each other for years. I just really wanted to work with them, and here we are. It was meant to be I guess.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What have you found challenging about the show?

The most challenging part was creating the world of the play, all the characters, and learning it all.

It’s just me on stage, but I don’t just play the protagonist Katie, I become all the characters within the story, the people she meets and knows, as she takes you on this journey around Newport, where the play is set. It was imperative to really know that world, and be truthful to it and the characters within it.

After the audition Siân went away and wrote a full length piece, which we developed. We went to Newport for a week of research and development, and went to the places in the script, met locals, and got a feel for it. Newport is like another character in the play, it’s a love story from Sian to Newport in a sense.

Myself, Sian and Cath all worked together in rehearsal, the script was always developing and changing as we discovered more about the character and her story. The joy of new writing and having the writer there in the room, is that it can change and develop. But that really helped with the fear of thinking it’s a ‘one woman show’. It’s a real team effort. Because we made the world together I know what Katie the character is thinking or what her reactions would be. It was a really challenging but incredibly rewarding process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What were you doing before?

I’ve mainly worked in television and theatre, just before this I did a season of Shakespeare in Chester, but I’ve also worked a lot on Horrible Histories, which really helps with creating different characters. I love comedy and so I get to flex that muscle in the show too.

Why is it an important story now?

What’s great about this play is that it’s a story of a young woman, your everyday mother, who, for various reasons, is finding life a bit difficult. She’s a single parent, but we didn’t want it to be focused on that. It’s a modern story of someone who is doing their best, but that particular day something snaps. She’s funny and sassy, but the audience aren’t quite sure if everything is ok. It touches on mental health and the pressures we feel in life. We are becoming more open as a nation with regards to mental health, so it’s great to have a play where the person hasn’t got their shit together, and that’s ok. It’s funny, moving, real and uplifting. It may be set in Newport, but the story is universal. People have really been connecting with it and that’s been so rewarding. Plus it’s great to be in a play written and directed by women for a woman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you excited about your trip to Edinburgh?

I’m so excited about taking the show to Edinburgh. I’ve worked the festival before and I love it, but this is my first time working there as an actor. It’s a bit of a bucket list thing for me. I wanted to do a show in Edinburgh Festival for years, and now we are taking this amazing play, with a brilliant company. I feel very blessed and humbled by it all. It’s also really cool that the first ever play I saw in Edinburgh Fringe was by Dirty Protest, and now I get to be there performing for them.

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