We spoke to the brilliant Jodie Prenger, from the cast of The Band Plays On, to hear all about the rehearsal process, how she found Sheffield and what the past year has meant for her.
Make sure youclick here to book your ticket for The Band Plays On – available to watch from Mon 15 – Sun 28 March.
How does it feel to be working on this production, especially after the past year?
What a year, ey? I could Joan Collins slap it across its face for what’s it’s done to the entertainment industry. There’s one thing I know about the glorious people I have had the honour to meet and work with in theatre: they are resilient, they are adaptable and they will always, without a doubt, come back fighting stronger. Being part of this production makes me feel nothing but utter pride, and of course a little bit giddy. Giddy you ask? Well, come on, you would. Working with a fabulous cast, crew and creatives on a brilliant new Chris Bush play, and to top it all off, I get to play at the Crucible in Sheffield. Pardon mon French... Over the bloody moon.
Tell us about the show. What can audiences expect?
I don’t want to give too much away... Look, I will let the audience in on a little secret - the play will make you laugh, make you cry and give you hope. The girls in the cast, well, let’s put it this way, I’ve already joined each of their fan clubs. The creative and crew on board are the finest and the set will blow your mind! I’ve given too much away haven’t I?
Do you resonate with your character?
What a girl, she’s cracking! I resonate with her resilience, especially with everything we have all been through. The entire play is relatable, it’s a masterpiece in writing.
What’s your favourite band?
Arctic Monkeys Festival in Lisbon
Favourite place in Sheffield?
Tough one. Top is the theatres. But I love to shop... Sheffield has the best shopping.
What have you missed most in the last year?
Friends. Being there for them. Face to face. Zoom is a poor substitute to actually being there for someone, or laughing till you can’t breathe. I know we will get it back, I don’t mind waiting. I’m happier knowing that we are saving lives by stopping the spread, but I don’t half miss my mates.
What’s the first thing you’ll do/who’s the first person you’ll visit post-lockdown?
I have lots of lovely pals in Brighton. I feel a seaside trip coming along. All together now...’Oh I do like to be beside the seaside...’
Most memorable performance you’ve been in/to?
You’ve got me there. There are so many, and shows are like kids aren’t they? You can never tell them which one is your favourite. I think the most shocking was one night, we couldn’t understand why the audience were so subdued – only to find out that night the Queen was in! Chuffed, thanks for popping in, Liz.
Did you know much about Sheffield’s history before reading the script?
Ashamedly no. Well, I say no - just not to the extent of what I’ve learnt about the city over the past few weeks. I was aware of certain events, but I have definitely leant a lot. Mind you, I’m from Blackpool and I’ve only just discovered the Tower is built on bales of cotton! Bales of cotton - no word of a lie.
The play centres around the theme of women’ resilience in the recent past – how do you feel this will resonate in the time we’re in now?
Together we are stronger, that’s true, and women together are a force to be reckoned with. I’ve grown up around strong resilient women. It’s lovely to celebrate this.