Swallows & Amazons is coming York Theatre Royal from 26 July to 24 August. To prepare for the show, read this great Q&A with one of the stars of the show, Laura Soper.
Are you a Swallow or an Amazon? Pick your tribe.
Definitely a Swallow! I’m rubbish with conflict so I’m not sure Captain Nancy would have me in her crew! I’d be useless in a war!
Have you read the book/seen the film, TV or theatre version?
When I was about 11 I was given the book for Christmas. I loved it but never finished it, I was too busy being a Swallow myself, having my own adventures. I then saw the theatre version at Theatre by the Lake in Keswick and was absolutely transfixed. Recently I had another go with the book and now I’m already half way through the second one, Swallowdale. I can’t put them down. It’s such a magical story. It feels like such a treat to get the opportunity to share it with people.
What can you tell us about your character Susan?
She’s the second oldest at 11 so she feels she has a responsibility to look after everyone and is subsequently the mother figure of the group. I feel, however, that I have a duty to make sure she doesn’t get branded as the boring one. She’s the ship’s mate so regardless of how sensible or motherly she is, it’s the mate’s job to be in charge of all the supplies and make sure everyone gets fed. She is an accomplished sailor in her own right. Although she’s not that interested in being like Robinson Crusoe, she’s having her own adventure creating the perfect camp on a desert island, with the lives of the crew in her hands. In my opinion, everyone would end up duffers if it wasn’t for Susan.
What was your most adventurous school holiday?
Well very much like the Swallows, I spent most of my school holidays having adventures in the Lake District. I learnt to row a boat in the Lake District and rowed right round two islands on Derwent water.
How are you on boats and the water?
I’ve never been sailing but I love water. That’s one reason why I like the Lake District so much. I take every opportunity to go paddling, swimming or rowing – you get such an amazing view of the world from the water.
Tell us about being a York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre member.
My years in the Youth Theatre were such an influential chapter of my life. As well as making wonderful friends and having great fun, it was also an important step in my becoming a professional actor. My aspirations were taken seriously, I was constantly being pushed with new challenges and I got given the most amazing opportunities to perform in professional productions which was such invaluable work experience. I feel so lucky to have been a part of it and it’s lovely to be back in the place where everything became possible.
Visit the York Theatre Royal website for more information and to book your tickets!
Photograph credited to Anthony Robling