Q&A with Swallows and Amazons star Ellen Chivers

Swallows & Amazons is going down a treat this summer at York Theatre Royal. Here’s a catch up with one of the stars of the show, Ellen…

Are you a Swallow or an Amazon? Pick your tribe.

I think I feel more inclined towards being a Swallow.  I love the idea of being able to fly!  It also feels like you could go on an adventure but be back in time for tea?

Have you read the book/seen the film, TV or theatre version?

In all honesty, no!  The first version I read was the script before my audition and I loved it.  I think I will watch other versions once the show is up and running and I’m going to crack on with the book!

What can you tell us about your character?

I am playing the mother.  She’s juggling her many children, including a baby and is catering to all their different wants and needs before they go off on this big adventure.  She also totally believes in the realities the children have created and gives them space to indulge their imaginations.  Like all mothers, she’s a superwoman.

What was your most adventurous school holiday?

I used to go on Girl Guide camp every summer and they’re some of the best memories of my childhood.  We camped in canvas patrol tents and cooked everything on an open fire every day.  The sound of wood pigeons in the mornings and the smell of wood smoke still makes me nostalgic for those days!

How are you on boats and the water?

I love them!  I worked with Mikron Theatre in 2015.  They are particularly unique in that they tour on a 72 foot narrow boat called Tyseley, which you live on with 3 other actor-musicians for 4 months.  You have to learn to steer her, moor her, sleep on her and store all of the set on her.  It was a fantastic experience!  I am also a complete water-baby.  It might be because I’m a Cancerian, but I am probably most happy when I’m in water.

Tell us about writing your own shows

In 2016 I decided I wanted to pen my own show having squirrelled away various ideas over the years.  This culminated in Royal Hunter which was a one-woman comedy show incorporating two of my favourite things; Prince Harry and Harry Potter.  It told the tale of my journey to find and win the love of Prince Harry (this was pre-Meghan) which of course I did, after finding him on Tinder (with lots of Harry Potter references along the way)  It didn’t work out though, because I revealed in front of his entire family that he was the one who started the Great Fire at Windsor in 1992.  My next show was Vicki and Pat in Fuerteventura which was a two woman comedy about an all inclusive holiday to Fuerteventura.  I developed it with some great friends of mine and as a result we formed our company Duck Decanter Productions.  We recently got back from performing the show at Brighton Fringe where we sold out and the show was also nominated for a New Writing Award at the Buxton Fringe last year so we’re pretty chuffed!

Catch Ellen in Swallows & Amazons at York Theatre Royal until 24th August.

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