Sussex tour for Treasure Island/The Tempest double offering
Eleanor Toms is delighted to be renewing her association with Upper Beeding-based theatre company This Is My Theatre for their summer tours.
She will be on the road with them as they tour Treasure Island and The Tempest to a number of Sussex venues over May and June.
The Tempest will play The Hawth Theatre (open-air) Crawley, June 16, 7pm; Danny House (open-air), Hurstpierpoint, June 22, 7pm; and Preston Old Church, Brighton, June 29, 7.30pm.
Treasure Island will play Preston Old Church, Brighton May 25, 7.30pm; The Hawth Theatre (open-air), Crawley May 30, 3pm; and The Paddock (open-air), Upper Beeding, June 3, 4pm.
“I have worked with them a few times,” Eleanor said. “I think the first time was 2018. I have done Macbeth with them twice and it was great. And then last year we did A Christmas Carol. I was Belle and Mrs Cratchit and Mrs Fezziwig.
“We were really lucky. There were two parts to it. We had our tour version and I think we lost only a couple of performances in Essex, and then we got into The Hawth for Christmas and we did three shows and then we had to close it down because the new rules were coming in.
“We knew it was coming. There were mixed emotions really. We were sad but we were also just really, really grateful that we had managed to do anything at all that year and that the tour had gone well. So really it was bitter-sweet. But I think we were most sad for the children. We got them involved and there were four casts. Three of them got to perform and the fourth never did – which was really sad.”
Then came the lockdown: “I think that was the worst one. The weather didn’t help. It was so much colder when you were doing your one walk a day! But knowing that these shows were coming up certainly helped. And I just managed to keep afloat. I am very lucky where I live. We live near Hampstead Heath, about ten minutes’ walk away, and it is great. It is big! There are so many walks you can do.”
But now it is back to the real business, on the road with two shows which really do go well together: “I think they are really good choices to do in rep. They complement each other very well. They are both really good stories which is why they are done again and again and again, but as we are coming out of this final lockdown, it is really good to have a bit of escapism.
“These are fun choices. There is something for everyone. It is the first time I have done two in rep so I am really excited about that.”
As for the challenge of switching quickly from one play to the other: “Well, I will have to tell you about that later!
“But it is just great that things are looking so much more hopeful. It has been a really tough year. I am predominantly a stage actress, but I am lucky that quite a lot of the work that I do on the side has managed to keep going. I do a lot of music classes for children, and that has continued.
“And I also do a lot of medical role playing (for medical students). I love doing it. Most of my family work for the NHS. It gives me something to talk about!”
She is given scenarios which she has to act out, sometimes playing the awkward patient, sometimes ramping it up a bit: “We were able to continue doing it in lockdown, just doing it online. I did some of the final exams for years five and six at Hammersmith. Sometimes it is so hard because you want to help the students and you can’t when sometimes you know that they have not asked you about something really key, some particular ache or pain that they really should have asked you about. But you just can’t tell them to!
“But I love doing it. I have been so happy to get involved with it.”