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Amy Nuttall On...The Hired Man

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Since leaving Emmerdale in 2005, Bolton born actress Amy Nuttall has done it all; released an album, toured in the lead role of Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, starred in Cabaret and Boeing Boeing - both on the West End stage, as well as featuring in the Guys and Dolls touring cast. Prior to her stint in the Yorkshire set ITV1 soap, she was the youngest Christine in The Phantom Of The Opera, taking on the role at sixteen. She returns to her home town this week in The Hired Man which is running at the Bolton Octagon. We caught up with her during rehearsals.

How does it feel coming back to Bolton to perform?
Great! It's just lovely to spend more time with all my family as i don't see as much of  them as i'd like, living in London. I am also well aware that the Octagon is a great place to work and has an excellent reputation. It consistently produces great plays with some very talented actors.

How were Boeing Boeing and Cabaret - both very different but great experiences in the West End?
Yes. Boeing Boeing was my first professional straight play and straight theatre is particularly hard to break in to if you're known as a singer or having done a number of musicals. Being a farce, it was so much fun to do, yet very technical as the timing in farce is crucial. I came off stage every night buzzing, on such a high. The audience's hysteria was so infectious. I played Sally Bowles in Cabaret immediately after Boeing Boeing. It's a gem of a role for any actress and I was lucky enough to play her for nine months.

You headlined the tour of My Fair Lady, including a long run in Manchester. How do you keep your voice in tip-top condition on such a lengthy tour?
It's surprising how quickly your voice and stamina quickly get used to the demands of performing night after night, month after month. I have to look after myself though. I tend to give up drinking completely. Playing a lead role, and a demanding lead role at that, you have to be very strict with yourself and in some ways selfish. Lots of water and sleep is the best and only medicine!

What attracted you to The Hired Man?
It's a beautiful written piece with really complex yet catchy and engaging songs. It's a demanding role in a wonderful musical that isn't very well known. It certainly deserves to be better known! The novel was written by Melvyn Bragg and the music and lyrics by Howard Goodall. It's a powerful, life affirming musical with a very truthful, engaging story that people can relate to today.

Tell us a bit about your character?
I play Emily Tallentire. She's a strong and passionate character with a huge zest for life. As the play spans over twenty years during the early 1900's and the first world war, we see her character gradually decline as life's hardships and the emotional upheavals take their toll.

What do you like about the Octagon as a venue?
It is a fabulous theatre to work in, it's very adaptable and has a great director of course.
Have you got a favourite line in The Hired Man?
"Love that nothing could have cured and never dies" is one of many. This line is sung and sums up very well the mood of the piece.

Could you sum up why audiences should see The Hired Man in 10 words?
A brilliant, life affirming, emotional roller coaster of a musical.

What are you plans following the play?
David Thacker recently offered me the role of Stella in A Streetcar Named Desire, so I'm pleased to say I'll be around a little longer in Bolton than i anticipated. The play opens their next season in September. I'm so excited to be working on what's recognised as one of the greatest plays of all time, and with David behind me at the wheel! He has such passion and clearly cares deeply about everything he does. It's good to know you're in safe hands.

Since this interview, Amy has also been cast in the tour of Spamalot, following her run in Streetcar.

Amy Nuttall was speaking to Glenn Meads.

The Hired Man is at the Octagon from 10 June - 3 July.



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