20 Questions: Curious Incident's Sarah Woodward

The Olivier Award-winning actress is currently playing Siobhan in ”The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time”

Sarah Woodward with Graham Butler
Sarah Woodward with Graham Butler
© Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

1. Where and when were you born?
London, 1963.

2. What made you want to become an actor?
My Dad, my brothers and my Mum.

3. If you hadn’t become an actor, what might you have done professionally?
Something managerial!

4. First big break?
Not sure I've had one, but I consider my first job as a big break. 2 years at the RSC at the age of 20.

5. Career highlights to date?
So many, and all theatre: The Tempest (Royal Shakespeare Company), The Real Thing (Donmar Warehouse/Albery/Broadway), Tom & Clem (Aldwych Theatre), Present Laughter (National Theatre), The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare's Globe), Love & Information (Royal Court).

6. Any regrets?
Yes. Not being better prepared for a couple of important meetings, in my youth.

7. What was the first thing you saw on stage that had a big impact on you?
Seeing my Dad in A Tale of Two Cities at the Cambridge Theatre. It had a huge impact on me, but for the wrong reasons! I was only a kid. In the last scene my Dad was lead up to the guillotine. You can guess what happened. I was inconsolable. I didn't see the curtain call for tears, so I didn't calm down until I saw him in the dressing room afterwards. I've never forgotten it.

8. And the last?
Mr Burns at the Almeida. Loved it.

9. Who are your acting idols?
So many, but today it's Penelope Wilton.

10. What's the best advice you've ever been given?
"Don't F*** Up" (Kate Duchene)

11. Why did you want to get involved in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time?
The fascination of the discipline needed to do a year in a play (I've never done it before). Also, I remember where I was when I read The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, 11 years ago. It had a huge impact on me.

12. How have you prepared for the role of Siobhan?
Same as always: Rehearse, Immerse, Rehearse, Immerse.

13. Favourite moment in the show?
The opening scene of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time… those first few moments. Especially if we have a rowdy school in – the scene shuts them up!

14. Any rehearsal room mishaps?
No, but I missed out a whole scene in an early preview! That was hairy for everyone….

15. What do you hope people take away from the show?
A little more understanding for those people who are slightly out of the ordinary.

16. What's your favourite post-show hang out?
The White Horse

17. How do you unwind?
Cuppa, shortbread, husband.

18. If you could swap places with anyone for a day, who would it be?
George Clooney

19. Favourite theatre joke/anecdote?
I wasn't there, so it's very much paraphrased!
But it sums up a lot of my feelings about acting:
Michael Bryant when asked about his research for the part of Badger in Toad of Toad Hall at the National Theatre:
"The fascinating fact about badgers, is that they are uncannily like Michael Bryant".

20. What's next for you?
Well, I'm doing Curious for another 8 months. After that? No idea!