My Theatre Firsts: Hobson's Choice's Jodie McNee

We launch our new feature by chatting to one of the stars of this year’s Open Air Theatre season

© Johan Persson

Jodie McNee has received rave reviews for her performance as Maggie in Hobson's Choice at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, including Michael Coveney's ★★★★ review in which he described her as "a blazing furnace of tactical determination".

We had a chat with Jodie to find out all of her theatre firsts.

1. What was the first show you went to?

The first play I saw was Bertolt Brecht's Threepenny Opera at The Liverpool Everyman. We studied it at school and I was really excited by the characters, I wanted to be Macheath. I got to play Mrs Peachum in my third year at Drama Centre.

2. When did you first decide to become an actor?

I was performing from the age of 8, I did impressions around the pubs and clubs of Liverpool up until I went to drama school. I don't remember making a decision about it, it just happened.

3. Who was the first actor you were inspired by?

Julie Walters was a huge influence growing up.

4. What was your first professional role?

My first professional role was Antigone in The Burial At Thebes, by Seamus Heaney in 2005.

5. How did you react to your first review?

I don't remember reading the reviews for that show, but I know my mum was very happy with them. My dad put one up in his local pub, so they must have been good!

6. What was the first piece of advice you were given in your acting career?

The first piece of advice I got was to work hard. To leave no stone unturned when it comes to creating a character. When you feel like you want to give up, that's when you carry on.

7. Which is the first word that comes to your head when I say theatre?

Imagination! That's the first word that comes into my head when you say theatre.

8. If you were directing Hobson’s Choice, who is the first person you would think of to cast in your role?

I would cast Julie Walters when she was younger because she would bring out Maggie's funny, playful side!

9. What is the first thing you will do when your run in Hobson’s Choice comes to an end?

I'll probably hang out with my mates who I don't get to see as often whilst I'm working.

10. If you could choose any role that you would like to take on next, what is the first that comes to mind?

I'm playing Rosencrantz at the Manchester Royal Exchange to Maxine Peake's Hamlet. After that I want to do some new writing!

Check out this video to find out what the audience think of Hobson's Choice: