We chatted to the actress about starring in Arthur/Merlin as part of the Iris Theatre’s Summer festival.

Hi Kate – what can audiences expect from Arthur/Merlin? The show is a fun family friendly adventure through the gardens of St Paul’s Actors Church, Iris Theatre’s home. There’s original music, sword fighting, spoken word and an epic quest! I think the show is so heart lifting; after the year we’ve had I feel like everyone needs a bit of that. Rueben Johnson’s script manages to mix drama and comedy so well, it’s exciting to see it take shape! You’ll get to see the gardens used in really creative ways, it’s mad to think you’re in the centre of London. I think it’s a
perfect, inviting way to get back to theatre!

What made you want to be part of this production? I’ve wanted to work with Iris for many years since I saw my first Iris production when I was about 14. The way they use the space in the gardens is so creative and it being
outside, creates a different kind of atmosphere as it gets darker; the whole audience gets in on using their imagination! Also, Paul-Ryan Carberry and Charlotte Lund’s support of emerging artists and companies makes for a really exciting collaborative company to work with. Also, for me, this show creates a brilliant mix of traditional folk with the more modern spoken word. I’m a lover of both, especially in theatre; I was so excited to
see how they were going to merge – and I haven’t been let down!

How does it feel to be playing the iconic character Merlin? I loved this version of Merlin when I first read the script. She’s different to any version I’ve seen mainly in that she’s female, but also, she feels more recognisable to
me: I know people with her qualities, and they are some of my favourite people! That has made her more fun to play and I hope people enjoy this Merlin as they have the more traditional character. My favourite parts have been exploring her magic with the spoken word elements and playing with her relationship with Arthur
(played by the fab Michael Elcock!).

What are you most looking forward to about performing Arthur/Merlin for audiences? Being back in front of a live audience is going to be brilliant. I won’t say too much, but there’s parts of the show that will really lift with an audience and I can’t wait to see their reactions. I think the moments of spoken-word-magic in the play are going
to be something special too especially with us being outside. I just really want people to enjoy themselves and get that theatre buzz back!

How are preparations for the show going? Rehearsals have been so much fun! The cast and creative team are some of the most generous, inventive, exciting people I’ve gotten to work with which has made me feel so confident that we’re making something special! We’ve got the whole play on its feet now and seeing all the elements like sound, costume and set being added in day by day is very exciting. This week, we’ll be getting into the garden which I’ve really been looking forward to!

How does it feel to be performing again? Amazing! I always love the rehearsal process, so just getting back into the rehearsal room with people again has been great. It’s been such a tough year for creative industries, and I think it’s made me appreciate performing and watching theatre even more. For me, it’s made it all the more important that the audience have a good time as they come back to theatres too!

By Emma Clarendon

Arthur/Merlin will be performing from the 4th to the 22nd August.