Stage set for Emily’s return

Emily Oldroyd, who grew up in St Annes and is among the team bringing new Shakespeare productions to Lowther Pavilion as part of a national tour
Emily Oldroyd, who grew up in St Annes and is among the team bringing new Shakespeare productions to Lowther Pavilion as part of a national tour

An actor and producer who grew up in Fylde is relishing a return to home territory to stage an exciting new take on Shakespeare.

Emily Oldroyd is among the team from the London-based Merely Theatre company who will bring The Bard’s classics Twelfth Night and Romeo and Juliet to Lowther Pavilion later this year.

The 25-year-old former Arnold School student, who performs under her stage name Emmy Rose, has been based in the capital since starting a three-year course at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in 2009.

Graduating with a BA Honours degree in Performance/Acting three years later, her roles included a notable guest appearance on TV’s Casualty, before in 2014 she joined Merely, whose original name was Merely Players, taken from the line from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players.”

Emily, also associate producer at Merely, said: “It’s a young company who believe in striving for 50/50 casting for male and female actors, although that is difficult to achieve when only 16 per cent of the 981 characters Shakespeare wrote were female.

“Merely tour with a genderblind company of 10 actors - five female and five male - and the productions have been stripped down to be performed by just five actors, each playing multiple roles within the show.

EXCITING

“It is such an exciting way of working for an actor – I get to be loving, feminine and playful as Juliet and then within a moment be back on stage in a knife fight as the tempestuous, aggressive Tybalt. As a small, young-looking female it is so refreshing to be able to play a broad range of parts I would not ordinarily be cast for.”

As a youngster, Emily, who parents Glenn and Karen live in St Annes, attended the St Annes-based Wyn Hodge School of Dance with her elder sister, Harriet.

She recalls: “We performed in many dance shows at Lowther Pavilion so it will be very exciting to be on the Lowther stage again.

“At Arnold, I performed in multiple school productions under the guidance and direction of Colin Snell. His semi-professional theatre company In Yer Space took productions to Blackpool’s Grand Theatre and a number of theatre festivals including the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which I went to numerous times and absolutely loved the atmosphere. Whether it was handing out flyers, taking on the stage management role, doing the hair and make-up or being on the stage itself – I didn’t mind. I just needed to be a part of it.”

Merely Theatre will be at Lowther on Monday, May 22 and Tuesday, May 23, performing Twelfth Night on the Monday at 2.30pm and the Tuesday at 7.30pm, and Romeo and Juliet at 7.30pm on the Monday and 2.30pm on the Tuesday. Ticket details from (01253) 794221.