Harry Kidby talks to the York star of a First World War drama on her return to the Theatre Royal
Lauryn Redding’s relationship with York Theatre Royal is long standing and full of affection. Whilst studying drama at York College, and in the holidays when she was back from university in London, she worked behind the theatre’s bar.
To be back there, and this time on the stage, is a dream come true.
Lauryn plays Susie Hughes in the Northern Broadsides play An August Bank Holiday Lark. Written by former Coronation Street actress Deborah McAndrew and directed by Barrie Rutter, the drama is set in a rural Lancashire community on the brink of the First World War.
Naive to the horrors that lie ahead, the play starts with preparations for Wakes week, a holiday celebration with time to sing, dance and be merry.
Soon however even this remote village cannot escape the tragedy of war.
Lauryn explains that, although few of us have a direct connection to the war, “Deborah captures the essence of every character” making them and their pain relatable, as mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, wives, daughters, lovers and friends.
Her character, Susie, is a 17 year old who experiences love and loss in a way that no young woman should. “Deborah has made it easy to empathise with this close knit community,” Lauryn says.
While An August Bank Holiday Lark is set around a time of great sadness, the play also has moments of fun and laughter, typical of a Northern Broadsides production.
All the cast and crew are from the north and Lauryn Redding could not be prouder to be involved.
Since she was a little girl growing up in York she has been inspired by Northern Broadsides, and says working with them has been an achievement ticked off from her bucket list.
Actor and director Barrie Rutter is, in Lauryn’s words, “a bit of a legend”.
When she was working at York Theatre Royal she saw Barrie perform a number of times and always admired his work. So when the opportunity came to act under his directorship she jumped at it.
Since becoming an actress, Lauryn has performed in productions across the country.
Recently she played Queenie in Horrible Histories: Balmy Britain, a comic romp through time from the Romans and Vikings through the Victorians to Sir Douglas Haig and the ever-present First World War.
But even though she is often out of the city nowhere is like home. Whenever she can Lauryn returns to York to see her close group of friends and her family.
“There is nothing more warming then to see the Minster lit up and to walk between the ancient walls and buildings of the city,” she says. “I love York”.
With our interview coming to a close there was just one more important question to ask. Is Lauryn a pork-pie or a sausage roll kind of girl?
Unhesitating she replied pork pie. And on that note we said our goodbyes.
- An August Bank Holiday Lark is at York Theatre Royal from Tuesday, April 1 to Saturday, April 5
- Full details on the theatre website
- More theatre stories here