Interview - The Archers star on new Harrogate role

Isobel Middleton will star in Northern Broadsides Much Ado About Nothing at Harrogate Theatre next week. (Picture by Nobby Clark)
Isobel Middleton will star in Northern Broadsides Much Ado About Nothing at Harrogate Theatre next week. (Picture by Nobby Clark)

If anyone can add even greater entertainment value to Shakespeare’s romantic comedy Much Ado About Nothing, it’s acclaimed theatre company Northern Broadsides.

A love story. Comedy. Music. Singing and dancing and a plotline relocating the action to 1945 and returning RAF men from World War Two.
And all of it done with this Halifax-based theatre company’s usual lively and fun zing.

No wonder one of the new production’s stars can’t wait for the show to arrive at Harrogate Theatre next Tuesday, May 21

Ex-star of The Archers, Isobel Middleton, who plays the smart, sharp-tongued Beatrice, said: “It’s not just great literature, it’s a really good night out. We’ve done 73 performances on the tour so far and audiences have loved it.”

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Since it was first formed in 1992, the acclaimed Northern Broadsides has become famous for bringing wit and life to anything it touches and always with a northern slant.
It’s an approach which suits the experienced Middleton, whose CV boasts a wealth of top TV shows as well as stage, just fine.

The actress said: “I’ve never done a Midsomer Murders yet but I have done a lot of crime dramas. They’re the bread and butter of character actors.
“But I became an actor because I love theatre. Every night is different.
“You’re doing it live in front of a different audience and it affects the show.”

Playing the key character of Helen’s barrister Anna Tregorran in BBC Radio 4’s The Archers after she stabbed the odious Rob after a life of domestic abuse was a thrill for this versatile actor.
Isobel said: “It was an exciting storyline and we were dealing with an important issue that hadn’t been talked about much.
“It really grabbed the nation’s attention. It was a great time to be part of such a famous radio show.”

The talented actress’s previous stage credentials include The Servant of Two Masters at West Yorkshire Playhouse, Belle and The Great Pretenders at The Gate Theatre, London and the lead role of Jean in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at The New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme.

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Having starred in Casualty and Dr Who, Isobel said: “It can be feast or famine when it comes to getting work. You need mad optimism to keep going.
“If you’ve done something well once, you tend to be asked to do that sort or role again.
“But it’s hard to say no if a job comes along and it’s paying for your bathroom.”

Much Ado About Nothing runs at Harrogate Theatre from Tuesday, May 21 to Friday, May 25.

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