Q&A with Sally Messham

26 January 2018

Sally Messham is apppearing in the three Roundabout plays at the Orange Tree following a critically acclaimed tour including a run at the Edinburgh Fringe. The plays are Black Mountain by Brad Birch, Out Of Love by Elinor Cook and How To Be A Kid by Sarah McDonald-Hughes, which we've co-produced with Paines Plough and Theatr Clwyd.


What was the first show that had a big impact on you?
An English Touring Theatre production of The Caretaker by Harold Pinter at Darlington Arts Centre my first introduction to Pinter and also Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth because it was just epic and Mark Rylance is a master of his craft and brings a touch of magic to every role I've seen him play

If you hadn’t been an actor what would you have been?
Probably an English teacher 

Can you tell us a bit the characters you play in the 3 shows?
I play Helen in Black Mountain who seems really sinister and mysterious but she has a strong agenda and is determined to get what she feels she deserves. In Out of Love, I play Lorna - a complex character spanning 30 years who is trying to figure out who she is, what her sexuality means to her and what it is to be a partner, a friend and a woman. In How To Be A Kid I play a VARIETY of different fun characters including a nan, a McDonald's drive through worker and an angry cleaner!

Is there a line from one of the plays that you really like?
I really like the line "You've got to hold on to people" that Taylor says in How To Be A Kid. I think it really rings true; you can have fleeting relationships with people when you're younger but true friends will always leave a stamp on your heart and you must treasure the memories you have with them. 

What’s your favourite moment from being on tour?
Ooo it's got to be climbing up Easdale Tarn on a beautiful morning in Grasmere in the Lake District and then walking back down and doing a show for the community. I had to pinch myself when remembering that this was my job!

How do you keep three scrips and multiple characters in your head?
Not easily! Just keeping on top of things, not stressing too much and forgetting about one play when moving on to practicing another. 

What’s so great about acting in the round?
I think that the audience have a really intimate experience. There isn't a bad seat in the house and it gives you a more natural feeling presence in the space as an actor, it's a difficult - but I'd say a less presentational - kind of stage craft to master. 

What have you been reading or watching recently that you’d recommend?
I saw Beginning at the National Theatre not too long ago, I thought it was beautiful and a real state of the nation piece for our generation. I got a book for Christmas called 1001 Movies to See Before You Die so I'm working my way through that! (One highlight was Scorcese's Mean Streets).

Black Mountain, Out Of Love and How To Be A Kid are playing 25 January - 3 March

Click here to find out more about the Roundabout plays


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