Peter Gill, playwright and theatre director
Anne Reid
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The York Realist

Manchester Evening News interview with Anne Reid

This Thursday The Lowry hosts the World Premiere of The York Realist, a new play by Peter Gill, opening there prior to a run at the Royal Court in London.

The cast includes Ian Mercer (who plays Gary Mallet in Coronation Street), Richard Coyle (Jeff from Coupling), Lloyd Owen (James from Hearts And Bones) and a local success-story Anne Reid, from Cheshire, who’ll be familiar to many as Jean from Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies.

Anne has enjoyed a long career on stage, TV and the big screen, including the current TV hit Linda Green, along with Dinnerladies and Hearts And Bones. She’s also been seen in A Taste Of Honey and Billy Liar at the Bolton Octagon, as well as in the films Liam (directed by Stephen Frears) and with John Hurt in the excellent Love And Death On Long Island.

Despite all that experience, though, she tells me that this is only the second time in her career she’s ever been involved in the World Premiere of a new play, the other occasion being Kay Mellor’s A Passionate Woman at the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

‘‘It’s fun but nerve-wracking, because you’ve really got no idea how it’s going,’’ she imparts. ‘‘Mind you, we have had the writer with us and he hasn’t been shouting too much, so I guess it’s been okay so far.’’

Set in 1963, the play is centred on a middle-class Londoner, called John, who has come to York to work as Assistant Director on an amateur staging of The Mystery Plays. There he meets and falls in love with the working class George, who is acting in the production, but has to choose between him and pursuing his career in London.

‘‘For me, it’s all about my relationship with my son and the other relationships in the play, but there are some very real, coincidental resonances with my own life in the setting,’’ says Anne. ‘‘I think it’s a lovely piece, but I don’t think I’ve always been the best judge of what roles will be good for me. The only exception, of course, is Victoria Wood, who I know has occasionally written parts with me in mind. Obviously, that’s an opportunity you’d have to be mad to pass up.’’

Unlike many actresses, Anne professes herself quite happy to wander back and forth between stage and screen.

‘‘I actually think it’s quite important to do all of them,’’ she maintains. ‘‘Of course, they’re all very different disciplines but I find I’m always discovering a huge amount, whichever one I’m doing. I also love not knowing where I’m going to be in a couple of months time.’’


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Last modified: 2012-03-15