This week, we’re talking to April Pardoe, legend of the Northampton Community Theatre scene.
Tell us a bit about what you do in theatre
I’m an actor, I work primarily with Masque Theatre and Playhouse but also have been lucky enough to work with Pepper’s Ghost Theatre Company, White Cobra Productions, Illusion Productions and Spears Indi-Theatre
What first inspired you to get involved in theatre?
When I was a little girl, my parents had a huge three volume set of the Complete Works of Shakespeare, split into Tragedies, Histories and Comedies and I used to love sitting in the corner with one of these learning speeches, I loved escaping into another world and being someone else. As I got older and realised it was something you could actually DO I was hooked! My school largely did concerts rather than plays and then I joined the local Gilbert & Sullivan group – thanks to my grandfather’s influence so it was a long time before I did a proper play but I always loved it.
What shows have you worked on?
With Masque Theatre I have played Juno in The Tempest, The Countess of Rousillion in All’s Well That Ends Well, Mrs Gibbs in Our Town, Mistress Marshall in Playhouse Creatures, Betty in Defying Gravity and Mrs Banks in Barefoot in the Park – amongst others!
For The Playhouse I’ve played Mrs Lintott in History Boys, Myrtle Baggot in Brief Encounter and Phyllis in Seasons Greatings.
I also played Anna Maria in A Doll’s House for Peppers Ghost, Sylvia In Hi-De-Hi for White Cobra and Gloria in A Swan in the Attic for Spears Indi-Theatre.
Which productions have you most enjoyed being part of?
The more productions I do, the harder this question is to answer as I love something about all of them!! However my absolute favourites are History Boys, Antony and Cleopatra and Defying Gravity.
If you could play any role what would it be?
There are lots of wonderful roles I would love to play, I’ve wanted to play Isabella in Measure for Measure since I studied the play at A-Level. I would dearly love to play Anne Boleyn – in any of the amazing plays about her. I’d also love to play Rita in Educating Rita. Something I would really like to do is play an evil character – Nurse Ratched or Lady M…
Do you HAVE a memorable story about theatre you can share with us?
In December 2014 Masque did a production of Into The Woods, it was an unforgettable experience for many reasons but one particular night comes to mind, in the second half during one of The Baker’s (Fraser Haines’) songs the power to the band went out and he was left singing unaccompanied and he was incredible.
Another very special moment for me personally was during Antony and Cleopatra when I had been called upon to double up as Octavia (as well as my own part of Iras) due to Octavia being unwell and at the end of the performance Ed Toone pulled me forward and made me take a separate bow, I’ll never forget that.
What’s the best thing you’ve seen on stage?
Masque’s The Hypochondriac with John Myhill in the title role was utterly brilliant and Masque’s Madame Bovary was one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen
In 2019 I saw Headlong Theatre’s production of Richard III at the The Royal and it was magnificent. I was lucky enough to go to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year and saw 2 different productions by the same company – Ugly Bucket Theatre who use clowning and verbatim theatre produced 2 superb pieces of theatre that I would walk over hot coals to see again – 2 Clowns, 1 Cup and Bost-Uni Plues, they made me laugh and cry so much that after the show I waited behind to hug the cast!
What do you love about your local theatre community?
I love the variety of stuff we have here, we’re incredibly lucky to have such a vibrant community scene with all sorts of different things going on – whether it’s comedy, drama, music, art – you will find something to enjoy and get involved with. We’re also really lucky to have the Royal & Derngate who are able to offer a wide variety of production styles to suit all tastes.
What have you been doing theatrically during lockdown?
As an NHS worker, lockdown has been different for me in that I’m still working, and working longer hours so it’s been difficult for me to join in with some of the things going on, however I was Lady Montague in Masque’s rehearsed reading of Romeo & Juliet. I enjoyed the NT at home One Man Two Guv’nors and The Madness of King George III.
In these dark times for theatre, who would you like to encourage people to support with a donation if they’re able?
I’m supporting the NGH charity https://www.nhcfgreenheart.co.uk/ they’ve helped us a lot at NGH with ipads for patients who cant see their families, food for staff working long hours, scrubs, masks etc
Intermission Interviews are the work of Becki Cockcroft and Matthew Neuenhaus. Becki is Marketing & Press Assistant at Northampton’s Royal & Derngate theatres, and a freelance marketeer, designer and photographer, and Matt is Marketing Officer for Birmingham Hippodrome.