Behind the Scenes with Veronica Roberts

Behind the Scenes with Veronica Roberts 
Our latest production of Alan Bennett’s ‘The Habit of Art’ is a play within a play. We watch a cast, writer and stage management team rehearsing a production of, ‘Caliban’s Day’, a new play exploring W.H Auden and Benjamin Britten. We wanted to give you a sneak peek at our own brilliant cast as they prepare for a night at York Theatre Royal (photos by Sam Taylor) and a few facts about how they prepare for the show…
We spoke to Veronica Roberts who plays the Company Stage Manager, Kay.
Do you have any backstage rituals or superstitions?
Not really. Or maybe I do. I do always go through the script out loud before every performance. Also I’d never quote from or mention The Scottish Play (Shakespeare’s), or whistle backstage. That goes back to pre electric days when scenery was flown in and out on a whistle signal. So a random whistle could bring a piece of scenery crashing down on someone’s head. 


How do you warm up before a show?

I do something physical and something vocal to stretch and warm up body and voice. And it’s good to touch base with everyone involved before you meet them onstage. 


Do you have any funny stories or anecdotes from behind the scenes of The Habit of Art?

We’re all on stage most of the time so not much of a backstage life. We had a lights failure in Oxford this week and we onstage weren’t sure if they knew off stage. Frantic moment of wondering whether to stop the show or what. Luckily the system kicked in just in time. Bit of an Adrenalin roller coaster for a few minutes there 


How do you make yourself feel at home in a theatre for the week?

I always travel with a camping mat and pillow for pre or between show snoozes. 


What is your favourite theatre to work in or are you most excited to visit?

Every theatre is different and special for different reasons, and as you get older each one is attached with different memories of past shows and the fellow actors you shared that time with. I saw my first professional play, as a 14 year old, at Liverpool Playhouse, and have played there a couple of times, plus I was a member of the Liverpool Youth Theatre, and worked in the city when I was 18, so It holds a special place in my heart. But revisiting all the venues brings back memories and great fondness. 


Catch us on tour this Autumn – find out more.