Kate Atkinson

Feature | Kate Atkinson on Unravelling the Layers

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Ahead of Opening Night, Kate Atkinson tells us about her role as Annie in Joanna Murray-Smith’s new play Three Little Words.

What are you most looking forward to about playing Annie?

Kissing Katherine Tonkin, obviously! Seriously…in addition to enjoying Joanna’s wonderful writing and Sarah’s fantastic direction, all the other cast members were one of the biggest attractions to doing this project. It’s a great ensemble piece that has been a joy to rehearse and I know we’re going to have a ball playing together on stage. As for Annie…I’ve loved unravelling the layers of her character and her unique place in this story. I’m really looking forward to discovering how audiences respond to that.

What is at the heart of Three Little Words?

Love. Intimate relationships, romantic and platonic ones. How they define us. The beauty and ugliness of them. The social conventions and expectations that surround them. It’s a very funny and insightful play and I hope people will be able to laugh at these character as well as feel their confusions and pain. It’s also a brutally honest play in some respects so perhaps people may find questions about their own relationships and friendships to puzzle over.

Why do you think theatre is a powerful medium?

Don’t people do entire PhDs on that question?! I’m not sure I can give a particularly intelligent answer to this except to state the obvious that theatre is LIVE. And there is something very special about the spontaneity and energy of the space that performers and audience share in an unrepeatable moment. There’s so many different kinds of theatre with very different kinds of potency and I think there’s a place for all of them; a place to entertain, to challenge, to subvert, to experiment…the list is endless!

Three Little Words plays at Southbank Theatre from 22 April. Book now.

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