Actress Rebecca Birch is about to achieve the accolade of starring in productions of two all-time children’s classics during the first year of shows to be staged at Storyhouse in Chester.
Rebecca earned rave reviews for her performance as Alice in the summer production of Alice in Wonderland which was staged indoors at Storyhouse before transferring to the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre.
Now she has signed up for what promises to be a landmark production of Enid Blyton’s beloved young adventurers The Secret Seven which has never been staged for theatre before.
As with Alice, this new adaptation has been written by Glyn Maxwell who has an acclaimed record writing shows for the Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre.
Rebecca was one of the 26 actors to perform in Storyhouse’s rep company – the largest in the country outside of the RSC, National and Globe.
She said: “It was truly special and something I will never forget. Getting to see inside the venue as the final touches were taking place, knowing we will always be the inaugural company and being a part of Alex Clifton’s vision was just truly wonderful.
“As the ‘king’s footman’ in The Beggar’s Opera I was actually the first actor to step on stage in front of an audience. That is something I will hold dear for a very long time.
“I had always wanted to do rep, I’d heard stories from more experienced actors and friends who had done the few other rep seasons in the UK; it was more fun than I could have imagined!
“Rehearsals were mad, you might be upstairs doing a fight call for an hour, then downstairs blocking the Humpty Dumpty scene, then back upstairs to run a musical number.
“Once you’re open the fun continues. My favourite days were when we would have an Alice matinee in the park and a Beggar’s show at Storyhouse in the evening.”
Rebecca will finish up 2017 having lived in Chester for more than nine months. She said: “Chester is such a wonderful place to work and that is largely down to the audiences!
“Storyhouse has created a cultural centre for Chester and the true spirit of community is felt the moment you step off the train. When you pass the walls and when you step through the doors of Storyhouse. Both in the theatre and in the park, the Chester audiences were supportive and brave and a joy to perform to. Especially when playing Alice, the younger audience members were just so kind and imaginative and it was such a pleasure to meet them afterwards. I can’t wait to see them again at Christmas!’
Birch will play the character of Susie, Peter’s older and conniving sister, in The Secret Seven.
“I read lots of Enid Blyton as a child! All the Famous Five and Secret Seven books. My favourite was The Magic Faraway Tree and The Naughtiest Girl in School. The magic in the first and the scandal in the latter both had me reading late into the night with a torch under the duvet!”
The Secret Seven can be seen from December 1 until January 14. All children’s tickets are £19.50. To find out more and book, visit storyhouse.com.