Multi-award winning actress Janie Dee is back on the London stage this summer, starring as the Countess of Roussillon in a new production of All’s Well That Ends Well at Shakespeare’s Globe in London (until 21 August 2011). Here she tells West End Theatre.com about her own experiences of theatrical London.
Of the 50-odd theatres that make up the West End, which of them hold the strongest memories for you?
The Novello where Betty Blue Eyes is playing now (wonderful!). It was the site of my first West End job as a swing in Cabaret and helped me so much in my early career. Then as Claudine in Can-Can with Donna McKechnie and Milo O’Shea, and more recently the extended run of Shadowlands where I played Joy Gresham opposite the exquisite Charles Dance. I know all the staff there as I do at many of the West End theatres I have worked in.
What was the last show you enjoyed in London as an audience member?
Betty Blue Eyes and Lucy Bailey’s Macbeth at the Globe last year.
What’s your favourite non-theatre thing to do in the West End and your favourite place to eat after the show?
I love taking dance classes and reflexology classes with Michael Keet in Covent Garden. Favourite restaurants are Jo Allen’s, the Oxo Tower and the Poets Corner.
Which do you love best? The first day of rehearsals, the first night of the show or the last night?
All of it but the first night of the show is usually very, very special.
What advice would you give a tourist coming to the West End in terms of what to see?
Depends on their taste but I would be confident about anything in the West End as the standard is so high.
If you were the Culture Secretary for the day what would you do?
Well, looking at Jeremy Hunt’s website he seems to have a lot more on his plate than just being Culture Secretary. We are very lucky in London and many cities in this country but it is often only visitors who partake. So I would like to introduce him to some of my friends and offer him some help in putting everyone in the country in touch with what is on offer to them in Theatres, Museums, Concerts Halls, Art Galleries and Gardens. And, of course, put funding back into Theatre, which is the greatest of all in my opinion!
Who is your theatre hero?
Oh there are so many! Michael Sheen because he is brilliant and gorgeous! Dominic Dromgoole who runs the Globe with ease and great heart. Cameron Mackintosh, who puts so much love and energy into every show and every theatre he owns. And Susan Whiddington, who runs the Mousetrap Theatre Projects charity which gives underprivileged children the opportunity to go to the Theatre for £5.
Are you excited about performing at Shakespeare’s Globe this summer?
Oh I am so excited! After seeing Macbeth there last year I couldn’t wait! It is an extraordinary space with a direct link to heaven with that open roof. All’s Well That Ends Well is a gorgeous play and I can’t wait to be putting it in front of the Globe audience for the first time.