Juliet’s bravo to homecoming role

Daisy Whalley with Paapa Essiedu as Romeo
Daisy Whalley with Paapa Essiedu as Romeo

A young Lancashire actress, whose interest in theatre was sparked at The Dukes in Lancaster, returns to the venue this May as Juliet in Shakespeare’s most famous romantic play.

Daisy Whalley with Paapa Essiedu as Romeo, was last seen on The Dukes stage in 2012 when she appeared in The Unsociables and now she’s on tour in her second professional role at just 21.

The director wanted to really emphasise the youthful nature of the play and what it’s like to be a teenager when you’re experiencing so much for the first time

Daisy is delighted that the tour will see her returning to her hometown and The Dukes.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” she said.

“Some of my happiest memories have been at The Dukes. It was really joyous and it’s great to be able to come back so early in my professional career.”

Daisy was first taken to a show at The Dukes when she was three, just the day after the family had moved to Lancaster.

She then saw all the Christmas and park shows before joining The Dukes youth theatre in 2006.

While at The Dukes, Daisy appeared in several youth productions and had her first taste of the London stage when she was in a group which performed at The National Theatre as part of the NT Connections programme.

In 2013, she returned to London for a National Youth Theatre course, which culminated in a ten-week run of plays in the West End and led to her getting an agent and her first professional job last year.

For her role as Juliet, Daisy has had to think back to her teenage years growing up in Lancaster.

“The director wanted to really emphasise the youthful nature of the play and what it’s like to be a teenager when you’re experiencing so much for the first time,” said Daisy, who attended Dallas Road Primary School in the city.

It was while a teenager at Lancaster Girls Grammar School that she first appeared in a production of Romeo and Juliet, as Lady Capulet.

By contrast, this latest version of Romeo and Juliet, by the acclaimed Shakespeare At The Tobacco Factory & Tobacco Factory Theatres, is set in the Sixties and explores the changing attitudes of the generation who had lived through the Second World War and their children growing up in a more affluent society.

The play will be performed in The Round with a roundabout in the centre, symbolising the playfulness of the star-crossed lovers and the fast-paced nature of the production.

Romeo and Juliet will be performed at 7.30pm from May 19 to 23, with additional matinees on May 20 and 23, plus a morning performance on May 22.

There will be a post-show talkback free to ticketholders on May 19.

Tickets are priced £8 to £18.50. Concessions receive a further £2 off.

All balcony standing tickets are £5 each(a £1 per transaction fee applies when booking online).

For more information and to book, ring The Dukes box office on 01524 598500 or visit www.dukes-lancaster.org.