Come into The Garden, Maud – Marie Cooper

Come into The Garden, Maud

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My time performing ‘Come into the Garden, Maud’ with The Great Hall Theatre Company has just zoomed by. It was such a lovely play and the people were just brilliant to work with.

The Cast for Come into the Garden, Maud

Rob Fradley – Wilde
Imogen Fletcher
Marie Cooper

Verner Conklin
Maud Caragnani
Anna-Mary Conklin

The Cast for A Song at Twiight

Rob Fradley-Wilde
Alexandra Evans
Jenny Belsey

Every evening I had to change into a rather elegant outfit for a dinner party. I would have not have been able to get back out on stage looking quite so fabulous, if not for the assistance in the dressing room by the wonderful Elvie, who was an absolute star, getting my hair to stay up in a French pleat every evening.

Cassie Tillet, one of the Artistic Director’s at the Sewell Barn Theatre in Norwich, was in the audience for one of the evenings and gave us a lovely review.


I was very pleased and surprised when a former acting classmate turned up after one of the shows. He brought not only congratulations to the cast and I, but also complimented me on my American accent. It was very much appreciated.

Firstly, because I had originally auditioned for the role of Maud, but had been offered Anna-Mary instead. I had never had to hold a lead role throughout a whole production before, let alone in another accent. So I was pleased to have been able to do the role and accent justice.

Secondly, my fellow acting classmate is American by birth so I couldn’t humbly be all British about it, and I had to accept the compliment, because he knows his stuff.

Another lovely piece of feedback from someone who popped their head backstage (but I don’t know who it was) was that he had actually felt sorry for Anna-Mary at first. Which made me very happy. I wanted her to feel authentic, and that she was the way that she was for complex reasons and the culmination of her past. I did not want her to just be a caricature of a “bitch”.

There were lots of clues in the script in what she, and other characters said, that gave clues to how she may have evolved to be the person she was. I wanted people to not just see her and think, what a cow! I hoped that people spotted some of the clues and the way her seemingly, ever-suffering millionaire husband spoke/acted that gave it away.

Breaking the Fourth Wall

On one evening performance, I broke the fourth wall entirely. My on-stage husband, played by Rob Fradley-Wilde, was getting quite mischievous with our arguing and we both knew where the laughs were coming…and they did. Which was great, except that Rob really went for it and I ended up laughing at him too and breaking character, which then made the audience laugh even more.

It really was an enjoyable few days on stage and it’s a shame that the run was so short. But in an attempt to make up for the run that went too fast, we stayed in the pub for the afterparty until the bar staff told us we had to go home.

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