Murder in Neighbourhood Watch by Stewart Burke

Reading Time: < 1 minute

In Stewart Burke’s ‘Murder in Neighbour Watch’ at Great Hall Theatre at the Assembly House in Norwich, I played Ann Wingate. Oct – Nov 2019

Ann gave up her career as a travel courier to become the dutiful headmaster’s wife to her husband, Andrew. Ann felt stifled to have settled in the village of West Lynstead, near Worthing, with it’s coffee mornings full of gossips and people in and out of each others’ houses.

She returns from three months away on holiday in New Zealand visiting her parents, to find that village life has been turned upside down by a murder in local woodland.

Feedback following the performances were positive. There were some funny moments at the start of the play and the cast worked incredibly well to bring the characters to life.

Audiences seemed to enjoy it, discussing who they thought had committed the murder during the interval. I did not enjoy the play, in and of itself, but I did like pushing myself out of my comfort zone in terms of line-learning once again and the challenge of the emotions that Ann is put through when she returns home.

Someone Waiting by Emlyn Williams

Marie Cooper Actor performing drunk as Hilda
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Great Hall Theatre, The Assembly House

22 January – 26 January 2019

Someone Waiting gave me the opportunity to perform a small, challenging but fun role. Hilda, the maid with an interesting past.

I managed to tick quite a few things off of my acting bucket list during this production. One of which included slapping one of my fellow actors.  It turned out to be surprisingly effective.  The audience oooooh’d and gasped when Hilda struck Mr Nedlow across the face. I was very pleased with this as we had practised it a number of times.  Hilda’s slap managed to shock the audience, despite my not making any contact with Mr Nedlow’s face at all.

I also had to perform drunk. What I mean is, I acted drunk whilst on stage, I didn’t actually get drunk to perform. I got some nice comments from fellow actors saying that Hilda was nicely drunk and that it wasn’t overly done, which I am very pleased about. Acting drunk is a tricky thing to do convincingly, whilst still trying to enunciate so that the audience can hear.

An in-depth review of the play was written by Rob Fradley-Wilde and published on Facebook and in the Great Hall Theatre Company newsletter.

“the maid Hilda was able to go to her death with style, in Marie Cooper’s vivacious and feisty example of the mid-twentieth-century servant class. “

Andrew Cliffe of Norwich Photo photographed the following images during the dress rehearsal of Someone Waiting.

Norwich Photo


Hilda                                      Marie Cooper
Mrs Danecourt                Glenda Gardiner
John Nedlow                     Chris Higgins
Vera Nedlow                     Samantha Elmhurst
Martin                                  Steven Logsdon
Walter Fenn                       Kevin Ford
Miss Lennie                       Rachel Miller

The photos below were taken by members of the cast

Handbagged by Moira Buffini

Norwich Actor Marie Cooper portraying Margaret Thatcher
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich

11 October – 20 October 2018

The fantastic photographs for Handbagged were taken during the dress rehearsal by Sean Owen of Reflective Arts

The bad thing (and good thing – I hate seeing and/or hearing myself) about theatre is  that you never get to see the play. Especially for Handbagged, as we were on the stage for almost the entire duration of the play…and yes, this was a worry if nature called. This means that I am always immensely excited when the pre-show photographs are released.

This was my absolute favourite role so far by miles, one of my proudest achievements and most challenging, as it was the first time I’d attempted to portray someone who actually existed. It was also the most lines I had had to learn at that time as well as the most time I had needed to be on stage for, Mrs Thatcher and the Queens are on the stage for all but a few minutes of the play.

The pressure was on as I didn’t have much time to prepare. The person who was originally cast dropped out just before rehearsals began, so I didn’t have anywhere near as much time to prepare as I would have done had I got the role just after auditions. It was a race against time to research and learn lines, whilst simultaneously rehearsing. Thankfully I had, that very morning, completed and handed in the last course work of my MA so I knew I would have the time to invest into the role.

Mrs Thatcher was most definitely not someone I shared the politics of. Yet it was a little disturbing (and helpful) during my research, to find that the ‘Milk Snatcher’ and I did, surprisingly, have some things in common, other than being female.  We both studied for a degree in Chemistry and contained the resilience and perservance to stand up and fight for what we want and believe in, to not let anyone stand in our way of what we aim to acheive.

Directed by Clare Williamson


Alexandra Evans – Mrs T
Marie Cooper – Mags
Mandy Kiley – Liz
Gill Tichbourne – Q

Kevin Olreich
Denis Thatcher, Peter Carrington, Gerry Adams, Ronald Reagan,
Michael Heseltine, Arthur Scargill, Rupert Murdoch, Geoffrey Howe
and Prince Phillip.

Will Harragan
Palace Footman, Kenneth Kaunda, Nancy Reagan, Enoch Powell,
Michael Shea, Neil Kinnock, Kenneth Clarke, and a Protester.


Spirit of the Place with the Jenny Lind Arts Project

Marie Cooper Actor performing as the Spirit of the Place in Norwich

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Slow Theatre Company, Norwich

8 – 9 June 2018

From Workshop to Playwriting

It all escalated quite fast. One evening I turned up for a free scriptwriting workshop being run by the Jenny Lind Arts Project and Danny O’Hara with the Slow Theatre Company. I thought it would be a great help to learn some new creative writing techniques and generate some ideas to kickstart my creative coursework.

It turned out that writers could submit a piece of their work to be part of the project’s performance in June 2018.  The next thing I knew, not only was my “Abandoned Places” script, with Megan and Josh, included as part of the theatrical promenade piece, but I was acting in it too, as the Spirit of the Place.

It was an immensely ambitious and unique piece of community theatre, a promenade piece composed entirely of local writer’s work which was then beautifully  sewn together with the words of playwright Danusia Iwaszko, who created the Spirit of the Place as a guide, leading the audience around the stage, following the walkways, green areas and stairwells that make up the community space. There were many people working incredibly hard to bring the show together, both performing and behind the scenes, . It would not have been the same if even just one person had not been there.

I grew up, an artistic child, in an area of Norwich that was in the top 10% of the most deprived areas of the country.  For poor families, this meant that opportunities to get involved in the arts were next to zero outside of the school curriculum. So, the opening up of provision of the arts for everyone, no matter what their background or income, is something very close to my heart. The work that the Jenny Lind Project does, bringing the arts into local communities is invaluable.

And I Saw my World From my Home

The short film, ‘And I saw my world from my Home’, is a collaboration between the Jenny Lind Arts Project, BBC Voices and the Suffolk Square community. The footage is composed of clips that we filmed around the area. The poetry and readings are by the local community. The poem I am reading between 2:09  and 2:58 is by writer and poet, Salah El Nagar. Other contributors to the movie include: Cate Oliver and myself.

It was a privilege to be part of the project.  I have some wonderful new people in my life. People who I might never have even met if I’d not gone along to a little community script writing workshop a few months ago. My life has been enriched for taking part. I hope the community feels the positive effects of the project long into the future.

Wall of Feedback for Spirit of the Place


Come into the Garden, Maud by Noel Coward

Photo of Marie Cooper Actor as Anna Mary becoming increasing irritated at Verner interrupting - Photo onstage during Come into the Garden Maud onstage during Come into the Garden Maud
Reading Time: 3 minutes

Norwich Theatre: Great Hall Theatre Company, The Assembly House, Norwich

30 January – 3 February 2018

I played Anna-Mary Conklin, in ‘Come into the Garden, Maud’. One of two short plays by Noel Coward, performed together, by The Great Hall Theatre Company.

First time in The Round

Come into the Garden, Maud was performed ‘in the round’, with an audience on all four sides. I hadn’t performed in that configuration before. It was a challenging but fun, exploring the space and being open to the audience on all four sides.

I didn’t originally audition for the role of Anna-Mary. I was a little surprised, but very happy to be offered her. She is quite an unpleasant, dominating character, whose attitude to her friends could spin on a dime.


I had to learn more lines than I’ve ever needed to before. My character was American, so, I had to learn lines in an American accent for the first time. I also had to learn some badly pronounced French, in an American accent. I got some laughs at my attempts at French. Hopefully the audience thought I was acting and didn’t realise my French actually is that bad.

The Cast for Come into the Garden Maud

Rob Fradley – Wilde
Imogen Fletcher
Marie Cooper

Verner Conklin
Maud Caragnani
Anna-Mary Conklin
Ben Turner

All photographs for Come into the Garden, Maud were taken during the dress rehearsal by Andrew Cliffe of Norwich Photo Motorsport Photography

Norwich Photo

Come into the Garden, Maud Gallery

Larkrise at Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich

Mrs Blaby (Marie Cooper Actor) and Mrs Peverill in Larkrise

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich

11 – 21 October 2017

In Larkrise, performed at Sewell Barn Theatre in Norwich, I played Mrs Blaby and Mrs Beamish.

Mrs Blaby always seemed to be hanging about outside her cottage, gossiping with the other women-folk of Larkrise. She had a love of dressy fashion, despite mostly being a year out of it by today’s standards, as she relied on her daughter sending her clothes parcels from London.

Heavily pregnant Mrs Beamish was proudly getting her young daughter Martha all smart and ready to find her petty place in Larkrise so that she could earn her own living. With a new mouth to feed on the way, the family needed the income. A year in training and Martha might be ready to move on to proper gentleman’s service.

It was a huge production and the final show at Sewell Barn for the Director, Robert Little.  It was great fun and a privilege to be part of the wonderfully large and diverse cast, with ages ranging from young teens, through to students from the University of East Anglia’s drama course, right up to the not-quite-so-young seventies. It was one big, happy theatrical family.  I even got to share the stage with one of the actors from Harry Potter, the young Sirius Black, Rohan Gotobed,  and it’s not every day I get to say that.

Photos courtesy of Andrew Evans

Lark Rise

Written by Keith Dewhurst
Adapted from the novels by Flora Thompson

Directed by Robert Little with
Sewell Barn Theatre

Music Directed by Michelle Glover
Photography by Andrew Evans


Emma Timms                                                                           Wendy Atkinson
Albert Timms                                                                            Martin Dabbs
Laura Timms                                                                            Connie Reid
Laura Timms                                                                             Charlotte Woollsey
Edmund Timms                                                                       Bradley Flint
Bishie                                                                                            Shem Jacobs
Boamer                                                                                        Chad Mason
Old David / Dick / Twister                                                    Terry Dabbs
Pumpkin                                                                                      Colin Barrett (Baz)
Old Price / Old Postie / Grandfather / Rector           Dave Dixon
Bailiff / Doctor / Squire Bracewell                                  Robert Little
Old Stut / Tramp                                                                      Danny Burns
Fisher                                                                                            Liam Purshouse
Jerry Parish / Cheapjack                                                     Rohan Gotobed
Mrs Spicer / Garibaldi Jacket                                            Ruth Howitt
Mrs Blaby / Mrs Beamish                                                   Marie Cooper
Mrs Peverill / Queenie                                                         Ros Mace
Old Sally                                                                                     Anne Giles
Mr Sharman / Landlord                                                      Peter Jackson
Mrs Miller / Mrs Andrews                                                  Diane Webb
Martha Beamish                                                                    Connie Reed
Martha Beamish                                                                    Charlotte Woollsey
John Price                                                                                 Sam Webber
Polly                                                                                             Ella Daymond

Candleford at Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich

Photograph of Mrs Macey played by Marie Cooper actor and Dorcas Lane played by Lyn Smith in Candleford at Sewell Barn Theatre

Reading Time: < 1 minute

Sewell Barn Theatre, Norwich

11 – 21 October 2017

In Candleford, performed at Sewell Barn Theatre in Norwich, I played the dour, prim and proper Mrs Macey.  She lived with her young son, ‘Tommy’ and ‘Snowball’ her cat, as her husband was away, travelling abroad with his gentleman. Or so she told everyone in the post office. Dorcas, the Post Mistress General, was the only person Mrs Macey trusted with the truth.

Photos courtesy of Andrew Evans