Amy catches up with Emma Swan, who is starring in Horrible Histories Terrible Tudors, it’s on a UK tour this summer and also stopping of at the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End for the season.
Hi Emma, how are you feeling ahead of the opening of Horrible Histories: Terrible Tudors on the West End?
Really excited. I’m so looking forward to being in the West End with this show. I walked through the centre of London yesterday and thought 7 year old me would be screaming right now. (I considered it at 29 but thought I might get some funny looks.)
It’s the world premiere of this production, what can people expect?
They can expect quick changes, accents, big costumes, lots of laughs, songs, dances and not being able to get the tune for the 6 wives of Henry VIII out of their head. I’m waking up in the night to “Divorced, Beheaded, Died!”
Who are you playing in the show?
The show is a two hander so there are lots of costume changes and characters. The costume designers and makers at BSC are fantastic so it really is so much fun to be Henry Tudor one minute and then Anne Boleyn the next. I particularly love the costume and wig for Elizabeth I, especially trying to keep it on my head during our rap battle…. But I won’t give too much away.
What attracted you to this role/ this production?
I saw Horrible Histories in the West End last year with Morgan Philpott and Neal Foster as the cast and it was brilliant. I wouldn’t have believed it if you’d have told me I’d be doing it this year but I had my first audition with the company a couple of months after that.
What do you think makes the Horrible Histories books so popular?
They’re really funny and they explain history in an entertaining way without leaving out the blood, the guts and the poo.
The production claims to be suited for people ages 5-105, is there something for everyone?
Yes, there definitely is something for everyone, I think there’s humour in the show for all ages and it’s great to see toddlers and grandmas battling to be the loudest side of the audience.
Why is it important for younger people to be exposed to theatre?
Particularly after the last few years, it’s just wonderful to see young people back watching live theatre together in one audience. I love TV but I think I completed Netflix and Disney Plus in lockdown and there’s nothing better than the shared experience of being back in a theatre. For some children I know that watching ‘Terrible Tudors’ this summer might be their first time ever seeing a show and I really hope they have the best time with us.
Was theatre important to you during your childhood?
Yes I was a complete theatre geek and used to come down from the north to London with my mom to cram in as many shows as we could for our holiday. Birmingham Stage Company is really special to me because when I was 5 my first show was their production of ‘George’s Marvellous Medicine’ and I absolutely loved it. I’m so proud and happy to be working with them now.
The production has been touring – how has this been going?
The tour has been great and will continue while we are in the West End with another company of actors. We’ve been all over and the audiences have been so brilliant. Each new venue gave us different challenges like stopping the seagulls stealing our props and lunch at Brighton Open Air.
And finally, why should people come to see the show this summer?
Come to The Garrick this summer for hopefully a really great time. Ben and I have such fun doing the show and we hope you will be watching it. Hope to see you there!
ABOUT THE SHOW
Horrible Histories – Terrible Tudors is on at the Garrick Theatre in London’s West End from the 28th of July – 3rd of September.
Find more of our latest interviews here
We have a post of Unmissable Children’s Theatre this summer which you can check out here