“This year has been exciting, rewarding and changing. A Doll’s House has genuinely changed things for me, it’s been a mad year, it’s been lovely, playing Nora has now become so familiar, each rehearsal period we’ve come back to has been like getting back in to an old coat and it’s like ‘oh yes I remember this’, she’s a really interesting character to play and I really enjoy her contradictions and the strange journey she goes on and so to get to have another crack at it, it’s so complex and the play is so multi layered and so rich that it it’s just a really lovely opportunity to play Nora again”
Hattie Morahan has had an exciting year, since our last interview she has won the Evening Standard Award for Best Actress a Critics Circle Award as well as an Olivier Nomination, all due to her performance as Nora in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House¸ which had two successful runs at the Young Vic and is now playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre in the West End. I meet her in her dressing room, which is scattered with copies of Ibsen and she is dressed in jeans, a striped top and her hair is tied up.
I wonder what her awards mean to her and if they have helped her career, “that’s never been the goal of what one does, it’s quite daunting to take on a part which is known and people have opinions about, it’s reassuring to know that the consensus was I didn’t screw it up,” she laughs “I don’t consider it to be totally objective, I’m aware that it’s a part that draws attention to itself and it’s a part that has history. I think the Critics Circle I was particularly proud of, as these are people who really know their stuff and have been in the game for many years between them” she smiles.
The English Touring Company recently revealed a nationwide search to find the Nation’s favourite play written in the English language, I ask what her favourite play would be, “Oh gosh I’d say Shakespeare, As You Like It”
Morahan is also set to appear as one of the main cast in the second series of The Bletchley Circle, I wonder if she could tell me a little bit about the show and her role in it, “There’s a group of women who worked at Bletchley Park during the War, they signed the official secrets act so all of their work helping the government break codes means they can’t tell anyone. It’s now 1950s austerity Britain; there aren’t opportunities for bright women to find something that’s rewarding to their capabilities. So they start solving crimes, in the true tradition of ITV Dramas.”
“I play a character who was in Bletchley Park and who has various secrets in her past, so she’s a guest in the first two episodes and she’s in prison for a crime, a serious crime and we don’t know what it is, and shes very enigmatic, and doesn’t give much away. Then she later becomes one of the group and I would say she has a lateral brain, lateral thinking, very logical, likes system and machines and shes a sort of geek.” She smiles.
” She was great fun to play and has very strong feelings and feels passionately about the people who are important to her. Shes not very gregarious, but shes intelligent in her own way, shes lovely to play, shes called Alice. I really love playing her.”
Clearly it’s been a successful year for Morahan, coupled with television appearances, leading an award winning show in the West End, she also has time to pursue projects on the side and she recently did a reading at the National Portrait Gallery of the memoirs of artist Laura Knight whom she portrayed in A Summer in February “there’s been this lovely exhibition there and there was this fortuitous coming to together of passions where I was really pleased to read her memoirs”
The Bletchley Circle series two starts on Monday 9pm on ITV1
Naomi Jeffreys, The Rabbit and Reel