SHEFFIELD TELEGRAPH – In the TV epic fantasy series she played feisty Wilding Ygritte with a broad Northern accent but her natural voice reflects her background from an aristocratic Scottish family, a public school education and drama school training. She has come to Sheffield to appear in the regional premiere of Contractions, a play by Mike Bartlett in which an employee undergoes a grilling from her manager because she has started a relationship with a colleague.
The actor says what immediately drew her to the project was the quality of writing by the Olivier Award-winner and creator of TV hit Doctor Foster – “and then hearing that Contractions was being put on up here in Sheffield, I’ve always longed to work at the Crucible.“
“It is brilliantly funny but also appalling at the same time. It’s quite rare to come across in one sentence something so far-fetched and yet plausible. It’s a brilliant intense piece, reading it you don’t come up for air.” Her experience of the office environment has not been as brutal as that experienced by her character, Emma. “I’ve done reception work in London in between jobs in order to balance auditions but the spotlight never shone on me to this extent. After this, there’s no way I am ever going to set foot in an office,” she laughs.
It is unlikely Rose Leslie will need to resort to that, however, with her Game of Thrones profile. “When I auditioned for season two it was not as established as it is now and in no way the phenomenon it has become,” she explains. “Which is good because in hindsight I would have been petrified at the audition.” And then the role turned out to be a physical experience. “Iceland was a cold and rough terrain, there was a lot of running and climbing up ice walls. It was a different type of intensity from something like this.”
Eventually Ygritte got an arrow through the heart. “I was killed by a wee lad at the end of season four when there was a big penultimate battle scene. I was always aware that she would perish because I had read the books before I started. I am still recognised because of the ginger hair but the fact I died a few years ago people are beginning to say, who is that chick?”
That may be a touch disingenuous given the fact that the celebrity media remain fascinated by her real-life relationship with co-star Kit Harington, aka Jon Snow. “But in the past it’s always been an awesome experience because a lot of the fans if they do come up are very loyal and passionate and wanting to talk about the show and I think that’s an accolade to Game of Thrones as a whole.” (source)
FORGE – Known to thousands as the fiery Ygritte of Game of Thrones fame, Rose Leslie is much more approachable in reality. Friendly and engaging, she is keen to “have a proper scope around Sheffield” as soon as possible. As I catch her between lunch and a scheduled call from BBC Breakfast, she describes the play as an exciting shift in her career.
“I haven’t done theatre for a very long time, but in drama school we did a lot of classical texts. From my experience, this is the most camera-esque theatre acting I’ve done, because there’s so little movement, there’s no physicality. We’re on a disc that we never penetrate, and every minor detail gets picked up, so in that way it does mesh with my experience of camera-work. It’s such an intimate space and an intimate play – it’s very intense”.
The play’s relentless 50 minutes of escalating drama is nothing if not intense, and Rose’s character, Emma, comes under immense pressure as her privacy is increasingly attacked. During her rise to fame, I’m intrigued to find out whether Rose has faced similar pressures from the public eye. “Gosh!”, she exclaims, “Can you imagine, to that extreme? It would be utterly terrible!”. Reassuringly, Rose confirms that she’s never been forced into such an extreme situation, but believes this is because “I’ve been incredibly fortunate with the jobs I’ve worked in and the people I’ve worked with. I feel lucky that I’ve had the older generations to fight for me; they’ve made me realise that it’s OK to speak up”.
As previously announced, Rose will star in Mike Bartlett’s Contractions next month. Now that there’s been an official announcement, we have more informations :
BROADWAYWORLD–GAME OF THRONES star Rose Leslie and stage and screen actress Sara Stewart will star in Mike Barlett’s CONTRACTIONS at the Crucible this summer. The Daily Mail writes that the pair of actresses will take the stage under the direction of Lisa Blair.
CONTRACTIONS follows Emma (played by Leslie), a young woman whose work conduct comes into question by an unfeeling superior. The play originally debuted at the Royal Court.
Leslie described the play as depicting a « merciless world, » telling the Mail, « It’s weird, bizarre and cruel behaviour, and shows what it could be like living in a very competitive corporate world. »
Leslie is known for her roles in the TV series DOWNTON ABBEY and GAME OF THRONES and has also recently appeared in LUTHER and the film THE LAST WITCH HUNTER. She will soon be seen on the big screen in MORGAN and STICKY NOTES. She appeared in many plays during her time at LAMDA, including UNCLE VANYA, THE CAUCASIAN CHALK CIRCLE, A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM and THE COUNTRY WIFE.
Stewart has taken the stage in PRESENT LAUGHTER and THE HOUR WE KNEW NOTHING OF EACH OTHER at the National, A MONTH IN THE COUNTRY at the RSC, THE PAIN AND THE ITCH at the Royal Court and PROOF at Donmar. She is known for her role as ‘Stella’ in the TV series SUGAR RUSH.
As previously announced, CONTRACTIONS, the stage adaptation of Barlett’s radio play LOVE CONTRACT, will run Thursday 23 June to Saturday 16 July 2016 at the Crucible’s Studio. (source)
As part of the promotion for the Sky Box Sets Club, Rose was invited today at the BBC Radio 2 studios to talk about it. She was also asked about her time on Luther, Game of Thrones, her favorite box sets, and her next project. Rose has indeed announced that she would return on stage to play in a revival of Mike Bartlett’s ‘Contractions’, who was last performed at the Royal Court Theatre in 2008. The play will run from June 23 to July 16 and one performance will take place at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield. (source)
You can listen to the whole interview below :
Pictures of Rose at the BBC Radio Studios have also been added to the gallery :