Jenna Russell: Mother Goose’s Fairy Goodfeather at The Marlowe, Canterbury

PUBLISHED: 10:41 17 December 2019 | UPDATED: 10:41 17 December 2019

Jenna Russell plays Fairy Goodfeather in Mother Goose at The Marlowe in Canterbury this year

Jenna Russell plays Fairy Goodfeather in Mother Goose at The Marlowe in Canterbury this year

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Playing Fairy Goodfeather in Mother Goose at The Marlowe in Canterbury – her first-ever pantomime role – meet Whitstable actor Jenna Russell

Tell us a bit about you

I went to Sylvia Young's Theatre School at 14 and left at 16. It was run from a massive room in a Boys' Club in Covent Garden, fantastic days! I started working at 14, mostly doing TV, but didn't think for a moment I'd still be doing it 38 years later. I've worked hard to keep changing direction, doing TV, film and theatre - I like to mix it up as much as possible, but the great love of my life is singing. I've been nominated three times for an Olivier Award, winning one in 2007, and I was winner of the Theatre World Award for Broadway Debut in 2008. My favourite roles have been in shows by Stephen Sondheim. I live in Whitstable with my better half, actor Ray Coulthard, we've been here for about 15 years now. We have a daughter Betsy who is 10 and a nutty dog called Flossie.

What was EastEnders like?

A couple of years ago I joined EastEnders to play Michelle Fowler, I was asked to be in the show when it started, playing a different character but didn't say yes. It was always something I wanted to do, at some point, so when they asked this time I thought - let's do it! I had a great time, especially working with Letitia Dean (who plays Sharon) We were at school together and she's the funniest person I know.

Have you done panto before?

Mother Goose is my first panto and I can't wait! I usually see panto every year because my best friend John Barr does them and he's been part of the cast at The Marlowe a few times in the past. I've seen the wonderful Ben Roddy doing his stuff and always thought the productions have been fantastic.

It's a massive show and a punishing schedule but I've had my flu jab and I'm raring to go! I'm playing Fairy Goodfeather; there will be flying, singing and lots of laughs. Plus it's 15 minutes up the road from where I live, so not my usual four-hour daily commute into the West End! I love the fact that panto is usually the first point of entry into theatre, especially for children, so I'll be helping introduce a whole new audience into the magic. I'm looking forward to playing with the audience, which I don't get to do normally.

Find out more

Mother Goose is at The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury CT1 2AS, until 12 Jan 2020, Tickets £54.50-£13, marlowetheatre.com

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