It’ll be Hi-De-Derry-Hi next week as TV comedy star Su Pollard comes to town to star in family favourite Annie at the Millennium Forum.
From its Broadway beginnings to the classic film musical, this heart-warming rags-to-riches story of Annie’s adventures, from the New York orphanage to the luxurious home of Oliver Warbucks, is a tale that has been told all over the world for decades and will continue for many years to come.
Su, who takes on the role of the dastardly ginsoaked Miss Hannigan, will join a cast over 40 artistes for a four-day run at the Forum. With a brilliantly memorable score including ‘It’s A Hard Knock Life’, ‘Easy Street’ and of course the legendary ‘Tomorrow’, fantastically visual choreography, and a side-splittingly funny script it really is no surprise that Annie has become one of the best loved family musicals of all time.
Newswire caught up with Su Pollard as she rehearsed for the Derry show.
Nottingham born Su has been an actress, writer and comedienne for over 40 years, enjoying great success in theatre, television and music. She began her career at the tender age of 11.
“I started my career at 11 years old in the amateurs,” she says. “I was appearing in the Desert Song, I played Susan. Then I managed to get hold of a copy of The Stage newspaper, and I saw an advert for people to appear in the Desert Song. So I thought, I must go and do that, so I duly went up to London, and just so happened to get a part. I was in the chorus though, I was very, very disappointed and disheartened because I thought I should be getting a part, I had all the parts in the amateurs! But I suppose I had to start somewhere.
Su has a massive following wherever she goes and her popularity hasn’t waned with the public despite a career spanning four decades.
“I like to really think that I’m very approachable and I allow myself to be approachable because if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have a career,” she explains. “I’ve sold over the years thousands of pounds worth of tickets just by talking to people at bus stops. It’s just so nice, I think people like the idea that they feel that they’re just like you and they would like to do what we do and bring people pleasure. They bring me a lot of pleasure just by talking to me so I like to think that you can reciprocate.”
So is she anything like the dastardly Miss Hannigan? If she was able, what is the one thing she would change in the world to make life not so ‘hard-knock’?
“I think every single person in the world should have a kindness and a tolerance for each other, every nationality,” she says. “I just feel sometimes people in general, they’re not kind enough, kindness goes such a long way, and I extend that as far as, no wars, you know, more tolerance. That’s what I would really really love, just people to be kind.
And after Annie? What unfulfilled ambitions does Su still have?
“I want to really, really do a most fabulous musical that everybody is going to be gobsmacked at, that has a fabulous story, that makes you cry, makes you laugh, you can sing in it,” she says. “The only person in my view that has ever achieved that is Barbara Streisand, and the nearest I can get to actually achieving my ambition is to actually sing a duet with her at the Royal Albert Hall, but only got as far as her letter box in California with a photograph with my hand inside it! So if Barbara ever reads this article, then you know, take pity on this poor old soul from Nottingham.”
And what about stage fright. Does Su still get those first night nerves? I asked her what her most embarrassing moment was.
“I’ve had so many!” she says. “I think probably it might be when I was playing Yin So in the Cultive Arts Theatre’s amateur dramatic Aladdin, and I was so excited I wet myself as I was getting into the rickshaw! I wouldn’t mind, but I was 19 at the time!”
Annie will be at the Millennium Forum from Tuesday November 15th to Saturday 19th.
The show opens on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 7.30pm with matinee shows on on Wednesday and Friday at 11am and Saturday at 2.30pm.
Ticket and booking information are available on www.millenniumforum.co.uk