Marian McLoughlin stars in for Caroline Steinbeis’ major revival of Githa Sowerby’s Rutherford and Son directed by Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres, Robert Hastie.
Rutherford and Son is at Sheffield Crucible 8th – 23rd February 2019.

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You’re appearing in Rutherford and Son at Sheffield Crucible, what can you tell us about it?

On the surface, it’s a play set in a Northern industrial town and John Rutherford rules his family with an iron fist. The play begins when it all starts to fall apart for them. He wants to pass the glass empire on to his elder son but he has other ambitions for his life. It is a play about a family tearing itself apart in front of our eyes. Each character believes they are totally right. It’s an emotional rollercoaster. The playwright doesn’t take sides and you the audience are asked to make up your own minds as to who is right or wrong.

How would you describe your character?

Ann is a spinster of 60. Surrogate mother to Rutherford’s three children whom she thinks she has control of, but hasn’t. She backs up John Rutherford totally because she knows if the factory goes where are they all going to go? The fear of that motivates most of what she does. She believes in an etiquette that she has mostly learnt from a booklet and she generally only speaks at the expense of someone else. She never considers anyone else’s feelings except her older brother’s – she’s one of those women who thinks she can say anything she likes to anyone, except her brother.

Have you played a character like this before, and how do you go about developing a new character?

Well, I have never played anyone from Northumberland which has been really exciting learning a new accent. I’ve played lots of actual baddies, not that you’d always consider them that. I got nominated as Baddie of the Year in a Soap Opera in the Soap Awards, my claim to fame is being nominated for this! It is a new departure and playing somebody in their 60s, which I now am myself.

What are you looking forward to most about working with director Caroline Steinbeis?

Caroline always creates a safe place in which to bring our best selves to. On this show we worked particularly with our character’s memories and we each had to choose three memories that aren’t in the script and tell our story to each other. She gives you the space to find what you want and doesn’t impose her take on the character, and most importantly allows for change.

You are returning to Sheffield Theatres after appearing in Love and Information, what are you looking forward to about being back?

Apart from the fantastic Sheffield Theatres teams, both backstage and front of house who are all so welcoming, what I really love to do is listen to the conversations on the bus on my way into work! I also love getting out to the Peaks. I really look forward to getting out more and am especially looking forward to exploring Bakewell.

What would you say to anyone thinking about coming to see Rutherford and Son?

It’s a chance to immerse yourself in this extraordinary world! It is like reading an emotional thriller and the end really is a jaw drop moment! You really get to see the play from everybody’s point of view so hopefully you’ll have great discussions on the way home about who is right and who is wrong. There is definitely a connection to modern day life and this play echoes what is happening in industrial towns all over Britain today. With the loss of the factories many people’s jobs and communities are disappearing.

Greg is an award-winning writer with a huge passion for theatre. He has appeared on stage, as well as having directed several plays in his native Scotland. Greg is the founder and editor of Theatre Weekly

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