Tamsin Greig: ‘Romeo and Juliet speaks to our polarisation today’

Tamsin Greig: ‘Romeo and Juliet speaks to our polarisation today’

April 4, 2021

The actor on playing Lady Capulet, recording The Archers in her son’s wardrobe, and the trouble with pickled eggs

Tamsin Greig, 54, was born in Maidstone and studied drama at Birmingham University. Her TV roles include comedies Black Books, Green Wing, Episodes and Friday Night Dinner, alongside dramas such as Julian Fellowes’s Belgravia and BBC One’s Talking Heads last year. She is also an acclaimed stage actor and in 2007 won an Olivier award for her portrayal of Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. Greig plays Lady Capulet in a new filmed production of Romeo and Juliet from the National Theatre.

Romeo and Juliet was made under Covid-safe protocols. How was that?
Like nothing I’d ever experienced. We were given four weeks to rehearse, which is unheard of for screen work, so that was a gift – but also very strange. We each had a little taped-off area with a chair, a music stand for our script and a box for props. I brought in my own mug for tea, which nobody was allowed to touch. We couldn’t go near each another, which in a play about lovers and families was quite difficult. When it came to filming the performance, we did Covid tests every few days, then were allowed contact within a small window. That phrase “the obstacle is the way” applied. Limitations made for greater creativity. Each negative test was cause for celebration but it was tense. There were a few scares when it could have unravelled.

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