Ahead of The Telling's performances of Unsung Heroine at Hastings LitFest on 30th August and St Paul's Worthing on 13th October, actor Anna Demetriou provided an insight into what it's like playing Beatriz de Dia, the feisty Troubadour singer-songwriter.
How do you find working with The Telling and how does it compare to what you’ve done before? This is my professional theatre debut, I have been mainly doing screen work so this was so exciting for me because I really miss theatre! Having live music behind you, almost scoring the story you're telling and narrating it with you is super special. It's not often you get to have musicians with you in this way, with song weaving in with your words. It's such a different experience as an actor and there's something beautiful about it.
What do you enjoy most about playing Beatriz de Dia? I relate to her in a lot of ways, more than I thought I would considering she is from such a different historical age to the one we're in now - one with it's own culture and norms. I think her feelings and her experiences are still so valid. I've felt entrapment like Beatriz has, I've felt the jealousy she has, we can all relate to the emotional journey when things come into your life, change it and then leave again. That's what this story delves into. It becomes easier for me to connect and emote these moments in her life. I love her relentlessness and her unfailing creativity. I feel like her in these ways and it's a pleasure to be in her shoes.
You’re no stranger to playing strong women (a Viking princess, for example!), but how does Beatriz compare to your previous roles? It's been nice to play a strong female lead in a more domestic setting. Playing a Viking princess was more... dramatic persay and more fantastical, which of course was so exciting, but this feels a little closer to home. It's great to step into someone who is just like any other woman at that time, doing what was expected of her and longing for change.
As a singer-songwriter, you seem to be the perfect fit for the role! Do you perform as a singer-songwriter regularly? I don't tend to gig - although I have many people telling me to right now! My music feels like a more intimate, personal thing at the moment, much like Beatriz's really, so live shows haven't been something I've thought about. I am recording though! Much less vulnerable in a studio! I have an album coming out that I'm working on right now, which is so wonderful. I'm so blessed to have that opportunity, and who knows about live shows, we'll see how this goes first and I could end up feeling a lot braver as a result!
Do you prioritise acting over singing/songwriting or vice-versa? Acting is my heart, it's what I've always wanted to do. Music though is such a freeing outlet for me that is running alongside. I play other people when I act and represent them - my songs though are mine, the things I've felt or am feeling and what I've done with those experiences. It's quite poetic I know but I really appreciate being able to be creative as both myself and as other people. I'm so grateful when I get to do both like this.
Why should people come and see Unsung Heroine? It really is an ensemble piece. The music is gorgeous, Clare has written an honest memoir of a real woman in time and her voice beautifully showcases these forgotten songs in history. It's human, its truthful, it's a bit funny sometimes and it might change your opinion on how you deal with a devastating experience.
See Anna and The Telling perform Unsung Heroine on:
30th August at Opus Theatre for Hastings LitFest - Click here for tickets
13th October at St Paul's, Worthing - Click here for tickets