Actor can resonate with Miss Havisham

A powerful new adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations is the new season opener at Derby Theatre.

Playing the iconic Miss Havisham, the reclusive spinster jilted on her wedding day, will be Polly Lister an actor who is able to bring her own experience of being rejected by the one she loved to the part.

Last year she performed the solo part in a play she had penned, I Was A Wife, which tells the story of how the actor loved and lost.

Polly met her future husband online and a marriage proposal followed, but just months after the wedding she was asked for a divorce without being told why.

“I had never felt so special and knew I didn’t want to marry anyone else and then in a matter of weeks it changed. It was like taking a drug for 11 months and then having it taken away from you,” she said.

The play she wrote about her short-lived marriage won her critical acclaim and standing ovations when she performed it in Lancaster.

While once Polly may have been  able to resonate with the humiliated and heartbroken Miss Havisham, she certainly hasn’t let time stand still and has used her experience to help boost her career.

Polly has appeared in two previous Derby Theatre productions, Lee Hall’s Cooking with Elvis directed by Mark Babych, and Solace of the Road directed by Sarah Brigham.

Sarah is also directing this production of Great Expectations which has been adapted by Neil Bartlett with evocative music composed by Ivan Stott and the design by Barney George.

Sarah said: “Great Expectations is a show I have wanted to direct for a long time and I am absolutely thrilled with the hugely talented cast we have assembled; an exciting mixture of familiar and new faces to Derby Theatre audiences. A company of nine performers, with an extraordinary wealth of acting credits between them.

“Audiences can expect to be immersed into a delightful Dickensian world in our bold, fast-moving production of this Dickens classic, performed by a wonderful ensemble of performers with a thrilling and evocative score.”

Playing the part of the convict Magwitch is Robert Beck, who has a wealth of TV credits to his name including: Coronation Street, Waterloo Road, Casualty, Hollyoaks and Judge John Deed.

Geoffrey Breton, new to Derby audiences, plays Pip the young orphan boy who stumbles across the convict hiding in the village graveyard. Geoffrey’s credits include Inspector George Gently, Doctors and Blue Murder for TV.

Kate Spencer, who hails from Derbyshire, will play the beautiful adopted daughter of Miss Havisham, Estella, who steals Pip’s heart. Kate’s recent credits include Rift and A Long Morning Quiet (Sheffield Crucible).

The play is on from September 29-October 21.

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