Actress Alice Coles speaks to Theatrefullstop about starring in Encompass Production's new show, This is Not a Christmas Play!

Alice Coles

Bristol born actress Alice Coles is set to star as the straight talking Mary in Encompass Production’s comedy fuelled production, This is Not a Christmas Play. A season accustomed to the family friendly fairytale or the weird yet wonderful world of Panto, the show offers a contemporary alternative. Ahead of the first show, Theatrefullstop was able to speak to Alice about working with Encompass Productions, preparing for the role of Mary and her reasons for wanting to be apart of the production!

Hi Alice, this is your first time working with Encompass productions, how has the process been?

Hello Lucy! Encompass were fantastic right from day one, really warm, welcoming and friendly. They work very hard to ensure a top quality show is produced and they inspire the cast to put in the same amount of effort, whilst making copius amounts of tea and snacks to keep us going!

Tell us a little bit about the show and the character you’re playing.

The show first and foremost is excellently written and started life as an idea on a train by the writers and director. It’s had a wonderful journey getting to this point and hopefully beyond. The characters are enigmatic, the storyline is touching and highly amusing. it’s guaranteed to get you in a festive mood whilst reminding the audience the importance of friendship and gratitude. It’s based in the flat of the two central characters Tim and David, on Christmas Day which ends up being not quite what they expect! My character Mary is bold, fearless and sassy and has been a real challenge to play. She takes no prisoners and tells it as it is. No sugar coating with her!

What is the first thing you do to prepare for a new role?

Read the scenes over again and the whole play to understand the story. I researched quite a bit for her because she is very different to me. I take inspiration from people like who I know or see in everyday life and choose certain traits. Then I put traits of myself in. Whilst also watching films and reading books that will help!

What in particular drew you to this project?

I love the fact there is one great female role and it’s all mine! But also the company and the opportunities they have given me.

The play describes itself as “without all the clichés of the Christmas season”, what else do you think “This is Not a Christmas Play” offers audiences this Christmas they can’t find in other winter shows?

I think it will remind people to laugh at themselves this season and don’t stress too much with trying to make everything perfect! That and it provides both humour and sincerity and even epic action sequences!

You have done a variety of projects since you graduated from Birmingham acting school, is there a style or character you are particularly keen to tackle?

I would love to do another Shakespeare production, the classical theatre festival in almagro was such a joy those two years. I would like to play Portia from the merchant of Venice, cool, intelligent and stylish. Either that or take on a two hander about a turbulent relationship.

What other Christmas productions are you planning to see?

I am planning on seeing A Lad in Tights. An adult pantomime would be a laugh. I’ll let you know!

Interview by Lucy Bishop.

Alice Coles will be starring as Mary in This is Not a Christmas Play at the Top Secret Comedy Club from Tuesday 9th December. For more information on the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop