Sophie Ward plays the role of Eunice Parchman in Ruth Rendell’s A Judgment in Stone which tours to the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 20th to Saturday 25th November. Since her first television appearance at a young age in Shadows in 1975, Sophie has performed in numerous hit dramas and long-running series over the past 40 years.
A Judgement in Stone is widely considered to be Ruth Rendell’s greatest work – why do you think that is?
The book is a testament to Rendell’s belief in the importance of literacy and combines this passionate statement with superlative storytelling.
Had you read the book before you were cast in the show – what did you love about the story?
I had not read this book, though I have read many of her works and have worked in two other adaptations: A Dark-Adapted Eye for the BBC and A Demon in My View which was a feature film with Anthony Perkins.
What is about this role that attracted you?
Eunice Parchman is a wonderful creation, both sympathetic and troubling.
How different is it being on stage as opposed to in front of the cameras?
They are different experiences, but of course, there is really an audience whether you are filming or on stage!
Did you know or have you worked with any of your cast mates before?
I have worked with Ben Nealon before on Agatha Christie’s Go Back for Murder.
This production has been on the road since January – what are the nicest things about being on the road?
In some ways touring is like camping, some of the everyday concerns of being at home fall away!
You’ve performed at the Theatre Royal previously in Les Liaisons Dangereuses in 2000 and Go Back for Murder in 2013. Are you looking forward to returning to Bath?
Bath is always a highlight on tour, both the beautiful city and the exquisite Theatre Royal itself. The Royal has a great reputation as a venue, but also through its own productions. It makes a difference to be in a theatre that is still producing its own work, and, with the Ustinov studio and the egg, is still involved with the community and with the creative conversation that good theatre promotes. And I have many friends in the area from when I lived near Stroud, so it will be a busy week.
Having first appeared on screen at a young age, how does it feel to have achieved over 40 years as an actor and what have been the highlights?
Forty years is a big number! I think one of the strongest feelings I have when I think of all those years, is my great good fortune to have been able to do it at all. It is a very insecure profession, and not usually very glamorous, but I’ve always loved stories and storytelling, and I’m thankful for every day that I get to be involved with that process.
Finally, without giving too much away, why should audiences come and see A Judgement in Stone?
The play is a combination of a psychological thriller and a political observation of how society can leave some people behind. It has moments of great humour and pathos, particularly when you see all the characters come to life, though you know they are doomed!
A Judgement in Stone appears at the Theatre Royal Bath from Monday 20th to Saturday 25th November.