Tara Fitzgerald’s latest role in a Victorian thriller is far closer to home than it is for most actresses.
She plays the lead role in the play Gaslight coming to the Royal and Derngate in Northampton later this month.
Her great aunt was the actress Gerladine Fitzgerald was stalked by the play’s writer Patrick Hamilton. And while he was later repentant and offered her the US royalties for the show, Tara’s great aunt turned them down.
Tara said: “It is a rather nice connection to my family that I am now doing this show.”
As the ghostly living room gaslight flickers and the floorboards creak around her, Bella Manningham becomes convinced that she is losing her mind, as her mother did before her.
With her husband away on business, she loses all sense of reality. Does the terror exist in her imagination or are dark secrets living in her home? The surprise arrival of a retired detective leads to a shocking discovery that will shake her respectable Victorian marriage to its core.
Tara said: “I had worked with the director Lucy Bailey before and liked her very much. She’s very exciting to work with
“But I was very drawn to the character. It is a very psychological piece and she is a very damaged character.
“I hope it will be a very tense thriller.”
She was also very complimentary about the theatre having visited it for the first time very recently.
Tara added: “I went to see it a few weeks ago and it is a lovely theatre but I am sad yo say that it is a venue I had never performed at before. It will be perfect setting for the show as well.
“I don’t have a preference for which medium I work in but I don’t like to be too far away from the stage. I like the roles on the stage, the writing and the muscularity. I know it is also a cliche but the live audience plays a huge part in it.”
Tara has had a number of roles on film and television, working on the film Brassed Off and appearances in the fantasy hit Game of Thrones.
She said: “I learnt the finger movements for the instruments on Brassed Off so that the public would be spared my awful playing.
“It was such a long time ago now but the colliery band were very helpful. It was a very political film and the message was one that everyone worked in that film believed in. It is very pertinent even today.
“As for Game of Thrones, I loved the show even before I was in it.
“I was over the moon to be a very small part of that franchise and it is something that everyone will know.”
Gaslight can be seen from Friday October 16 to Saturday November 7.
Tickets for the show cost between £10 and £29 and can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or by visiting www.royalandderngate.co.uk.