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Maggie Bain: ‘It’s amazing how many people are involved in a one-woman show’

Actor Maggie Bain is touring in the Wales Millennium Centre production of Manfred Karge’s one-woman show Man to Man, which is based on the real life story of a woman living in volatile 20th-century Germany. Bain tells Giverny Masso about the experience of performing her first-ever solo show

What has it been like working on Man to Man?
It has been incredible, I’ve never had an experience like this before. I’ve never done a one-woman show. I’ve never had an opportunity to work so closely with the creative team and I’ve learned so much from that, it’s been a real journey. I want to say how incredible our team are, and despite it being a one-woman show it’s amazing how many people are involved. The biggest challenge for me has been the discipline. If anything happens to me there isn’t anyone to pick it up, so I have had to be really disciplined about health and fitness. It starts in the gym and I also have to make sure I eat well.

What drew you to this script?
The only things on the page that I don’t say are the scene numbers. There are no stage directions in the script, it’s very open to interpretation. I knew it was a brilliant piece of writing and I didn’t initially know how to do it. It’s a show we will hopefully revisit every ten years, as it will change when I grow older and the character will change. It is one of those pieces where you find something new in it every time.

How did you get into acting?
I had an amazing drama teacher who taught me at GCSE and A level. I made a deal with my parents when I told them I wanted to be an actor. They understood how competitive it was and they believed it would be important to have something to fall back on. If I studied anything I wanted at uni they would support me in drama school, so I studied film media and English. I fell in love with it and did think about a film career. I then did a diploma in acting at Drama Studio London.

Do you remember your first job in acting?
It was a voice recording for a Benjamin Franklin exhibition in London. I walked in and they said we’re just waiting for Imelda. My very first job was working alongside Imelda Staunton. I was so nervous and kind of glad they hadn’t told me before.

You’ve also done some work with theatre company Frantic Assembly, what has this been?
I worked with Frantic Assembly in its production of Beautiful Burnout [1]. I work as a learn and train practitioner for them, which means I go into theatre companies and schools and teach them about devising, and how to approach work.

CV: Maggie Bain

Training: Diploma in acting at the Drama Studio in London (2005)
First professional role: Voice recording for a Benjamin Franklin exhibit in London (2005)
Agent: Rachael Swanston at Conway van Gelder Grant

Man to Man [2] is touring the UK until October 28, visiting Newcastle’s Northern Stage and the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool