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Anne-Marie Duff: ‘Stage fright nearly ended my career’

Anne Marie-Duff. Photo: Tristram Kenton Anne Marie-Duff in Heisenberg. Photo: Tristram Kenton
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Actor Anne-Marie Duff has revealed how a bout of stage fright almost put an end to her career.

Duff said it was only because of the actions of fellow actor Paterson Joseph that she continued working.

The actor revealed on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs how she was appearing in A Doll’s House in 2000 when she suffered stage fright and walked off stage.

“I had proper stage fright. I had this experience where I became very aware that I was unhealthily pushing myself into the character’s noggin. My perspective shifted. I actually had the sentence in my head ‘I don’t want to be a crazy person and I definitely don’t want to be a crazy actress’, so I walked off stage,” she said.

She went on to say that her co-star, Joseph, had made her reconsider and return to the stage.

“I thank him for my whole career really, as he looked at me and said exactly the right thing. He said, ‘Anne-Marie, there are 250 people out there who have paid a lot of money for their tickets.’ At that moment I needed to hear something tangible and practical and kind. I turned round walked back on stage,” she said, adding that she had lied to the audience that she had choked on some food.

“It was a real wake-up call,” she said.

Duff also talked about the recent spate of sexual harassment allegations in the entertainment sector, revealing the she had had some “experiences in my early career that would curl your toes”.

She said the fact that such high-profile people were addressing the issue meant there was a “ripple effect” in the sector.

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