Laura Main - from Call the Midwife to Shrek the Musical

Credit: Helen Maybanks

none Credit: Helen Maybanks - Credit: Archant

Laura Main is best known as the shy Scottish nun turned doctor’s wife in Call the Midwife, but her new role as Princess Fiona in Shrek The Musical is about to give you a whole new perspective on this versatile actor.

Laura Main

Laura Main - Credit: Archant

Laura Main, when we talk, is as softly spoken as her on-screen character in BBC One’s hit series, Call the Midwife. Her gentle Scottish accent and long pauses to consider each response make for a slightly tricky time, but also serve to present the ‘real’ Laura, the hard-working, committed actor who is just thrilled to be working in the industry she loves.

‘I got an email from my agent, asking if I was interested in auditioning and I absolutely jumped at the chance,’ she tells me, when I ask how her new, rather different role, came about.

‘I’d been to see the show in the West End, and if I’m honest, I’d hoped I’d one day get the chance to audition for the role of Princess Fiona. It’s quite a contrast to the part that I play in Call the Midwife, but growing up it was musical theatre that I was involved in and it’s a dream, really, to do a big musical. I’ve done musicals over the years and I’ve kept my hand in but nothing on this scale. I’m over the moon.’

When we speak rehearsals are in full swing and I ask how she’s finding being part of something so big.

‘It’s been a while since I’ve been in this environment, but thankfully it’s all flooding back and feeling quite familiar really – hopefully it’s like riding a bike! We’re working on the singing and the dancing and the acting and then will start to put it all together, but so far it’s been really good fun.

Shrek is already a well established show and audiences will have considerable expectations, which might well put the fear into many a performer.

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‘What’s been really exciting is people’s reactions to me doing this show. The people light up when they hear the word Shrek, so to be in Call The Midwife, which has taken off in the most wonderful way and then to get to do something else in between filming is very exciting - and everyone tells me that it’s a great atmosphere when you get out there.

‘There’s only so much that you can do in a rehearsal room. Obviously that’s where all the hard work takes place but something else happens when you’re in front of an audience and that’s when you really start to work it all out.’

Laura has filming commitments for Call the Midwife during the tour, so isn’t performing at every venue, but she will be in Manchester.

‘I’ll come out of the tour and start filming series eight and then go back for more dates. I’ve never done a national tour before. I’ve worked up and down the country and have filmed in Manchester before – The Mill and The Forsyte Saga – and it’s a lovely city, but that’s another great side to the job, getting to discover new places.

‘It’s real variety and one of the things I love about acting, getting to try your hand at different mediums.’

Fans of Laura’s character, Sheila Turner, needn’t worry that she is going to run off and join the West End circus though. She assures me that she will be part of the much-loved storyline for a time to come.

‘I love being a part of that. This is just ideal to get to do this in between. We always have six months off and The Mill was something I managed to fit in between too, but there are so many factors and it doesn’t always work out but this one has and I’m really chuffed.’

Shrek the Musical runs from January 16 to January 28 at The Palace Theatre Manchester