Jackie Clune is a British entertainer and writer. Starring in TV favourites like Motherland, Good Omens and Eastenders to name but a few! Jackie also starred in some hit Theatre productions like Emilia and Mamma Mia! Her current project is the play Dr Semmelweis, a powerful world premiere based on an original idea from Mark Rylance (Jerusalem, Wolf Hall, Bridge of Spies), developed with Writer Stephen Brown (Occupational Hazards) and Director Tom Morris (War Horse, Touching the Void) at Bristol’s Old Vic, we got to speak to Jackie about the show and her role as Anna Müller.
How did you get into acting, was there a particular performance you saw that resonated with you?
I was a horrible show off as a child – the third of four kids in a busy family. I think I got addicted to the attention I got from performing. It’s a cliche but it’s true. I did a lot of kids’ shows as a child at my local theatre and just absolutely loved it – the camaraderie, the fun, the whole theatre culture. I didn’t really go to the theatre to watch anything until I was older. It wasn’t a thing in my family.
What has been your favourite role you have played and why?
I loved playing Donna in Mamma Mia! – such a great role for an older woman. There aren’t enough of them! Especially not in musical theatre.
Can you tell us about your current, play: Dr Semmelweis? What drew you to the piece and the role of Anna Müller?
Dr Semmelweis tells the true story of the Hungarian obstetrician who solved the mystery of the high death rates on maternity wards in hospitals. It’s an exciting and heart-breaking piece with a live string quartet – who are exceptional – ballet dancers and a wonderful cast. And Mark Rylance is in it! My character is the nurse who sees it all but nobody listens to. She’s down to earth, funny, clever and hardworking – but she struggles to be heard in the mid nineteenth century misogynistic medical world. She’s a fantastic character – I feel a real duty to the women in history who were ignored.
Is there a message you want the audience to take away from Dr Semmelweis?
I’d like people to feel for the women who died, and to consider how history has often glossed over suffering. It’s been so interesting talking about how change happens in medicine during the pandemic!
Where has been your favourite place to perform on stage and why?
I was lucky enough to go to New York with Phyllida Lloyd’s all female Shakespeare trilogy – we performed at St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn and I absolutely loved it!
What is the most rewarding thing about your work?
The fun I have with people – I get to mix with so many great people of all different ages.
What’s been a funny moment for you on stage? Any mishaps you want to share!?
I came on a scene too early once in Mamma Mia and had to style it out as it was quite a big entrance. The rest of the cast were creasing up!
Who are your influences and inspirations?
I love people who have a social conscience- people who fight for justice. I once interviewed Tony Benn and loved him. I loved Victoria Wood, French and Saunders and The Fast Show when I was younger – I love comedy. On stage it’s a joy to have worked with Harriet Walter – she taught me a lot. And now Mark!
Is there a role you would love to play in a show?
Falstaff in Henry IV or Anthony in Anthony & Cleopatra.
Where can people follow your work on Socials?