Advocates: Nina Sosanya

Nina Sosanya is an English actress who has found acclaim on both stage and screen. She has performed with both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre - for the latter she played Pearl in Alan Ayckbourn's 2000 production of House & Garden.


"Alan Ayckbourn was the last thing I expected to do. I’d trained as a dancer and his plays didn’t seem to have space for somebody like me. They were about middle England - the irony being I’m from middle England. To be honest, I had an opinion of him even though I’d never seen or read his plays, so I had no idea what they really entailed. How dark and profound and how funny they can be. Just auditioning for House & Garden changed that. The character - Pearl - made sense to me straight away. Alan sat there chuckling. It was very satisfying.

"The two plays were staged simultaneously in 2000, directed by Alan, at the National Theatre -
House in the Lyttelton, Garden in the Olivier next door. We had two rehearsal rooms and someone had taped out a track to match the distance between the two theatres. You left one rehearsal room, weaved through the building, past the dressing rooms, before you arrived at the rehearsal room next door. That was hilarious in itself.

"He’s very loyal with actors. I remember the read through. The calibre of actors was ridiculous: David Haig, Sian Thomas, Jane Asher. They all seemed to grasp the style straight away. Their timing was impeccable, their characterisation outstanding. While I was desperately trying to find a subtext or a fresh angle, they knew it was already there on the page. Alan knows exactly how to get a laugh.

"Really, his England is no different from anywhere else. It’s a microcosm for examining human interactions such as love and betrayal, trust and friendship.
House & Garden is absolutely not about a country fête. It’s a shame we don’t see more Ayckbourn today. There’s almost a feeling it’s too of its time. Too establishment, too middle-class, too white. I wish they were marketed a bit differently. He’s due a renaissance because, well, he’s a master."
Copyright: Nina Sosanya. All research for this page by Simon Murgatroyd, please credit this website if reproduced.