INTERVIEW: PATRICIA HODGE
INTERVIEW: PATRICIA HODGE
Interview: as she takes to the stage in Private Lives at Richmond Theatre, Patricia Hodge tells us about her life in Barnes, and her incredible career…
Actor Patricia Hodge’s diverse career has spanned comedy turns in Miranda, seen her grace Downtown Manor, don a wig in Rumpole of the Bailey and tread the boards in highly acclaimed plays such as A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, His Dark Materials, and Money, at the National, for which she won the Olivier for Best Supporting Actress.
Her latest role is in Noël Coward’s witty play Private Lives, in which she stars with Nigel Havers. This will be the inaugural show for The Nigel Havers Theatre Company, which will be touring the country with a line-up of performances, visiting Richmond Theatre with Private Lives in November.
Patricia will play Amanda and Nigel as Elyot, the role taken by Noël Coward himself in the original production in 1930. The story sees Elyot and Amanda, who were once married, in adjoining rooms in the same hotel on the French coast, both on honeymoon with their new partners. They are horrified but soon realise they still have feelings for each other.
While she has worked with Nigel before on television, this is the first time they have teamed up for the theatre. We speak just after rehearsals and Patricia is excited…
“It’s a very good play with – one of great comedy plays of the 20th century while also having depth and the full gamut of human emotions. We’re rehearsing very diligently and it is more complicated than it appears.”
The play will tour, with Patricia looking forward to the reactions of different audiences around the country. Living in Barnes, Richmond is her ‘local’ and she has a great affection for the theatre, having played there many times.
Originally from Lincolnshire, the actor moved to Barnes in 1975, and is firmly attached to the south west London enclave. She and her husband, music publisher Peter Owen, who sadly passed away in 2016 from dementia, raised their two boys in the area. “I’m very devoted to Barnes. It is a lovely hybrid between London and the country.
“I love the river and we’re near to Putney Common and Richmond Park for glorious walks. I also love the independent shops and the Olympic Cinema.”
For relaxation, she is a keen swimmer – “it sets you up for the day,” she says. She also loves going to London’s grand buildings. “I love visiting places such as the Royal Albert Hall or the Royal Opera House – they’re just so magisterial.”
Next for Patricia is some more television work. As to whether she prefers stage or screen, she says: “Television and film requires a different set of skills – you need to miniaturise things, in theatre, that is where the great work is done. And the audience really lets you know if it is working or not, particularly with comedy.”
While her career is full of accolades and top roles, and she says she’d be hard pushed to name her favourite parts: “You like whatever you are doing at the time. Your instinct will tell you what you can do with a role, you decide whether you take it, and then you make a commitment.”
She advises aspiring actors: “You have to be prepared for not working – as one director tells it, acting is a part-time job. It ebbs and flows.”
Next for Patricia is some more television work, which she can’t reveal yet. As to whether she prefers stage or screen, she says: “Television and film require a different set of skills – you need to miniaturise things, in theatre, that is where the great work is done. And the audience really lets you know is it is working or not, particularly with comedy.”
- Private Lives, Richmond Theatre. 9 – 13 November. Tickets here.