ACTRESS Su Pollard is headed to Taunton next month with her show Harpy.

Harpy is a one-woman performance of a drama by Philip Meeks.

We spoke to Su about her upcoming performance, lockdown and the excitement of getting back on the road...

How would you describe the show to someone who hasn’t seen it?

Harpy tells a funny and tragic story about one woman’s lifelong battle to find a treasured possession she once lost. It makes you think about the idea of mental health and how its dealt with. Birdie has mental health issues, but she also has a different way of looking at things that’s wiser than many of the characters she encounters.

What was it that initially drew you to the play?

Firstly, the big attraction was having a play written for me. That has never happened, so I was mega excited! Secondly, when I read the script, I was immediately struck by how real, sincere, poignant and funny it was. A piece well worth doing.

How does it feel to be back on stage after all we’ve gone through over the last year?

It’s absolutely wonderful to be getting back on stage and creating entertainment after all this time! I can’t wait to see people and engage with an audience. There’s such a buzz from live theatre, and it has been greatly missed. in a theatre again

While you’ve not been able to perform during the pandemic, what’s been keeping you busy?

As I’m quite a sociable person I have to admit lockdown hit me hard. I remember after we had to stop doing Harpy, we travelled back into London which was like a ghost town. It felt like the end of the world.

For the first week or so I had a clear out at home. Then I was considering having another clear out. I could have been left with an empty house, but Philip Meeks sent me a load of books.

In the second lockdown of course, I was rehearsing for Master Chef. I must have cooked each dish I did about twenty times. I’d taken portions round to my neighbours and they’d tell me if I’d improved. I think they were glad I didn’t make it to the finals, or they might have had to move.

Do you think modern discussions of mental health are inclusive of an older generation, or do we focus too much on the millennials?

Mental Health is now thankfully on the agenda and people are able to talk openly about it. But only a few decades ago it was still a taboo subject. There must be thousands of older people who’ve lived their lives with illnesses like chronic depression but have never been able to say how they feel, and I think their voices and experiences are unheard.

It’s also an issue that someone like Birdie, who had an extreme and more obvious mental illness, will have been through so many shifts in medication over the last few years. Mental health drugs are developing at a high rate. In the play she’s stopped taking her pills and I can’t say I blame her.

What do you want audiences to take away from the production?

I’d like to think that they come away feeling hope and a bit more empathy about people who behave differently to themselves. Often, we latch on to those around us who are seen to not be “normal” because they make us look completely sane, stable and socially acceptable, when if truth be told we all have our foibles and odd ways.

Harpy is also a play about the lives that touch us where we live. Birdie collects lost stories and the histories of people long gone and forgotten. Hopefully it will make you look differently at the people you see every day where you live.

Sue will be at The Brewhouse on November 16 at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £22.

To book visit thebrewhouse.net or call 01823 283244.