The Wind in the Willows: Ratty’s Gang

November 22, 2018

The cast of  The Wind in the Willows are now well into their stride, with a very busy month ahead! We caught up with Andrew, who plays Ratty, to see how he’s settling in…

  • What’s your day like? What time do you have to get to the theatre?

The busiest part of my day is before I get to the theatre! I have two little chaps who need dressing, feeding and delivering to various responsible adults before arriving at Polka an hour and a half before the show.  And when I arrive there is Kara Taylor and Phil to look after!


  • Is there lots to do before the show?

There are four important things we do at the start of each day. We warm up our bodies and voices, practice two of the songs from the show, slowly go through the battle for Toad Hall, and make sure all the things we need in the show are positioned in the right place.


  • Do you have any routines or superstitions?

As soon as I get to theatre I put the kettle on and say hello to our team. Then I warm up, which involves a lot of humming and rolling around the floor! I always end my warm up with some tongue twisters. Two of my favourites are: “Which wristwatches are Swiss wristwatches?” and “A big black bug bit a big black bear and made the big black bear bleed blood”!


  • What’s your dressing room like?

Small! Especially when you share with Edd and Phil…


  • What do you do when you’re not on stage?

Usually you can find me in the traps system ready to pop out for my next entrance. I love the traps system at the Polka! It’s the passage ways underneath the stage, which we can use to pop up in unexpected places. If you imagine a small, dark maze you won’t be far off!


  • You must all be very good friends now. Do you have lots of fun backstage?

I LOVE being backstage! Let me give you some insight to the other actors backstage – Phil is usually drying an item of clothing (he’s sweatier than most other humans), Edd will be listening to 80’s dance classics on his phone, Kara Taylor will be reading one of her many, many ‘good luck’ cards, Jess will be singing along with one of the dance classics and Andrea will be sipping coffee and having a natter.

There is always lots of laughter and bags of fun backstage. I feel very lucky to be with such a great bunch of actors.


  • Do other people work on the show or is it just the actors now?

They would never leave the actors on their own! We would be utterly lost without Jordan and Emma, our brilliant and crucial stage managers. Jordan lives in the lighting box at the back of the auditorium. She has to make sure all the technical elements happen at the right time; lighting, projection, music and microphones change 852 times in the show! Emma stays with us actors in the ‘wings’ (hidden at the side of the stage) and makes all the practical elements happen at the right time. For instance, when Ratty and Moley are talking to Badger in his kitchen, Emma might be building Toad Hall secretly for the next scene.

Working in the theatre is a team game, which is a huge reason why I love being at the Polka!


Thanks so much for talking to us, Andrew – good luck for the rest of the run!

Next week we’ll be making mischief with Kara Taylor…


The Wind in the Willows

9 Nov – 17 Feb | Recommended Ages 5+