Sheffield theatre audiences to be spellbound by Harry Potter actress Izzy

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Austen,         , Writer - Jane Austen, Director - Tamara Harvey, Designer - Lez Brotherston, Lighting - Oliver Fenwick, Sheffield Theatres, 2015, The Crucible Theatre, Credit: Johan Persson/
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE by Austen, , Writer - Jane Austen, Director - Tamara Harvey, Designer - Lez Brotherston, Lighting - Oliver Fenwick, Sheffield Theatres, 2015, The Crucible Theatre, Credit: Johan Persson/
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Harry Potter actress Izzy Laughland is now casting her spell on Sheffield audiences as the heroine of a stage adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Izzy plays Jane Austen’s famous character Elizabeth Bennet, a young woman who has to overcome her prejudice against the aristocratic and aloof Mr Darcy.

In his turn, he has to conquer his pride when he falls in love with a feisty young woman who is several ranks below him socially.

Izzy said of Elizabeth: “I absolutely love her. I discovered when I was 16 and doing my GCSEs.

“I felt a real kind of connection with her, who she was and how she was not prepared to settle. I was just at the point of discovering about boys and what you are prepared to put up with and how you want the world to perceive you.

“Elizabeth Bennet came into my life at quite an important time.”

As a teenager, Izzy played Hogwarts pupil Leanne in the final three Harry Potter Films, Harry Potter and ther Half-Blood Prince and both parts of the Deathly Hallows.

Leanne and her friend Katie get caught up in Voldemort’s plots when Katie innocently agrees to deliver a parcel she is given in the village Hogsmeade to the school and ends up being cursed, left floating in the air.

Later, Leanne joins Dumbledore’s Army and is seen fighting the Dementors.

Izzy said: “It was absolutely extraordinary time that I will never ever forget.

“Going into the Great Hall and doing a read-through was insane. That was memorable.

“I kept one of the call sheets for a scene that was just Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith and me. It was just bizarre!

“I was more kind of in awe of meeting the main three actors, Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. I had been growing up with them since I was little, seeing them in the films.

“They are the sweetest, loveliest human beings you could meet.”

Izzy says she is still friends with Daniel and Rupert and is impressed by the way they have made the transition to other other acting roles.

As far as her own career is concerned, she has now appeared several times on the London stage, winning a best newcomer nomination for her role in Neverland at the Royal Court, and done TV and film work.

She said of Pride and Prejudice “I think it’s going to be joyous and show the everyday of this woman’s life. There’s one scene where the teenagers are just doing laundry but there’s also a lot of dancing!”

The cast have been working with choreographer Scott Ambler on the dance and movement scenes.

Izzy said: “I had a moment with Mr Bingley (Adam Buchanan) when we were learning to dance and I thought, ‘I’m getting paid to do this’. I’m literally skipping to work every day!”

The play will be very different from the popular 1995 BBC adaptation starring Colin Firth, said Izzy. “We’re keeping some of the traditional aspects and allowing ourselves to be free in terms of costume and playing with people, especially with Mr Darcy.

“Netherfield is very much his world, then I come in and am trying to provoke him in some way and be flirty with him.”

There are several black members of the cast, including Michele Austin, who plays Elizabeth’s mother, and Elizabeth’s sisters Jane and Kitty, played by Ronke Adekoluejo and Leona Allen.

Izzy said: “I think that’s very exciting. I don’t think it’s as much of an issue as it is on TV or film, theatre is much more real and open.

“The question is if it’s going to be this much of a big deal that there is a mix of mixed race actresses like me and black actresses.”

Asked to imagine what a modern-day Elizabeth Bennet would be like, Izzy said: “I think she’d be fun.

“She’d glide into 21st-century life, I think she’d be alright.

“I think Mr Darcy would be fine too because he is prepared to marry so far below his own status. It doesn’t mean anything to him.”

Pride and Prejudice is at the Crucible until June 6. Box office: 0114 249 6000 or go online at www.sheffieldtheatres.co.uk