Alex Kingston on her Nottingham role in An Enemy of the People

Published: 7 September 2019
Reporter: Steve Orme

Alex Kingston has been talking about her role as Dr Stockmann in the Nottingham Playhouse production of Henrik Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People—a part written for a man but Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s adaptation reimagines Stockmann as a woman.

Kingston explains, “the fascinating thing is that, in rehearsals, sometimes I imagine if one of these characters would be talking to the character of Dr Stockmann as a man whether we’d have a different reaction or a different feeling to those words or that energy than when it’s being directed to a woman.”

The play centres on fake news, whistle-blowers and the corruption of power. It is set in contemporary Norway where Dr Stockmann discovers a town’s spa waters are poisoned. She presumes she will be treated as a heroine but instead she is accused by the Mayor of threatening the town’s livelihood.

Kingston is known for playing Dr Corday in the medical TV drama ER and River Song in Doctor Who.

She spent the first ten years of her career in regional theatre. She says, “that was kind of my apprenticeship. I left RADA thinking I knew it all, but it was only when I went from regional theatre to regional theatre—that’s where you learn your craft.

“I became an actress because I thought all I’d ever do is theatre. Way back then, we wouldn’t even imagine that we would do film let alone television.”

The cast of An Enemy of the People includes Malcolm Sinclair (Mayor Peter Mattsson), Deka Walmsley (Christopher Stockmann), Donna Banya (Petra), Richard Evans (Morten Kiil), Emma Pallant (Ulrika Hovstad), Jordan Peters (Billing), Karl Haynes (Horster), Tim Samuels (Aslaksen) and Daniel Fitzpatrick (drunk).

Nottingham Playhouse artistic director Adam Penford directs. Designer is Morgan Large and Tina MacHugh is lighting designer. Composer is Frans Bak and sound designer Drew Baumohl.

An Enemy of the People will run at Nottingham Playhouse from Friday 13 until Saturday 28 September.