Interview with Miss Marple, aka Sarah Thomas

Sarah Thomas plays Miss Marple in Middle Ground Theatre Company’s touring production of Agatha Christie’s A Murder Is Announced. She is best known for roles in Worzel Gummidge, and 25 years playing Glenda Wilkinson in BBC’s Last of the Summer Wine.

Tell us a little about A Murder is Announced
It’s a classic Agatha Christie plot, set in the fictional village of Chipping Cleghorn. An announcement appears in the local paper saying that there is going to be a murder at Little Paddocks at 6.30pm – the home of Letitia Blacklock. The villagers can’t resist turning up at the specified time to see what will happen. The lights go out and gun shots are fired! Suffice to say, there’s quite a mystery for Miss Marple to solve.

What’s it like to play Miss Marple?
She is great fun to play. There have been several Miss Marples on television over the years, all quite different. So the challenge is to find your own interpretation of Marple. She’s comes across as a harmless older lady but she is very astute and notices clues that the inspector sometimes misses and pieces all the evidence together.

Are you a fan of Agatha Christie?
Yes, I’ve read lots of her books in the past and enjoyed them. I didn’t know this story until I started working on the play. For our audiences, it doesn’t seem to matter whether people know the storyline or not – if they do, it just seems to make it easier to follow the plot more closely.

Is acting all you’ve ever wanted to do?
My mother introduced me to the arts by taking me to see plays and the ballet from a young age and instilling in me a love of theatre. So yes, and that is how it started. I went to drama school and then worked for many theatre companies. A mixture of theatre and television is perfect.

How long have you been touring with this show?
This is our fifth tour with the show – it first went out in 2015. It’s a lovely play to be in, so I was delighted to be invited back. I originally played the role of Bunny, who is amusing and quite dotty – but for the last two tours I’ve played Miss Marple.

A Murder Is Announced will be in The Courtyard’s Main House from Monday 3–Saturday 8 February. To book tickets, or for more information contact the Box Office on 01432 340555 or visit www.courtyard.org.uk.