Like Abby and Rufus in LITTLE DANCER I live in London, and several of the settings in the story are inspired by real places.
First of all, I LOVE going to the theatre! Big musicals like Phantom and The Bodyguard, worthy Shakespearean dramas and new contemporary plays — I’ll see them all. (Especially if they star one of my favourite leading men. I’ve been lucky enough to see Richard Armitage in The Crucible, Benedict Cumberbatch in Hamlet, Rufus Sewell in Art, Ralph Fiennes in Richard III and Bradley Cooper in The Elephant Man, to name a few.)
The theatre I imagine Rufus owning resembles the Wyndham in Soho or the Old Vic in Waterloo. (The Wyndham holds a special place in my heart as it’s where I saw David Morrissey in Hangmen.) It’s also a beautiful theatre:
What’s a show without dinner first? Partway through LITTLE DANCER Rufus takes Abby on their first date, and I imagine it to be like The Ivy. It’s one of the most beautiful restaurants in London. They do a posh mac n’ cheese with lobster — ugh, heaven.
And finally, I was most of all inspired by the freezing, dungeon-like and unglamorous backstage rooms of school and suburban theatres. I was a dance and drama student for ten years and in every school play that was put on. I can still feel the crackle of resin under my ballet shoes, and the sensation of being doused in hairspray and festooned with fabric flowers. I was never going to be professional, like Abby in LITTLE DANCER, but let’s just say what I lacked in talent I made up for in enthusiasm and love!