The heavily pregnant Duchess of Sussex will soon have her own “production” ready for the world, the director of the National Theatre has joked.
Meghan’s first official visit to the attraction since becoming its patron saw her chatting to community actors, meeting backstage apprentices and watching potential stage stars of the future, primary school youngsters performing a War Horse inspired piece.
Rufus Norris, director of the National Theatre on London’s South Bank, described the new relationship between his organisation and the duchess, a former actress, as a “natural fit”.
Asked when Meghan, who wore a Brandon Maxwell mini-dress and coat, would be returning to the theatre its director replied: “Absolutely a matter for Kensington Palace and obviously she’s got her own production coming up.”
During the event Meghan commented on a previous private visit she had made to the theatre and reminisced about a trip to see a West End theatre production of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime, first staged at the National Theatre.
The duchess has an affinity with the National Theatre after spending a decade working as an actress in television, where she was best known for her role in the hit US legal drama series Suits, playing paralegal-turned-lawyer Rachel Zane.
On her first visit as Patron The Duchess of Sussex is finding out more about the @NationalTheatre's work with arts and community organisations across the UK using theatre as a force for change. pic.twitter.com/oIlj4XvJJk— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) January 30, 2019
Mr Norris said about the collaboration between his organisation and the duchess, who succeeded the Queen as patron: “It’s a natural fit because she knows what a rehearsal room is, she knows what dressing rooms are and is passionate about the impact the arts can have.”
He added: “The duchess is a very dynamic new member of the royal family and so there is a lot of interest around her, and I think particularly because this relationship makes absolute sense for us and for her.
“We had a very, very good relationship with Her Majesty the Queen and are massively grateful of the work she has put in to support this organisation since she became our royal patron in 1974, but I think time moves on and if a change is going to happen we couldn’t be more delighted in the way that it’s gone.”
Meghan has a stage background having studied theatre and international relations at Northwestern University, Illinois, and volunteered at a performing arts after-school programme for youngsters from underprivileged school districts in Los Angeles.
Talking about her own acting experience she said: “It’s unbelievable to be out on stage, that whole sense of self that comes out…just so wonderful.”
The National Theatre’s director revealed the duchess had spoken about Greek tragedies and her “knowledge of Greek tragic heroes, and what a big part of her time in Northwestern (University) that was”.
During the visit Meghan was briefed on the National Theatre’s programme to bring drama to school children, and was told how an adapted version of its hit production The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time has toured 60 schools.
She reminisced about seeing the West End version of the show with Harry, saying: “I love the book and the production is incredible, great for kids to follow that.”
Harry and Meghan were photographed during that theatre night in December 2016, the first time they had been pictured together as a couple.
Ordinary Londoners who have appeared at the National Theatre, thanks to organisation’s community outreach programme, gave the duchess a brief performance from their production of Shakespeare’s Pericles staged last summer.
Her Majesty The Queen has passed on the Royal Patronage of the @NationalTheatre to The Duchess of Sussex having held the role for the past 45 years, and has been associated with the organisation since its earliest days at the Old Vic in the 1960s. pic.twitter.com/SJLdwFKRTr— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) January 30, 2019
She then met some of the cast, including 13-year-old Blessing who was in a wheelchair.
Bending down so she could speak eye-to-eye with the school girl Meghan asked her about the company’s next performance.
Told it was another Shakespeare play, As You Like It, Meghan exclaimed: “Oh that’s so exciting.”
Before leaving she watched primary school children perform part of their production inspired by the story War Horse and met the pupils afterwards.
Kroni Pacolli, 10, said after chatting to Meghan: “I’m speechless. She came and shook my hand and I’m never going to wash this hand again!”