The Duchess of Sussex has made her theatre debut. Her National Theatre debut that is. She visited her new patronage yesterday afternoon to see the work of the National Theatre.
Meghan visited with three different areas of the National Theatre: she took part in a workshop with the Public Acts Pericles Company; she met with technician apprentices who work behind the scenes; and then she watched a performance of War Horse by the schoolchildren from Edith Neville Primary School in Camden, who participate in the Primary School Programme.
A fantastic performance at @NationalTheatre inspired by War Horse by schoolchildren from Edith Neville Primary School in Camden, which was created to mark the centenary of Armistice Day. pic.twitter.com/A2TLnWflwW
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) January 30, 2019
Speaking to The Telegraph afterwards, Tahmina Begum said that “Meghan knows how it feels for us as she used to be an actress, so I hope she was impressed by what she saw.”
Another student, Kroni Pacolli, said that “We didn’t know who was coming, just that it was a VIP. I thought maybe it was the Duke of Edinburgh or George Ezra. But then when they said it was a female VIP, I thought, ‘Yes! Rita Ora!”
The members of the Public Act Pericles Company—almost all of whom are non-professionals who have never acted before—participated in a workshop with Meghan where she watched their warm-ups and as several actors rehearsed their lines.
She was told by a 13-year-old actor named Blessing that the next production would be an adaptation of Shakespeare’s As You Like It, to which the Duchess replied, “Oh, that’s so exciting!”
Her Royal Highness reminisced about her own acting career during her visit. “It’s unbelievable to be out on stage, that whole sense of self that comes out…just so wonderful.”
Meghan studied at Northwestern University in Chicago and graduated with a double major in theatre and international relations.
The Duchess of Sussex also met with technical apprentices working metalwork, carpentry, props and painting; as well as a Lighting Technician.
“From all diverse technical backgrounds, you are all coming together to make one thing,” Meghan told them. “It’s so wonderful.”
After the Duchess left, Rufus Norris, the Director of the National Theatre was asked by reporters if he thought she would come back to watch a production.
“That’s absolutely a matter for Kensington Palace, but obviously she’s got her own production coming up,” he said, in reference to Meghan’s pregnancy.
When Meghan’s patronage was announced in early January, Norris said that “The National Theatre’s mission is to make world-class theatre that is entertaining, challenging and inspiring for everyone and to be as inclusive, diverse and national as possible.
“The Duchess shares our deeply-held conviction that theatre has the power to bring together people from all communities and walks of life.”
The Duchess of Sussex inherited the patronage of the National Theatre from The Queen, who’d been its patron for 45 years.