Give us your full name and the character you are playing.
I’m Mathew Foster, and I’m playing Petruchio – Son of Antonio, known in all Italy…
Where in the world are you from?
I was born in Newham, in East London, but grew up in Essex and then Surrey… I’ve moved around a bit!
What was your first theatrical experience, either on stage or in the auditorium?
The first that I can really remember is when I played Colonel Pickering in My Fair Lady in high school. I was in year 10 and the other leads were in year 11. There were definitely things before that, but I don’t remember them outside of the photographic evidence…
What was your first experience of Shakespeare?
I went on a school trip to the Globe when I was about 12 – we stood on the stage one by one, reciting a line from a scrap of paper – mine was “come on sir, perform your forward thrust – your passado!”. It was a thrill, and hopefully one I’ll get to repeat.
What’s the event in the play that you’re most excited about discovering?
For me, the exciting stuff is actually the small moments – silent interactions, little glances between characters, the way we learn to interact with each other – anything you can find as an actor that adds a stroke of detail. However I’m also looking forward to working with Charlotte (who’s playing Katharina) to work out the arc of our marital story…
Who’s your favourite character, other than your own?
Baptista! In our production of Shrew Baptista is a woman rather than a man, so there are certain subtle differences to find in the parent/child relationship, as well as in other aspects of the text. That one change affects so many others, and it’ll be interesting to see how that unfolds.
Tell us the title of your favourite play.
How can you have one?! There are too many to name, but right up there would be The Pillowman, After Miss Julie and Angels In America.
Who is your theatrical inspiration?
I have to say… I don’t have one. We’re fortunate to have so many illustrious actors to learn from in this country alone, and I’ve been lucky to work with a few of them since I started out. Anyone who works hard, strives to improve their craft, continues to enjoy the work and still remain a relatively grounded person is pretty inspirational in my book.
If you had to choose, who is your favourite actor?
I’m rubbish at these – Once again, I can’t name just one. Right now, because I have to choose, I’ll say Andrew Garfield. I saw Angels in America at the National Theatre recently, and he was incredibly different playing Prior – it’s a great example of an actor immersing themselves in a creation, and disappearing for a few hours onstage. I found him really moving, and totally unselfish.
What’s your favourite festival experience?
I’m actually not really a festival person. The only time I’ve ever been to one was when I worked at Wilderness Festival doing a play called Galithea for Shakespeare’s Globe! We had a little stage by a massive oak tree and a little lake, it was good fun – plenty of good food and not too rowdy – just my cup of tea!