INTERVIEW: Emily Ashton, Belle in The Wedding Planners, a new musical comedy by Gillian Duffy & Alyson Orr at Eastwood Park Theatre this October

Mairi has her dream job running the ‘I Do’ wedding agency, planning that special day for brides to be all over the country. But it’s not all plain sailing – she has to deal with Bridezillas, Wild Hen Nights and making sure there’s always plenty of Prosecco on tap!

Mairi is also fed up being single; she can’t wait to find her Mr Right -she’s on every dating site there is, but she still can’t find her Prince Charming. And to make matters worse, her colleagues Rose and Belle (played by Emily) are both in relationships.

As Mairi continues to search for romance, she stumbles upon a secret that threatens to plunge the agency into chaos and ruin everything for an unsuspecting bride to be.

The Wedding Planners is the hilarious girls’ night out you won’t want to miss!

Tell us a little bit about the play.

It’s an original musical-comedy that takes place in the office of the ‘I Do’ wedding planner’s agency. It focuses mostly on the lives of and relationships between the three wedding planners that work there – Rose, Belle and Mairi – with plenty of surprises, fun and laughs along the way!

And your role…?

I play feisty and fun Belle! She’s a bit of a party animal and a Tinderella but at the end of the day she always gets the work done too! Work hard, play hard (maybe harder!) – I think that’s what Belle’s motto would be.

The play uses different types of languages, can you tell us more about that?  

The three girls tend to go into ‘wedding planner’ mode, which means a lot of wedding jargon! My character in particular likes to talk about online dating too, which is a different world altogether.

Can we go back a bit and talk about what inspired you to become an actor and the path you took to become one?

I come from a very musical family, therefore growing up I was constantly surrounded by musicians and performers! I was fortunate enough at a very young age to experience a day at work with my Dad – which just so happened at the time to be the Lyceum Theatre in London! Watching the show (Jesus Christ Superstar – now one of my favourite musicals!) along with seeing all of the ‘magic’ backstage got me totally hooked. I grew up performing with an amazing local youth theatre (Kayos), and then later some of the great amateur theatre companies local to Inverclyde. I always knew that I wanted to be an actress, however, wanting me to have something stable to fall back on, my parents encouraged me to go to university before going to drama school. I studied Theatre Studies at Glasgow University for four years, and three months after graduating I found myself at The Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, training to be a professional actress! I graduated from ALRA in 2014 and have been out in the big bad world ever since.

Any advice for aspiring performers?

Everyone will tell you that it is one of the hardest professions to get into and to make a living from – and they would be right! However if you were born to be a performer, you will have it in you to combat every knock back, rejection or obstacle that comes your way. Stay true to yourself and work on believing in yourself too – self confidence is so important in this industry. Always do what makes you happy – even if that sometimes means leaving the profession for a while, or going down a slightly different path from what you imagined. Learn from and appreciate everyone that you work with, and never see anything as a ‘failure’ – only another opportunity to learn and grow from.

Finally, why should people come along to see the play? And where else can we see it?

The Wedding Planners is guaranteed to be a great night out for everyone! It’s full of laughs and the music is brilliant too. We have amazingly catchy, original songs penned by the very talented Alyson who plays Rose, so it will be a great chance to hear some new music as well as having a right giggle. It’s also a great excuse to pop some prosecco (as if we need a reason for that!). The show is playing in various lovely venues including Glasgow’s Oran Mor, The Beacon in Greenock, Paisley Arts Centre, Motherwell Theatre, Eastwood Park and East Kilbride Arts Centre. We’re even going to Irvine (Harbour Arts Centre) and Livingston (Holden Park Centre) too!

Tickets for The Wedding Planner at Eastwood Park Theatre on Wednesday 30 October are available now, priced at £15 standard: eastwoodparktheatre.co.uk/boxoffice.