The County You Live, Work And Play
East Kilbride War Horse
An East Kilbride actress has a starring role in a West End stage production of Michael Morpurgo’s much-celebrated children’s book War Horse.
Jane Reilly stage name Jayne McKenna – is playing the role of Rose Narracott, mother of the story’s human hero in the National Theatre’s acclaimed production currently on stage at the New London Theatre in the West End.
She is one of a new cast of 26 actors, who, along with 12 puppeteers, have been taken on for a year-long extension to the show.
War Horse tells the story of Joey, young Albert Narracott’s beloved horse and the danger, joy and sorrow it endures after it is sold to the British cavalry to serve in World War I and of young Albert’s attempts to bring him home.
An adaptation of the story was made into an award-winning film released in 2011 with a star-studded cast.
Now in its eighth year, the stage show has already been seen by over six million people worldwide and is still proving hugely popular with audiences.
This autumn a Chinese-language production will start a tour of China.
Mum-of-three Jane (43), who took to the stage in her role as Rose Narracott last month, said she was delighted to be appearing in such a prestigious production.
“It is a real joy to be part of it,” she said.
“Compared with most stage shows, which have a handful of actors, it is absolutely massive.
“It has a cast of 26 actors and 12 puppeteers every night and I am really enjoying being involved.”
And that’s despite also juggling being a wife and mother and a commute from Brighton where Jane now lives with husband Richard Dillane and their three boys, nine-year-old Austin, five-year-old Murray and two-and-a-half-year-old Roy.
“Fortunately, I can credit myself with staying power,” Jane added.
Originally from East Kilbride, where her mum still lives in Stewartfield, Jane is a former pupil of St Kenneth’s Primary and St Bride’s High schools.
At the age of around 14 she got a notion to be an actress and, like many other youngsters of the time, joined the Camelion Club, a drama group run in the Key Youth Club by Martin Dodds.
She proved a natural on the stage and when she left school, went to Langside College to undertake a foundation course in drama before gaining a place at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance – now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
She got her first professional role while still a student, acting in three Chekhov comedies at the Arches Theatre in Glasgow.
Since she graduated from the academy in 1995 she has had countless roles in various theatres throughout the length and breadth of the UK and throughout Europe, including in a production of Macbeth in the West End starring Sean Bean and a National Theatre production of Men Should Weep.
She has also appeared on film, radio and on television in shows such as Silent Witness, River City and Holby City.
And it was through acting she met her husband Richard, who is from Kent – she was the leading lady and he was the leading man when they appeared about 14 years ago in a production of Double Indemnity in a Theatre in Ipswich.
They celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary later this year.
Tickets for War Horse at the New London Theatre in Drury Lane can be purchased up to February 13, next year.
Jane as Rose Narracott with actor Colm Gormley as Ted Narracot