Donna Gray talks playing Sybil at Adelaide Fringe, Sydney Opera House and Raffles Hotel Singapore.

Today I’m chatting to Donna Gray who, in her fourth year of playing Sybil for Interactive Theatre International, has just returned from a fantastic tour that included Adelaide Fringe Festival, Sydney Opera House, and Raffles Hotel Singapore.


‘How are you recovering from the jet lag?!’


‘The jet lag was fine coming home to the UK – I just woke up a bit early with a headache for a few days. But going out to Australia it took me 10 days to adjust! I felt like someone was pressing down on my head and I just ate breakfast for four days as I was confused about meal times… I kept waking up at 3:00am wanting a roast dinner!


‘Gosh, how confusing! Impressive that you found the energy to perform every day!’


‘Adrenalin gets you through the show – It always amazes me how it kicks in and I become ‘switched on’ for two hours every night.’


‘I bet! Donna may be exhausted but Sybil’s always on form! So… tell me a bit about Adelaide Fringe Festival.’


‘I was really impressed with Adelaide Fringe. The whole city comes alive for the month and they go to great lengths to put on a fantastic parade to launch it all. They decorate the park full of fairy lights and name it ‘The Garden of Unearthly Delights’. As well as all the tents with lots of shows going on they have coconut juice stalls with DJ booths and an old bus full of vintage clothes where all the proceeds go to charity. It’s not as big or as full-on as Edinburgh, but it’s certainly growing and attracting some big names. I loved it because it was warm! I loved walking to work in the sunshine and being hot. I’d swap that for rainy Edinburgh any day!!’


Donna Adelaide Sybil Adelaide











The Garden of Unearthly Delights, Adelaide Basil and Sybil at Adelaide’s Ambassadors Hotel


‘And what were your audiences like?”


‘The audiences that came to the show were maybe half locals, half tourists. Like lots of Festivals, people plan their holiday when there is something happening in the city so they have things to do during their trip. The audiences in Adelaide were just lovely!!!’


‘And it must have been such an honour to perform at Sydney Opera House?’


‘Oh wow yes – it was such a buzz! I kept taking photos as I walked towards it and posting them on Facebook saying things like “Just another day at the office”. In the Green Room there are TV monitors showing all the different shows going on at once and you can hear opera through the tanoy in the dressing room. It makes you feel a part of something very special.’


Donna SOH











Sydney Opera House


‘How did your audiences there differ from Adelaide?’


‘They were great audiences in Sydney – really lovely people that were very excited by having a unique experience. They were coming for Michelin Star gourmet cuisine [by Aria] but with the Faulty Towers show service – how’s that for a juxtaposition!’


‘Hahaha indeed! Raffles Singapore sounds like an equally impressive venue. We received a rush of outstanding feedback and reviews during that week – were those performances particularly special?’


‘Yes, it was lovely there. The staff were impeccable!! In fact we had to stop them being too good as we needed problems to improvise off. There were lots of locals who came to the show who had wondered exactly what they had let themselves in for, but they absolutely loved the slapstick of Basil and Manuel, and by the time mains were served they understood the concept (having never watched the TV show) and were totally absorbed by the whole experience. We had lots of expats and holiday-makers at Raffles and the show certainly brightened their day; we had several standing ovations. Gush, gush… 😉 ‘


FT Raffles









Raffles Hotel Singapore


‘It’s wonderful to hear that audiences who don’t know the show can enjoy it just as much as old fans.’


‘Oh yes – the show certainly stands up on its own for people that don’t know the TV show.’


‘Well it sounds like it’s been a really fantastic couple of months! Where will you be performing with us next? And what are you up to in the meantime?’


‘Ive got a trip to Sweden soon: my first show on a cruise ship! Apart from that I’m writing my new stage show ‘Pamela’ (watch this space) and I’m doing some filming too. Oh – and I’m renovating my house – it’s actually a building site at the moment!’


Rebecca Glockner – Marcomms Exec

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