Exclusive: Lily Cole To Play Lead Role In ADC Show

Supermodel Lily Cole will play a lead role in an ADC play this term, The Tab can exclusively reveal.

ADC Lily Cole the seagull

Supermodel Lily Cole will play a lead role in an ADC play this term, The Tab can exclusively reveal.

Cole, who studies History of Art at King’s, will play the role of Nina in Checkov’s nineteenth-century classic The Seagull which opens on March 1st.

The cast of the show began rehearsing a week ago out of the spotlight in a college room and  Jacob Sheperd, who is playing Sorin in the play, said that she would be treated like any other actress.

He told The Tab: “I’m not big into celebrities and all that. I’m going to treat her the same way as anyone else in the cast.

“She’s been cast as Nina and Richard, the director, is not the type to cast someone based on their celebrity status. She must be talented and I think working with the whole cast is going to be very rewarding”.

News that Cole was planning to try-out for a role in The Seagull meant that the auditions were unusually popular at the end of last term.

One thesp who wishes to remain anonymous, told The Tab: “Word got out that she was trying out for the play, and there were loads of people at auditions.

“Now a few of the people who got the parts are pretty unbearable. You just hear them in the ADC bar telling everyone who will listen about the production they’re doing ‘with Lily’

“There have been a few raised eyebrows. She’s just walked into the lead role of an ADC Main Show, having never done student theatre before – that is pretty unusual”.

The Seagull will not be Cole’s first experience of acting. She played Polly the geek in the 2007 school comedy St. Trinian’s.

And in 2009 the supermodel’s acting career started for real when she was cast as Velentina in Terry Gilliam’s 2009 fantasy film The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, the film that Heath Ledger’s untimely death prevented him from completing.


Lily Cole and Verne Troyer talk about The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus

Afterwards the acclaimed director said about Cole that “If she wants a career as an actress, she has a brilliant future”

Last year Cole said that she “wouldn’t want to treat acting as a convenient thing to do now and again”, but some Cambridge thesps have questioned her suitability for the role of Nina – the fading actress who is infatuated with famous people.

An undergraduate who auditioned for the play said that it isn’t a good fit: “All I say is, she’s going to have a difficult time convincing an audience of the tragedy of Nina’s desperation, when she’s famous for being one of the most advantaged girls in the world. There will be a lot of pressure to prove it’s not a gimmick”.

And former Tab Theatre Editor Jessica Patterson added sardonically: “Lily Cole in a play about the failed projects of unfulfilled actors and artists? Let’s just hope it’s a self-concious stab at some kind of post-modernist irony and not a self-fulling prophecy.”

Cole will hope to have a better first night on March 1st than the first actress to play the part of Nina, Vera Komissarzhevskaya, who capped off a disastrous performance in 1896 by losing her voice, forcing Chekhov himself to leave the audience and go backstage.

The ADC’s production of The Seagull will be a new version of the play by Selwyn third year Simon Haines, who will also play Trigorin, the character who kisses Cole’s character Nina passionately in Act 3.

Haines said he didn’t want to comment on the supermodel’s participation in the show, but said he was looking forward to it: “It’s a great cast. They all auditioned very well. It’s just a normal production as far as we’re concerned”.

So far only 12 per cent of tickets have sold, but ADC Marketing Manager Richard Bates said he expected a sell-out. “Most of the shows at the ADC are sell-outs and I’d expect this one to be popular too”. Tickets can be purchased on the ADC’s website.

And Bates says that the theatre was treating it like any other show: “It’s not in the ADC’s philosophy to treat anyone differently. She’s doing this as an unpaid student like everyone else so there won’t be any special preference or treatment.

“Everyone here is acting in their spare time and for free, and it’s great that she is doing that too, especially when – as a celebrity – she could be doing paid work”.

Asked whether the theatre will have to put extra measures in place to deal with media attention, Bates replied: “We’ll have to assess that nearer the time. No-one is allowed to take photos in the theatre anyway”.