West End star Joanna Woodward answers the Random 19 questions


Based on the best-selling novel by Audrey Niffenegger, the musical adaptation of The Time Traveller’s Wife is scheduled for a West End run at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue this autumn. Joanna Woodward, who grew up in Glastonbury, will play the female lead, Clare. She attended St Dunstan’s School and Bridgwater College before going to The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. 

Her West End career began ten years ago in Sondheim’s Merrily We Roll Along, her list of theatre credits include playing Vivian Ward in Pretty Woman: The Musical (Piccadilly Theatre & Savoy Theatre) and Carole King in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Aldwych Theatre).

The Time Traveller’s Wife: The Musical has a heart-breaking and soaring original musical score by multi Grammy Award-winning composers Joss Stone and Dave Stewart, and is based on one of the best loved novels of the past 50 years. Henry and Clare’s love story is like no other and yet like all others; they meet, flirt, fight, love, marry … but all out of order. Henry is often and uncontrollably flung into time travel; he suffers from a rare condition where his genetic clock periodically resets, pulling him into his past or future, vanishing before one’s eyes, never knowing where or when he’s going next. Except he knows he’ll always come back to Clare – at some point in time.

And so to the questions …

1. What’s your relationship with Dorset?

I grew up in Glastonbury – what, 15 miles from the Dorset border? I loved it; the mix of people, the spirituality running through the place, the music and creativity … I was always going out to live gigs as a teenager, in between performing in the local amateur dramatics at Strode Theatre in Street.

2. The last film you watched? 

‘Pieces of a Woman’ on Netflix. I would strongly recommend it – Vanessa Kirby is outstanding in all that she does. It’s a very difficult piece to watch, but it’s important.

3. It’s Friday night – you have the house to yourself, and no work is allowed. What are you going to do?

Most parents will agree, once you’ve got the kids in bed it’s usually just dinner and crashing out in front of the television! But I can be found cooking a delicious vegan meal, lighting some candles, having a bath and reading a book.
Self-care is really important, especially as a working mum, so if I do manage some time alone, it’s all about re-filling my cup!

4. What was the last song you sang out loud in your car?

Definitely something Disney-related! I have two young girls and this is often our way of getting through long journeys. Possibly ‘Let It Go’ … or probably the current family favourite, ‘I’ve got a dream’ from Tangled.

5. What would you like to tell 15 year-old you?

Life seems really tough and scary, and it can be, but it also balances out with really beautiful things – if you’re open and willing to look for them. Never give up faith in yourself, you will get to where you want to be, as long as you stay true to your gut and have patience! 

6. Tell us about a sound or a smell that makes you happy?

I can do both! For a smell – my husband’s aftershave. Cheesy, but true. And sound – my 16 month-old has just started saying ‘I love you’ in a very cute toddler way, so when the girls say it to each other, I completely melt into a puddle!

7. The best crisps flavour?

All of them!
I am crisp mad and may have a problem. 


8. What’s you’re secret superpower?
I am highly sensitive. In the past I have been made to believe it’s a fault, but as I’ve got older I’ve realised that it’s not at all. It’s what allows me to be intuitive with others, and very in touch with my own emotions. So actually, it’s my superpower, and allows me to tell truthful stories as an actress. 

9. What book did you read recently that stayed with you? 

‘The Reason I Jump’ by Naoki Higashida. Such a beautiful, touching, incredible insight into the brain of an autistic child. 

10. What would you like to be remembered for?

Being someone that followed my heart and the things I believe in. Being a great storyteller. Being a good mum.

The man in the arena quote by Theodore Roosevelt

11. What shop can you not pass by?

Oliver Bonus! They just have the perfect mix of leopard print and sparkles, it pulls me in like nectar to a bee! 

12. Your favourite quote? 

It’s quite long but Theodore Roosevelt’s ‘The man in the arena’ speech is something I live by daily. It’s about daring greatly, living a full life and not listening to the critics who are not the ones actually in the arena (see image, top right) 

13. Tell us about one of the best evenings you’ve ever had?

Without a doubt, the night I got thrown on as Carole King in ‘Beautiful: the Carole King Musical’ in the West End. We were during previews with almost no rehearsals. It was terrifying and phenomenal and all my dreams coming true. When I got home I danced around the kitchen to ‘What a Feeling’. 

14. Your most annoying trait?

Overthinking everything! 

15. What was the last gift you either gave, or received?

I stayed at my best mate’s house recently and she left me a little make-up bag on the bed because she’s cute like that. She also left me a hot water bottle in the bed, which after a night of high heels and interviews was the best gift ever! 

16. Your top three most-visited websites?

Whatsonstage for all the latest theatre news, Find what feels good for my yoga fix and Bookshop.org so that I can feed my book addiction while supporting local book shops. 

17. What in life is frankly a mystery to you?

How on earth I created my daughters. I often look at them and wonder how that happened!

18. Cats or dogs?

I have both, but anybody who knows me knows that I turn gooey around dogs. ALL dogs. If you approach me with a dog, I won’t be saying hello to you first. Sorry. 

19. You have the power to pass one law tomorrow, uncontested. What would you do?

Childcare support for new parents. It is so hard for women to go back to work after having children.


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