Less of a panic for Tamsin as Barnum takes the stage

Christopher Fitzgerald and Tamsin Carroll rehearsing for Barnum

Christopher Fitzgerald and Tamsin Carroll rehearsing for Barnum

CBBC Presenter Michael Absalom  visits You're a Star Theatre School

Theatre school visited by CBBC presenter

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All around her, people will be pushing themselves to the limits of their physical abilities.

But Tamsin Carroll, who plays Barnum’s wife in Barnum, the huge summer spectacular in Chichester Festival Theatre’s temporary new Theatre in the Park, insists she won’t feel she’s missing out on the action.

‘It will be less panicky for me, perhaps, but maybe more terrifying, just the fact that I am watching everyone else do it.’

‘I am quite a gung-ho person. I like to be really physical in the shows I do, and I will feel slightly jealous of all the people doing all the extraordinary things. But it’s just great to be part of a particularly-wonderful group of people – a very positive group of people that just say yes to everything.’

The musical, which runs until August 31, follows the imagination and dreams of Phineas T Barnum, America’s Greatest Showman. The story of his life and his marriage to Chairy reveals a couple who looked at the world from opposite sides of the spectrum, and also reveals that she was the practical one who made his dreams come true.

‘It’s a remarkable story,’ Tamsin says. ‘He was a great impresario. He was just an extraordinary person, and there was so much imagination in what he did.

‘It’s an era where there was so much more life to the imagination.

‘They talk about humbugging, about making people believe things that aren’t real, and we don’t really have enough of that any more. We don’t use our imaginations enough, but this was really all about imagination.’

‘I am playing Barnum’s wife, and she is the glue that keeps him grounded. They are really quite different people by nature. He is all about seeing the world in big bold bright colours.

‘They are just different – but that’s the great richness to their relationship.’

A big part of the excitement for the company is the fact that they have got in effect their own purpose-built big top for the show: ‘I was talking to someone from the CFT staff, and she was saying that they can see the dog-walkers getting closer and closer wanting to see what this big new theatre is all about.’

Originally from Australia, Tamsin now very much considers the UK home: ‘I am based over here. My husband is British. I have been back and forth for the last four or five years, and I am now part of the furniture over here, and I like it.

‘I am even getting used to your winters. I quite like them now.’

Tickets: £10 to £40 from CFT on (01243) 781312 or go to cft.org.uk.

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