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SPOTLIGHT: Cara Roberts shares the magic of THE KING OF BROKEN THINGS

Barbara Loots


The international award winning, THE KING OF BROKEN THINGS is an adventurous and magical excursion into the rehabilitation of broken and discarded objects, hearts included. The show takes you on a bittersweet journey, viewed through the unfiltered mind of a child, wise beyond his year.

We were absolutely mesmerised by this production, currently onstage at the Baxter Theatre. It stars the talented, Cara Roberts (CR), who shared some thoughts about this magical show with us:

1.⁠ ⁠Where did your love for theatre start? Do you remember your first theatrical experience?

CR: ⁠I used to do my homework in the SABC green room and backstage in theatres so I was lucky enough to spend a lot of my childhood in spaces where I watched actors. Between those moments and two fantastic drama teachers I think my love started there somewhere, but I wasn’t aware of how much the bug had bitten until I got my first role in a stage show. It was for a tiny festival in Camden, and I was doing odd little jobs in the UK. After that I was hooked.


2.⁠ ⁠What was your reaction when reading the script for the first time? What made you decide this was a project you would want to be a part of?

CR: The first time I read The King Of Broken Things I just cried. I was blown away by its beauty, but also completely overwhelmed by the challenge of playing a young boy and the emotional weight there. I went and made tea and read it again. It was only a couple of weeks later when Michael Taylor-Broderick phoned me (thinking I didn’t like it) that I had to admit how beautiful it was and agreed to do it. We still laugh about it to this day. I knew from the very first line that I wanted to be a part of this project, no matter what it took.


3.⁠ ⁠How did you prepare for this role? Did you have to develop or explore any specific performance techniques?

⁠CR: Michael and I rehearsed for three weeks. It was intensive. Just before we opened (at Hilton Arts Festival) I was filled with doubt and fear and Michael just said “I believe in you". I couldn’t have done it without his commitment. There aren’t any specific techniques I can name, but I can say that, in order to get focused, I need about an hour to myself, in quiet, before I jump on stage. Also, I have to stretch a LOT because in real life I am not 10 years old!

4.⁠ ⁠The play appeals to both adults and children alike: How has audience reactions differed depending on age?

CR: The children are amazed by the magic of theatre, and adults are often moved to tears by the story. We appreciate every audience member from 8 years old to 108 years old, and their feedback!


5.⁠ ⁠Was the play primarily developed as youth theatre? It so strongly resonates with adult audiences too.

CR: The play was not primarily developed as youth theatre. We began this journey with adults in mind as a target audience. We have been lucky to have the children coming too! The show speaks to the child that lives in all of us.


6.⁠ ⁠Is there a part of/moment in the play that still takes you by surprise?

CR: Yes, after many, many performances I am still always surprised at just how nervous I get before I get up there. Sweaty hands and shaky legs and all!


7.⁠ ⁠What do you see as your next big theatre adventure, when this one has finished working its magic?

CR: I am waiting to see. I would love to play a very different role, the challenges are what keep us going as actors.

You can see THE KING OF BROKEN THINGS at the Baxter Theatre until 18 May 2024, with tickets available for booking online through Webtickets. No under 10s and no late entry. Read our full review here.


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