Football Freddie stars Rhiannon Canoville-Ord and Richard Kay answer our quickfire questions about the show, their fascinating footie connections, and who is the best at keepie-uppies
Tell us a little bit about your character.
Rhiannon: Freddie is a young girl who lives and breathes football – particularly her favourite team, Town. She’s bright, outgoing and open to learning new things.
Richard: As well as playing Freddie’s Great-Great-Great Uncle Fred, I also play Commentator Jeff, inspired by the great John Motson, who is a figment of young Freddie’s imagination and narrates much of her actions and inner thoughts. As a TV pundit I’ll be seeking the views and skills of the audience and providing the introduction and post-match analysis; like a less glamourous (and far less knowledgeable) Alex Scott.
Are you a footie fan yourself?
Richard: I am a York City fan – if you can call it football. I don’t attend as many matches these days, but I was a ‘Junior Red’ as a child, attending most home matches and occasionally acting as ballboy. I still hang on to the glory days of York beating Manchester United 3-1 at Old Trafford in the Coca-Cola Cup in 1995/6. These days, I rely on my nephew to keep me up to speed with developments. I love watching the internationals and occasionally dip into Match of the Day but my stats knowledge is decidedly better pre-21st century.
Rhiannon: My dad used to take me to Everton games and I do take an interest in it, but I’m not an avid fan.
Do you have any footballing connections?
Rhiannon: My second cousin, Paul Canoville, was the first black player to play for Chelsea, and my first cousin, Carl Canoville, also trains young players at Bradford City FC.
Richard: I recall my grandad, Bob Turner, proudly telling me he played for Burnley, but I haven’t actually verified this fact! I think he was in the second or third team, possibly getting the odd first team appearance, but that was enough to impress me. I fondly recall a couple of visits to Wembley with him to see our respective teams play in play-off finals.
What are you looking forward to most about taking the show on a community tour round Leeds?
Richard: I love performing in non-theatre spaces and taking shows to communities. There is something special about a community performance – it feels like a real event –and I particularly enjoy performing to (and with) young people who have not experienced much theatre before.
Rhiannon: I’m really looking forward to seeing how the show will land with audience members and how we can inspire young people with the themes we’re exploring.
What can audiences look forward to when they come along?
Rhiannon: Some audience interaction, laughter, reflection and lots of energy!
Richard: Lots of energy and fun. It’s really important to us that the audience feel involved and so there will be interactive elements all through the show. I hope people will leave with an interest in football, but more importantly a desire to get stuck into whatever passion they have and to not let their own doubts and insecurities get in the way. There’s plenty of time to pass up on fun opportunities when you’re an adult. Childhood is about embracing everything you enjoy, regardless of whether you are good at it or not. That’s why I never want to grow up.
And, finally, which of you is the better footballer?
Richard: The diplomatic answer is that it’s all about team effort rather than individual talent! I think I marginally have the edge in terms of keepie-uppies, but I strongly suspect that won’t be the case by the end of rehearsals.
Rhiannon: Oh, definitely Richard. I’m particularly impressed by his keepie-uppies!