Interview: The Cast Of Hoxton Street

The Recs goes behind the scene of Hoxton Hall’s live theatre soap drama Hoxton Street to chat with the cast.

Hoxton Hall launched its innovative live theatre soap, Hoxton Street, last week with its first episode. The Recs loved it: our review advised “the people of Hoxton: switch off your telly and get down to Hoxton Hall for your very own fun live soap that can easily rival Corrie or Enders!

All images © Hoxton Hall

With two dates remaining of Episode 1 and ahead of Hoxton Street’s eagerly anticipated Episode 2, The Recs goes behind the scenes for an exclusive chat with the cast.

Helen Pearson

As someone who has appeared in three different continuing dramas on TV (Hollyoaks, Emmerdale and EastEnders), what’s it like being in a live soap drama on stage?
As you can imagine there are many differences between television soap and a live soap drama on stage, but somehow there are similarities! The whole route of soaps is Kitchen sink dramas and these audiences are so drawn to it as the drama focuses on day to day living, The writing is similar within the show in the best way – a brilliant distilled family drama happening in 30 minutes episodes.

What’s the same and what’s different to your experience of creating a live theatre ‘soap’ to doing one for television?
I find the experience of theatre is so immediate. The live aspect of the performances means you have to be responsive and you can’t do another take! What I find particularly interesting about this process is that on a day to day basis, we are constantly in rehearsals for the new episodes.

It reminds me of back in the day of rehearsing in repertory theatre and continuously working on new material which I enjoy enormously. It is a relief and a joy that the cast is so lovely. When you are acting in a TV Soap, there are some actors you don’t even get to work with as your characters never interact. For Hoxton Street, we get the opportunity to work together a lot which just makes the whole process and performance a really wholesome experience.

Your character, Josie Maynard, owns ‘Hoxton Street’. Could you give us a hint of what she is like?

Josie is tough and an incredibly hard working character who lives for her kids. I find I describe her a lot as a lioness, and she won’t put up with any nonsense. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but she isn’t a shrinking violent when there is confrontation. She also knows how to have fun!

You played Frankie in Hollyoaks for fifteen years. What was it like to leave the show after such a successful long run – and what have you enjoyed most about life after Hollyoaks?

As much as I loved being in a Hollyoaks, fifteen and half years was a long time to be able to fully explore the character. I have immensely enjoyed having the opportunity to return to theatre. Especially after the pandemic it’s so lovely to have creative freedom to explore these different opportunities.

Helen as Frankie Osborne in Hollyoaks © Channel 4

Nathan Welsh

Every soap needs someone to come in and ruffle some feathers and in ‘Hoxton Street’ that is your character, Tony Maynard. Could you tell us a little bit about your character and why his return to Hoxton is so unwelcome by the other characters?

Tony is a guy that’s grown up on Hoxton’s Street. He was a bit of a naughty boy, involved in quite a lot of criminal activity and basically terrorised his area the whole time he was there. He got in some trouble 8 years ago and got sent down for it. He got out of prison 3 years ago after serving 5 years. I think the reason he is so unwelcome is that people aren’t happy to see him because of all the trouble he used to cause. Also he didn’t return straight after doing time and left his two kids in the hands of his mum and sister. His absence, along with no contact since he went away is the main cause of tension between him and his family.

Are “bad boys” more enjoyable to play?

Yes “Bad Boys” are definitely more enjoyable to play. The stakes tend to be higher and it’s fun to explore that world.


Each act is going to end with a double cliffhanger where the audience votes to decide the direction of the next act. While rehearsing, do you have a sense which option the audience is likely to vote or will it be as much of a surprise for the cast?

Yes I think we do have a kind of sense of the way it might turn out. I think as a cast there is a journey we all want to explore. But you never know. We’ll have to see how it goes on the night.

Linda Marlowe

Please note: Linda Marlowe is appearing  only in Episode 4 of Hoxton Street which is being
performed on the following dates: Wed 25th, Thu 26th, Fri 27th &  Sat 28th May

You are playing Linda Maynard. Could you tell us a little bit about her?

Linda Maynard is the Great Grand Mother of the Children in the show. She is old but feisty and when the children were having difficulties understanding the feuds going on in the rest of their family. They go expectantly to visit her in the care home. They have been told that Linda was the wisest person in the family to go to and she would sort things out for them.

Readers of The Recs will remember your wonderful portrayal of Sylvie Carter in EastEnders. You were in the show for two and a half years and created such a memorable character. What was your experience like working on that show?

Sylvie Carter was a wonderful part to play. The resident actors welcomed me with open arms. The whole atmosphere on set was a good one. I had previously gone to a care home and spent some time with people with dementia as research for a solo show which I never did. It stood me in good stead for re-creating all the different mood swings Sylvie had. Sometimes funny, sometimes cruel, sometimes lost – a whole range of emotion. It was a big challenge and I loved every minute.

Linda Marlowe in EastEnders ©BBC

Tracy Anne Green

You play Shanita Wilson, Denton’s new wife. What can you tell us about her?

Shanita is a powerhouse of a character to play as she knows exactly what she wants in life and is more than capable of grabbing it with both hands. Her life has been privileged with outstanding education and upbringing, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t know how to work hard. Success and wealth is her focus. Shanita’s strict upbringing has made her a sharp and firm cookie but of course she has a vulnerable side too. As a busy corporate lawyer in the heart of London, juggling work life and home life with her husband Denton is a sticky point for her.

Doing a live soap in a theatre must be different to a regular play. Normally you would know a whole script and can prepare your character but with cliffhangers every week, you won’t know what might happen to Shanita. Is that exciting? Scary?

It’s actually really liberating as the control is completely taken out of my hands, which I can only 100% embrace. It’s refreshing to rehearse and perform in such a unique immediate way, which keeps everything alive and new on stage.

Have you taken any inspiration for your role from any TV soap character(s)?

I actually haven’t. The writing alone gave me enough to create my own idea of who Shanita is. I did however grow up watching classic soaps…..So stepping into soap land via a theatre stage has been quite exciting.

Kojo Attah

In ‘Hoxton Street’ you play Denton Wilson, someone who has returned to Hoxton a changed man with a new wife. What can you let us know about your character?

Denton is a cheerful and hardworking man who is coming back to Hoxton in the hopes of moving forward with his wife, Shanita. But he wasn’t always who he is now. He’s hiding something, and it could potentially change the course of his life if it comes back to bite him.

‘Hoxton Street’ is being performed at Hoxton Hall. How much does the local community right on your doorstep inform the drama and its characters?

The play heavily factored in feedback from locals so it has a real sense of authenticity and grounding to it and we were lucky enough to meet some of the locals when we started the project. We must be doing something right because they wouldn’t let us get away with anything else!

TV soap operas have a particular somewhat larger-than-life acting style. Will that be the same for this live theatre soap? Are you a fan of any TV soap?
There’s definitely the same soap level highs and lows involved throughout the play. We’ve worked hard to stay true to style but also keep it grounded, so there’s lots of fun incoming!


The Recs would like to thank the cast for taking the time to answer our questions.

Tickets To Hoxton Street

Hoxton Street is running  at Hoxton Hall until 28 May

Episode 1: 21st & 23rd April @ 7pm

Episode 2: 21st April @8.15pm, 22nd April @ 7pm and 8.15pm, 23rd April @4pm and 8.15pm

Episode 3: 4th - 7th May @ various times

Episode 4: between 18th May and 28th May @ various times

Omnibus Edition (Episodes 1, 2, 3 and 4 together): between 18th May and 28th May @ various times

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