Drama student returns to where it all began with her newest play

Director and former Truro and Penwith student, Rosanna Elliott, is set to return to her roots as her theatre company prepares to perform at Truro College.

The Coastguard’s Daughter, Rosanna’s most recent directorial achievement, is currently touring Cornwall, with one of the stops the very College that helped Rosanna along her path to the stage. Written by Olivia Lowry, The Coastguard’s Daughter is a wonderful true story that is sure to inspire any Cornish heart.

After meeting Olivia during a play Rosanna directed at the Minack Theatre, Olivia approached Rosanna with the idea and a first scene. “I was not only struck by her beautiful and lyrical way of writing, but also by the fact that it was based on a true story,” began Rosanna.

“I think I was also drawn to it because it is a story about women, written by a woman and the play celebrates how strong and brilliant women have always been, and that is not always recognised.” Indeed, as Rosanna continued she mentioned how, since the story has been unearthed and told through the play, Olive, who was the coastguard’s daughter, has been recognised for her contribution to the coastguard services: “That, for me, says a lot,” added Rosanna.

The play incorporates Shanties throughout that are sung by local choirs. This was a very important aspect of the play for Rosanna, saying: “It was evident to me from the beginning that although the story is from a specific place in Cornwall, its themes speak to anyone who lives in a coastal community that is reliant on, and effected by, the ocean and its tides.”

This interest of every aspect of artistic development was evident in Rosanna’s time at Truro College. Studying A Levels in English, Drama and Art History while at College, Rosanna always enjoyed a diverse and evolving view of our world. “I loved how I could learn about history, people and society from different angles,” she began.

“How art, whether that be writing, painting, architecture or theatre, is of vital importance for humans to express and reflect their current understanding of the world around them. I think I found a drive for what I wanted to do, and why I wanted to do it.”

Rosanna’s drive led her to study Drama at Exeter University before moving to London. “As much as I missed the sea and the Cornish Environment, I didn’t think I could do what I wanted to do in Cornwall,” reflected Rosanna. How wrong she was. After jumping at the offer of directing a show for The Minack, Rosanna discovered she could do what she loves in her home county: “it is possible, it just takes hard work – which, in my opinion, is totally worth it.”

Returning to live and work in Cornwall has been a wonderful experience for Rosanna, and watching her plays being performed in the theatre she studied in is the icing on the cake: “The Coastguard’s Daughter has a very special place in my heart and is the first tour of my Theatre Company Canvas, so I’m proud to bring it back to the place where I might not have had the confidence to imagine what was ahead of me.”

After her experiences that have led her to where she is today, Rosanna has some very simple advice for aspiring Cornish directors: “Do it! Be pro-active. See as much work as you can. Read lots, about all sorts of things, be curious about the world and whatever interests you. Find a play you love. Find the questions you want to ask about it and go about doing it. There is so much magic in doing.”

The Coastguard’s Daughter is being performed at Truro College on Tuesday 7 November in Mylor Theatre. Tickets are £10 for adults, £8 for concessions and £30 for a family ticket. You can read the full interview with Rosanna online at http://www.truro-penwith.ac.uk/latest-news/interview-with-former-student-rosanna-elliott.