She has beamed into Bridlington from LA to star in The Spa’s Christmas pantomime, so how did Marina Sirtis end up swapping California for the Yorkshire coast?
Best-known for playing Counsellor Deanna Troi in Star Trek, she is now playing the Empathic Fairy in the theatre’s production of Jack And The Beanstalk.
“People think that because I live in America, I wouldn’t be interested in doing panto, but I really am,” she said.
If audiences are surprised to see her at the seaside this Christmas, she has been surprised by what Bridlington has to offer.
Marina said: “I didn’t expect such a gorgeous theatre in Bridlington but it is a brilliant venue with brilliant staff and a lovely atmosphere.
“The cast are a lovely team too. I have been lucky that perhaps with only one exception, I have been blessed in my 42 years in the business to have worked with some wonderful teams.”
Why Bridlington? She admits it was not on her radar but the team at The Spa suggested approaching her.
“I knew it was in Yorkshire but I had to look it up on a map, said Marina. “I would love to come back to Bridlington and see it in the summer when it is not cold and grey. I have already had some fish and mushy peas - not chips because I am cutting down on carbs.
“The people here are so friendly. It is very different to London. I went into a shop the other days for a few bits but I was in there ages because everybody is talking.”
There is not a great appetite for pantomime in California, but Marina, who is spending three months away from home, said she is always looking for an excuse to return to the UK.
She added: “This is only my fourth pantomime. In the mid 80s I was in Snow White in Doncaster but I didn’t do any more until about five years ago.
“I have played the wicked queen in LA twice but for American audiences, it is not part of their culture. They only understand that they have to boo the wicked queen but not much else.
“I have always loved panto. We were quite poor growing up but if my dad, who was a tailor, had a good winter, he would always take us to the Palladium to see Tommy Steele.
Speaking before the first performance last Friday, she said: “I will be nervous tonight, but I am pretty good at ad-libbing from the conventions I do.
“Theatre is my first love, but you can’t make a living from it in America. I have only done two shows since I have been out there and have to go out to Philadelphia and Connecticut if I want to do theatre.”
Marina admits she knows nothing about rumours on social media that a fellow Star Trek actor with Yorkshire connections - Sir Patrick Stewart - will be making a surprise visit to watch the show.
But she hopes local people will turn out to watch the pantomime, which also stars John Lyons from A Touch of Frost fame, and Disney’s Art Attack presenter Lloyd Warbey.
“Come and see it,” said Marina. “We have got some really talented people in the show.”
Jack and the Beanstalk at Bridlington Spa runs until Sunday, January 6. More info at bridspa.com