By Sheri Duff
This month’s unforgettable performance of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” presented by the Vermont Shakespeare Company, will star Shelburne actress Molly Walsh as Tatiana, Queen of the Fairies.
Walsh always wanted to be an actress. “I grew up on a farm in Massachusetts with no acting connections to speak of,” she began over coffee at Village Wine and Coffee. “I played the role of Chicken Little at a young age and took the part very seriously,” she said with a self-depreciating smile. “I called it my career choice, even at age five.”
At 13 Walsh took buses from her hometown into Boston for auditions. “My parents were so supportive of me. They always encouraged me in my efforts to become an actor, even as a teenager.” After high school Walsh attended New York University (NYU) where she became part of the Jean Cocteau Repertory Company, a critically praised Off Off Broadway stalwart dedicated to presenting classics.
“My route to becoming an actor was very unusual but incredibly lucky,” Walsh offered. “Not only was I cast in leading roles for the Company, I was also able to get my equity card [proof of membership in the Actors’ Equity Association, a union for professional actors]. Without the card I would never have been able to audition for professional roles.”
After graduation from NYU with a BFA in acting, Walsh moved to the Adirondacks and became a member of the Pendragon Theater Company.
“I played Maggie in ‘Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,’ Harper in ‘Angels in America,’ and a dozen other amazing roles. I also met my husband through the Company,” she informed. While dating, the pair often drove to Vermont on their day off. It was only later, when they decided to raise a family, that the decision to move to Vermont was made.
After a hiatus to stay home with twin daughters, now six, Walsh returned to acting. “Vermont Shakespeare Company’s reputation preceded them. I wasn’t able to fit in an audition with them for a while but it was worth the wait. Not only is ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’ a joy to perform, but everyone should come to the Shelburne Museum for the show, the venue is perfect,” she said enthusiastically.
With only days to go before opening night, Walsh is in her element. “I have a starring role in a joyous play. I live with the love of my life and two great kids. I couldn’t be happier.”
By Sheri Duff