Pushing her arm through the sleeve of her bodice, Amanda Wright is careful not to rip the fabric of her costume.
The 32-year-old actress has mere seconds to transform from one character into Queen Elizabeth I for her role as the auburn-haired monarch in the stage version of Horrible Histories: The Terrible Tudors, set to be performed at the Hackney Empire.
“It’s all really well choreographed,“ the Tottenham resident explains, “but I only have about two seconds to get ready. I’m changing from the character Miss Tree, the narrator, into Queen Elizabeth I.
“I’ve got a couple of helpers on either side of the stage and they assist me into this humongous outfit with a massive ruff – which looks rather dangerous actually, the whole outfit is pretty restrictive.
“I’ve discovered doorways are a bit of no-go when I’m dressed up as Elizabeth.
“When it comes to getting ready, if I mess up my timings, it really could all go pear-shaped,“ says the actress who graduated from Central School of Speech and Drama.
As well as appearing as Queen Elizabeth I, Amanda is also starring as Queen Victoria in Horrible Histories: Vile Victorians, and Miss Tree, a narrator of sorts, in both productions.
But for Amanda these rapid wardrobe changes – she also has about five seconds to transform from Miss Tree into Queen Victoria – are all taken in her stride.
This is, after all, an actress who was selected by Hollywood actor and Old Vic artistic director Kevin Spacey to take part in Old Vic/New Voices: 24 Hour Plays, where 38 creatives, from directors to actors to playwrights were asked to write, stage and perform a play in front of a 1,000-strong audience in just 24 hours.
Since then Amanda has made regular television and theatre appearances.
She managed to land her job in Horrible Histories last October, after writing to and auditioning for The Birmingham Stage Company, the theatre group that performs the show, and is now on a nationwide tour with them.
“It’s great fun travelling around the UK, I’m seeing a lot of different places which I might not have had a chance to visit before.
“Of course, there is a real danger with performing in so many places that you might forget where you are, which I discovered the other evening when I said: ‘Hello Southgate’, and we were in Southend,“ she laughs.
“But they’re both great family shows, with huge production values. We’ve got 3D effects and great storylines, it’s all very interactive. It’s a show that has everything, it’s funny, it’s gross, and it’s educational too.
“It really does show the horrible side of history.“ Horrible Histories is at the Hackney Empire, Mare Street, Hackney. Terrible Tudors: Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30, 2.30pm and 7pm, Sunday, March 31, 5pm. Vile Victorians: Friday, March 29, 7pm, Sunday, March 31, 1pm. Details: 020 8510 4500, www.hackneyempire.co.uk