The Queen’s Gambit’s Lydia Sheedy: ‘I loved playing Beth Harmon’

A musical about a legal battle over corgis. Or a relatable scene about housework. Either way, this show should be fun

It’s been five years since I first played Beth Harmon on the stage, but now the music is finally getting its moment in the spotlight. This Christmas sees The Queen’s Gambit, a musical about a legal battle over corgis, opening at the Princess Theatre in London. I think it’s really exciting, but more than anything I’m looking forward to meeting new people – a few of whom I didn’t see until after playing Beth, and even then only briefly.

What was it like to embody a character who had such a colourful background?

Playing Beth was a dream. Before the show premiered, I was introduced to the cast in an audition and they asked me: “Do you know Beth?” I said: “I don’t really know her.” Then I thought: “You’re making me audition for Beth Harmon? This is unbelievable.” When you take that level of responsibility on, it’s a real privilege.

Having lived in the shadow of a show such as This is England has given me the opportunity to experience a full-on theatrical experience.

I’m excited about this production because, while Beth was presented to us as a completely new character, I could see her through the eyes of the show and that was exciting. It gives the role some dimension that I hadn’t had before.

I’m also a huge music fan, and to be able to listen to different kinds of music through Beth Harmon was amazing. I think this show is going to appeal to anyone who loves music, who likes seeing a show, who is an admirer of Tina Turner or a big fan of Queen.

My three most memorable performances have all been as Beth. I’ve always loved working with young actors – not least because the job doesn’t really have a cap or a limit. It’s quite open to what can happen on stage.

Beth Harmon performs at the Prince Charles Cinema on 19-21 July and at the Crystal Palace, London, on 25 August and 4 September. The Queen’s Gambit is at the Princess Theatre from 18 December to 25 February.

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