Olivia Colman has revealed that she underwent cognitive hypnotherapy to combat stage fright before her first public performance in Mosquitoes at the National Theatre.
The actor, whose theatre credits include Hay Fever and England People Very Nice, admitted to developing a fear of performing on stage in her current role.
At a live discussion recorded at the National Theatre earlier this month, she said: “I had to have cognitive hypnotherapy before my first night because I was so terrified.”
In the podcast, Colman also explained the experience of stepping out in front of an audience. She said: “It’s a two-way deal, I’m going to do this thing and its quite scary, you’re going to be really kind and listen, and hopefully you’re going to enjoy it.”
The BAFTA award-winning actress also contrasted her preparation for the show with that of her co-star Olivia Williams. She said that while “Willy [Olivia Williams] is having a chat and a coffee, I’m back there squeezing my knuckles and going through the things of [chanting] circle of love, circle of love, breathe out love”.
The production of Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes at the NT’s Dorfman Theatre closes today, September 28.
In a recent BBC interview, National Theatre director Rufus Norris mentioned having had to convince Colman back to the NT.
He said: “Since  I’ve been trying to woo her back into the theatre, I had a coffee with her not long ago and managed to trick her into stepping back over the line.”