‘National treasure’ Su Pollard will star in Harpy at The Brunton in Musselburgh on Saturday, October 30.

The much-loved actress is set to give a one-woman “tour-de-force” performance in what has been dubbed a “razor-sharp and bittersweet dark drama” from Fringe First award-winner Philip Meeks, who wrote the plays Kiss Me Honey, Honey! and Murder, Margaret and Me.

A Brunton spokesperson said: “Having had to reschedule from March 2020, we are delighted to finally welcome Su Pollard to The Brunton.”

Harpy tells the funny and tragic story about one woman’s lifelong battle to find a treasured possession she once lost; and which she’ll do anything to get back.

The play debuted at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2018.

Su, who played Peggy in the award-winning sitcom Hi-de-Hi!, said: “Harpy tells a funny and tragic story about one woman’s lifelong battle to find a treasured possession she once lost. It makes you think about the idea of mental health and how it’s dealt with.

“Birdie has mental health issues but she also has a different way of looking at things that’s wiser than many of the characters she encounters.

“The play makes you wonder if some people are diagnosed as suffering from certain conditions just because they don’t quite fit in with society’s expectations of normal behaviour.”

Asked what drew her to the play, she explained: “Firstly, the big attraction was having a play written for me. That has never happened, so I was mega excited! Secondly, when I read the script, I was immediately struck by how real, sincere, poignant and funny it was – a piece well worth doing.”

And how does it feel to get back onstage after more than a year in lockdown?

She said: “It’s absolutely wonderful to be getting back onstage and creating entertainment after all this time! I can’t wait to see people in a theatre again and engage with an audience. There’s such a buzz from live theatre and it has been greatly missed.”

She added: “As I’m quite a sociable person, I have to admit the lockdown hit me hard. I remember after we had to stop doing Harpy, we travelled back into London, which was like a ghost town. It felt like the end of the world.

“For the first week or so, I had a clearout at home. Then I was considering having another clearout. I could have been left with an empty house but Philip Meeks sent me a load of books.

“I’ve not had much time for reading in the past but I became obsessed. I started reading for hours and hours a day.

“In the second lockdown, of course, I was rehearsing for MasterChef. I must have cooked each dish I did about 20 times. I’d take portions round to my neighbours and they’d tell me if I’d improved. I think they were glad I didn’t make it to the finals or they might have had to move.”

Asked what was the weirdest thing she had kept hold of, she replied: “It’s not really weird but I have had a long, multicoloured hand-knitted dress with a big collar for 40 years and I can turn it into a mini skirt.”

Does she think discussions of mental health are inclusive of an older generation or focus too much on younger people?

She replied: “Mental health is now thankfully on the agenda and people are able to talk openly about it. But only a few decades ago it was still a taboo subject.

“There must be thousands of older people who’ve lived their lives with illnesses like chronic depression but have never been able to say how they feel, and I think their voices and experiences are unheard.

“It’s also an issue that someone like Birdie, who had an extreme and more obvious mental illness, will have been through so many shifts in medication over the last few years. In the play, she’s stopped taking her pills and I can’t say I blame her.”

Su said she would like to think that people would go away feeling hope and a bit more empathy about people who behaved differently from themselves.

She added: “Often, we latch on to those around us who are seen to not be ‘normal’ because they make us look sane, stable and socially acceptable, when, if truth be told, we all have our foibles and odd ways. Harpy is also a play about the lives that touch us where we live. Birdie collects lost stories and the histories of people long gone and forgotten. Hopefully it will make you look differently at the people you see every day where you live.”