George Rainsford and Fiona Wade star in the tour of the hit thriller 2:22 – A Ghost Story. Diane Parkes caught up with the actors to find out about the show and their own brushes with spooky goings-on.

What can audiences expect from 2:22 – A Ghost Story?

George: It’s about two couples having a dinner party and we play the hosts. My wife is convinced that she’s seen a ghost which has been arriving every night at 2:22am so she’s desperate to talk about it. But my character Sam is a sceptic and and has polar opposite views on that. Then there are some strange, more frightening developments and a sense of foreboding that something more sinister is approaching, that will grip audiences as the play goes on.

Fiona: I play Jenny. Her husband has been away for a few days and she believes she has heard a ghost – something has been happening and she’s terrified. The whole evening unravels through conversations between basically Team Believe and Team Sceptic and conversations around whether ghosts exist and whether what Jenny has heard is real or not.

The show has been really successful, why do you think that is?

George: The tradition of the ghost story is huge in our country but I don’t think there was anything like this at the time. People love that element of being a bit spooked, but in a safe environment. It has a great plot, funny and creepy elements, three-dimensional characters, lots of thought-provoking ideas – all the elements which make a good night at the theatre.

Fiona: It’s different from anything I’ve read for or been to watch because it’s a modern ghost story and I think it is for everyone. Also they’ve kept it quite exciting with the cast changes in the run so the whole buzz around it has been fantastic.

Can you tell us about your character and what attracted you to the part?

Fiona: I am a huge fan of the show’s writer Danny Robins and as soon as I read the script, it was something so up my street. I love Jenny’s character and I wanted to do something different, challenging and new.

George: I wanted to play someone that is a bit removed from Ethan who I’ve been playing on Casualty. Ethan was quite bookish and sensible and an introvert while Sam in this play is the opposite – he’s self-assured, arrogant, sarcastic and quite verbose. I’ve really enjoyed playing someone who perhaps on the surface doesn’t have many likeable qualities.

What do you think makes a show scary?

George: With 2:22 – A Ghost Story you don’t quite know where it’s going to go. It’s naturalistic but there’s definitely a strange, unsettling feeling that starts to invade the play as it goes on. And there are some moments where we are just trying to frighten the audience a little bit deliberately!

Fiona: There is so much that’s scary in this play – especially those jumpy moments!

You’re in a ghost story, so do you believe in ghosts?

Fiona: I’m Team Believe and that’s why I love this play because I want to be a visitor at this party. I believe there are so many things around us that we cannot see but maybe we can feel.

George: I’m on Team Sceptic. I love ghost stories but I’m absolutely of the world that it can be explained. Although that’s not to say I don’t get scared by things and can feel a strange atmosphere in a place!

Have you ever seen or experienced a ghostly or other worldly encounter?

Fiona: I have never seen a ghost and I don’t want to! But I do think I’m intuitive and I have definitely felt things. My father passed away and I feel him around me all the time.

I can feel things when I walk into houses and rooms sometimes, I’m a bit witchy that way.

George: I haven’t although I would like to clarify I’m an absolute wimp when it comes to horror stories and ghost stories. I can count on one hand the amount of times I’ve been to the cinema to see a horror film as I’m so jumpy.

What would you do if you did see a ghost?

George: I’d probably have to re-set my beliefs!

Fiona: I would definitely freak out if I saw a ghost. As much as I believe in it all, I don’t necessarily want to see one!

What frightens you?

Fiona: The one thing that absolutely scares me is things that I can’t see. When we started rehearsals I couldn’t read the play at night when my husband wasn’t in the house.

George: Press nights. Everything peaks around press night when your family, friends and the critics all arrive just as you’ve got the show ready. It feels exciting but also terrifying.

What’s the scariest thing you’ve ever watched or done?

George: As a child I remember being terrified of Pennywise the clown in Stephen King’s It and I remember being scared of Dr Who but in a thrilling way.

Fiona: I like watching horror movies but I don’t do things that are majorly scary like jumping out of planes.

Finally, why should audiences come and see 2:22 – A Ghost Story?

Fiona: It’s so brilliant, it’s fun and the characters are cool and funny. It’s interesting as well because it poses all these different sides and the audience can feel very immersed in it.

George: It sweeps the audience along with it. It’s only two hours and yet so much happens, as it hurtles towards an exciting conclusion. The audience are so invested in the shared experience, they gasp or laugh together. It’s a lot of fun and definitely leaves them with lots to talk about afterwards!

2:22 – A Ghost Story will bring thrills to Sunderland Empire’s stage from Tuesday 21 – Saturday 25 May 2024. Tickets available online now at

*A £3.65 transaction fee applies to online bookings.

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