Suranne Jones Reveals Crippling Anxiety Led To Her Collapsing During West End Stage Performance

“I’d been feeling edgy, nervous around people."

Suranne Jones has opened up about the anxiety that led to her collapsing backstage during a performance of her play Frozen.

She told The Guardian how her mother’s death, after suffering from vascular dementia, had taken its toll.

Suranne Jones
Suranne Jones
Anthony Devlin via Getty Images

“I’d been feeling edgy, nervous around people, not being able to converse properly,” the Bafta-winning star said.

“Being in the theatre didn’t help. I don’t think theatre was the cause, but I think it heightened it. You’ve got a 1,000-seater full of people staring at you.”

During one matinee, the former Coronation Street star collapsed backstage and was replaced by an understudy.

“You try and resist what’s happening, keep working… And in the end something gives. I think that’s what happened,” she added.

Suranne took time off before landing the lead role in a new BBC One biopic of Anne Lister, in the period drama Gentleman Jack.

The actress said: “With every new job now, I’ll consider the psychological side… the content, which I maybe didn’t do before. I’ll need to know that I can live in that place for a period of time.”

Asked what she has learned from the last year, she said: “That the inner light, the inner confidence, can go out of all of us… and if you lose it personally, that inner thing, you can’t put it out professionally – cos that’s where it all comes from, inside you.”

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After pulling out of the Theatre Royal Haymarket production of Frozen, Suranne told fans that the show’s “deeply affecting” subject matter had taken its toll on her.

Writing on Instagram, she said: “Dear all. I’m so sorry I couldn’t make the last 4 shows. I was taken off the matinee on Thursday half way through the show as I felt so dizzy when I was on stage and my wonderful understudy #roisinrae finished the show. I came back after an illness and it was perhaps too soon.

“Anyone who knows the show knows it is a highly draining piece and after 3 months and a sickness I just wasn’t able to end the run.

“I was so hoping to make it back for you all tonight but my dr eventually said I shouldn’t put myself through it and risk getting ill again. SO GUTTED and SO SORRY to those I missed.”

She continued: “This show has taken it’s toll on me and the subject matter was deeply affecting. You as the audience experience it once and always say how you are moved and drained by it. I’m certain it has contributed to my feeling under the weather. We as performers always think we can push through and carry on but sometimes we just can’t.

“I’m now going to take time out and rest before I move on to Gentleman Jack in a few weeks... but I’ll be back with some exciting #AnneLister News when we’ve completed filming.

“Thank you for all your support and to everyone who shared this #Frozenjourney with us. Thank you to our team @theatreroyalhaymarket and to our brilliant cast and finally to those who we met through We send our love to those who are currently missing a loved one.

Useful websites and helplines:

  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email:
  • Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on

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