MOLD'S Theatr Clwyd feels like a good place to be at the moment. Riding high on the back of an Olivier Award for its production of Home, I'm Darling, the venue has now welcomed a new version of Tennessee William's Deep South American drama Orpheus Descending, directed by Theatr Clwyd's artistic director Tamara Harvey and starring actress Jemima Rooper as alcoholic nymphomaniac Carol Cutrere.

"Theatr Clwyd is incredible and I don't really know another space like it," says Jemima, following the play's opening night on Monday. "It's an amazing place because it's not just about the theatre and it feels like a hub where you want to come and experience things. You really notice that it feels like a big extended family here and as a theatre it's a little heaven."

Although not as well known as Williams' other works such as A Streetcar Named Desire or A Streetcar Named Desire, Orpheus Descending was filmed under the title The Fugitive Kind in 1959, starring Marlon Brando and Anna Magnani, before a more faithful version – a film adaptation of the Peter Hall stage production – was released in 1990, starring Vanessa Redgrave.

"I have never acted in a Tennessee Williams play before, but in my limited capacity, I am a big fan having always loved reading his plays," says Jemima, 37. "He writes complicated women which is both a gift and a challenge. Carol is nuts and brilliant - she enters the play like a whirlwind and then disappears. The thing I'm struggling with is how confident and swaggering she is - he writes such powerful women who are deep and rich and dark and sexy.

"A lot of the play is about small mindedness and prejudice, with a violent undercurrent. It feels like it taps into some of the less good things happening in the world today."

Born in Hammersmith, London, Jemima got her big break playing George in ITV's mid-90s version of The Famous Five before taking the role of Nicki in the popular Channel 4 teenage series As If, which successfully ran for three years. Her next appearance was in the supernatural drama Hex where she played a lovable lesbian ghost named Thelma. In 2008 she starred in the TV series Lost in Austen and guest starred in Agatha Christie's Poirot. She also played a lead role in the popular British film comedy, Kinky Boots, but it's her more recent role as Audrey in the stage adaption of Little Shop of Horrors that she is most proud.

"Apart from briefly wanting to be a vet or a cartoonist for Disney, I've pretty much always wanted to act," she says. "I loved watching films like Annie, Oliver! and To Kill A Mockingbird and was always jealous of the kids in them. I started pretty young at 13 and kept on going.

"I fought hard to make them see me again and again for that role in Little Shop of Horrors because I've always wanted to play that part. I wanted to push myself and discipline myself a bit and I had the most phenomenal time surrounded by eccentric, brilliant and talented people.

"11 years ago I was in a play called Her Naked Skin which I did at the National Theatre and was the first new play by a woman to go in the Olivier Theatre at the National and it gave me a theatre career in London and changed the direction of my career. I think everyone thought I was fresh out of drama school and not this old hag who had been around for ages!"

Jemima, who has a four-year-old son, was in one of Harvey Weinstein’s films (2013’s One Chance) and has been outspoken in the past about how roles for women seem limited once actresses get past a certain age or have children and how the theatre needs to make life easier for worming mums.

"There can be a lot of pain in acting and sometimes you start thinking that's just part of it," she says. "It's like: 'the more miserable you are the better the show will be' when actually working with Tamara has proved that's not actually the case. She does exciting things that push you as an actor and for those of us who have been doing it for a long time it's actually nice to get a kick up the backside sometimes.

"I couldn't be doing this job if it was someone else because she immediately was having those conversations with me. In my limited experience over the last few years if you know what to ask for before accepting a job you're probably alright, but what Tamara did with me was have those conversations in my audition. There's always the hesitation about how can I make this work but she was offering everything she could to facilitate having my family with me. If you have a TV job you might be lucky enough to be paid enough to afford child care but you can't do that in theatre.

"It depends where you are in your career and I'm sure it doesn't happen to all actresses but I've definitely noticed it. I've felt that the work I've been offered I'm just not being paid enough to pay for the support I've needed. That's what needs to change and thankfully there are more conversations happening."

Despite her frustrations with the industry, Jemima is clearly relishing her role and happy in her skin as a maturing actress with 20 years experience - something which allows her to dispense a bit of advise.

"I wish someone had told me how to take care of myself better as a younger actress," she laments. "Just eating better and exercising and not burning the candle at both ends. There is some rejection and frustration in this business so performers need to feel like they're OK as they are and have a little quiet resilience to suffer the knock backs!"

Orpheus Descending is at Theatr Clwyd, Mold's Anthony Hopkins Theatre until Saturday April 27 2019 at 7.30pm

Saturday matinees 2.30pm / Thursday matinee 25 April 2.30pm

Box Office 01352 701521 / online booking (no booking fees)