Matilda utterly charmed audiences when she made her Belvoir debut earlier this year in Jasper Jones, a production that was so loved that it’s returning to our stages again in 2017. The actress’ other recent theatre credits include Hamlet for Bell Shakespeare; The Bitter Tears of Peter Von Kant for the Old Fitzroy Theatre; and Proof for Ensemble Theatre.

Do you have a pre-stage ritual you can talk us through?

I get in to the theatre early and do the usual thespian ritual to the theatre gods. I make the offering of a can of tuna and denounce my hopes of ever owning property in Sydney and say the prayer, “Oh Thespis, aka Daddy are you watching? Can you see me? Look at me now!” Then a vocal and physical warm-up and I’m ready to go…

What kind of impact does the audience have on your performance?

The audience are another cast member. They are another voice in the conversation. They are an unknowable giant in the darkness. Strangers that unite as a collective over the course of a night. Some nights they are brimming over, giggly and enthusiastic, and some nights they are small and scared, edgy. We notice when they are pin-drop quiet and when they forget to turn off their phones… it’s a big dance.

How do you feel about Opening Night – excitement or dread?

I’m so anxious on Opening Nights. I get terribly nervous every time and I feel like a giant open weeping wound when I am about to come down to the foyer. Then I see all these lovely people I know and I realise I’m not in physical danger and it gets better…

Are you an actor that can let go of a character once you leave the stage?

Acting is a really weird job. It’s an empathy gym and extended make believe. Mostly that’s fun and I feel great. Sometimes I ask my partner to break my legs so I don’t have to go to work.

Jasper Jones is playing 25 January to 9 February.