Meet Matthew Canny, our Secret Garden professional actor!

The Jane Eyre star returns!

Many of you may recognise professional actor Matt Canny from last year’s Courtyard Pro-Am production of Jane Eyre, and we are very excited to announce that this year he will be returning to play Archibald Craven in The Secret Garden!

We got in touch with Matt for a catch up and asked him a few questions ahead of the rehearsal process starting…

How are you feeling about returning to The Courtyard stage?

Four actors performing on stage
Matt performing as Mr Rochester in The Courtyard’s Pro-Am Jane Eyre


I couldn’t be more excited! I’d said my sad farewell to The Courtyard stage last year. It’s a beautiful space, the acoustics are spot on, and I have a lot of fond memories. Now I’ve been given the opportunity to come back and make new ones. It’s great to already know what the space feels like, and I’m sure I’m going to have just as much fun as last time.

What are you most looking forward to about playing this role?

A group of actors performing on stage
Matt playing Ingram Frizer In The School Of The Night

This time I’m playing two parts, so double the challenge. I’m especially looking forward to exploring the physical aspects of Archibald. Richard III immediately springs to mind.

In your opinion, what is the benefit of a pro-am?

Having now seen the benefit first hand during Jane Eyre, I truly believe the Courtyard is on to something special. During Jane Eyre, one of the younger actors said to me in the last week that he felt inspired to pursue an acting career, and this was a considered response as I’d advised him that it’s a tough career to choose, but also an extremely rewarding career too. I’m hoping this year to encourage more youngsters to realise their potential through drama and performance. That potential doesn’t need to lead to a performing arts career, it can be anything; the skills you learn to hone in a stage production are transferrable to nearly every career out there.

A group of actors performing on stage
Matt performing as Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre, alongside Natalie Spence

What’re your top tips for budding actors?

Three actors in an episode of Coronation Street
Matt featuring in an episode of Coronation Street

Do it. If you have a passion for it and if you’re good. Go for it. You also have to realise what it takes and how difficult it can be. If you can’t bear to do anything else, then all I will say is this. You get one little life, so stay tenacious, do your best, and forget the rest.

What’s your dream role to play on stage?

Max Villiers In The Lightning Play
Mat playing Max Villiers In The Lightning Play

John Proctor in The Crucible, and I think I’ve got a Hamlet in me, maybe at some point in my career I’ll be lucky enough.

Obviously The Secret Garden is a literary adaptation, what’s your favourite book and why? Are there any you would love to bring to life on stage in particular?

Pirelli In Sweeney Todd
Matt playing Pirelli In Sweeney Todd

2 books – The Song of Achilles & Circe by Madeline Miller. Both centre around the Iliad and Greek mythology which I think is fascinating and if you’ve read it, you’ll know. It’s just so beautifully written. Both would lend themselves to a stage adaptation – an incredibly challenging adaptation I might add! Battle of Troy, sea monsters, men turning into pigs… The Courtyard’s next production maybe?

The Secret Garden

Rehearsals for The Secret Garden begin next month and we can’t wait to work with Matt again!

Journey through the door of a forgotten world where magic and wonder thrive in unexpected places. Experience the captivating production of The Secret Garden like never before as this beloved classic novel is reimagined and brought to life on The Courtyard stage. The timeless characters will take centre stage as we explore the mysteries and miracles of this spectacular production.

The Secret Garden is on Tuesday 3 – Saturday 7 October.

Book tickets for The Secret Garden here