Who is Eliza Millward?

Who is Eliza Millward?

We talked to Natasha Davidson and our production team to see how we bring Eliza to life on stage

Natasha Davidson and Philip Starnier - photo by Ray Jefferson, Bolton Camera Club

Eliza’s main characteristics:

  • Cunning
  • Determined
  • Confident
  • Becomes malicious

Eliza Millward is initially Gilbert Markham’s love interest.

When Gilbert’s attentions are turned to Helen Graham, however, Eliza becomes malicious and spreads bitter gossip about the new and mysterious tenant of Wildfell Hall.

Seeing her change is a brilliant journey, particularly for actor Natasha Davidson who is playing Eliza in our upcoming production

“Oh dear, Gilbert - did you really think that the wealthy Mrs Huntingdon, with her aristocratic friends, would deign to marry a Yorkshire farmer?”

Eliza Millward

During improvisations, Natasha discovered how much is at stake for Eliza, and how so much of what Eliza says is a front for how she really feels.

Natasha says: “I’ve learnt to empathise with Eliza through rehearsals. My heart goes out to her. Initially it would be easy to say she is cruel and vicious, but in actual fact she is badly wounded.”

Along with the rest of the cast, Natasha visited the Brontë parsonage at Haworth. Here she ran some rehearsals with the team, in the room next to where Anne wrote The Tenant of Wildfell Hall! It was a fantastic experience, and we felt humbled by the talent of Anne and her family. 

Natasha rehearses with Michael Peavoy, who plays Gilbert Markham

Amanda Stoodley, the Set and Costume Designer for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, carefully researches the period that the production is set in and each character to determine what clothing they would wear.

Changing colours - Natasha dyed her hair blonde for her roles

For Eliza, who is the daughter of a Reverend, respectable, pretty patterned dresses are top of the list.

Also for this role, Natasha has undergone a dramatic change of hair colour in order to get more into the character of Eliza and Millicent - a beautiful blonde colour!  

Natasha is also playing Millicent Hattersley, who she describes as being the ‘direct contrast’ to Eliza. Millicent is kind and soft, more reserved but with a big heart and a lot of love to give.

You can see Natasha in her roles for The Tenant of Wildfell Hall from Thu 30 March until Sat 22 April.