SCARLETT STRALLEN, 23, plays the lead in Mary Poppins at the Prince Edward Theatre, London. The elder sister of Summer Strallen and the niece of Bonnie Langford, she lives in London with her partner Nicholas, a musician working rival West End production Billy Elliott.

Every day I walk into this dressing room – No 5 – I feel a surge of pride because I had my first ever acting job in this theatre and I shared a chaotic room upstairs miles from the stage. This used to be the best dressing room in London, and even though it’s half the size it used to be – they carved another room out of it for my co-star Bert – it’s still quite grand.

I have tried to make it less clinical and more homely because I spend a lot of time here; on matinee days I will be in the theatre for around nine hours. It was painted white when I moved in but they put up some wallpaper and I have added some bits and pieces from Cath Kidston – I have mugs, towels, biscuits tins and a cake stand that I use to store my make-up.

It is a very gruelling role, I am on stage for most of the two and a half hours and it’s important that I feel comfortable here for two reasons: first, because I still get very nervous before each show and, second, because it’s physically exhausting. On matinee days I always have a sleep between performances – I put on relaxing music and drop off for about 40 minutes. My dressing room is close to the stage, and during the interval the rest of the cast come in here and we have a cup of tea and watch TV.

I have a whole corner of my room devoted to health, it’s like a little pharmacy. The other day one of the cast said he had a bad throat and I said, ‘What do you want? I am Boots – Echinacea, Berocca, ibuprofen, Strepsils?’

At the end of the show people do come backstage sometimes and have a drink but mostly I like to just change and go home. It feels as if I have fallen off a roller coaster every night and I really need to wind down and take things slowly so I can prepare for the next day’s performance.

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