AMY Nuttall cuts a relaxed figure in the upstairs cafe of the Octagon Theatre, dressed in jeans, jumper and her trade-mark red locks tied loosely back.

Her laid-back demeanour doesn’t betray any sign of nerves, but that’s something she confesses to feeling at the moment.

Despite being a well-known face for television audiences, the mum-of-one is preparing to return to the limelight after a two year break from acting after having her first child with husband, and fellow actor, Andrew Buchan.

And being a Bolton girl, where else is better to face the old first-night nerves than her home town theatre?

She said: “I had a baby last year so I have enjoyed being a mummy. It is only this year really I’ve been coming back into it and it can be hard in general in this business to find work.

“Those first day nerves never go away, last time I was on stage at the Octagon was 2010 - where have the years gone?

“It is a healthy amount of nerves though and it would be strange not to be nervous when starting new work and I’m very excited at the same time.

“Overall though, I’m thrilled to be back home in my home town, all my family are here, and at the Octagon. Of all the theatres I’ve worked in and people I have worked with I always feel I get more out it here. Everyone is so dedicated and passionate, they are what make it so special. It’s a fantastic theatre.”

Last time Amy set foot under the Octagon spotlight was for Hired Man and Tennessee Williams’ A Streetcar Named Desire, which was nationally acclaimed.

Prior to that, she came to public attention at the age of 18 when she won a role in Emmerdale as Chloe Atkinson, before making waves in the classical charts.

She later starred as disgraced maid Ethel Parks in ITV’s Downton Abbey and also took on various theatre roles including touring with musical Spamalot and starring at London’s Old Vic.

A return to the Octagon will not only be her first role in two years, but also her first time professionally performing the works of William Shakespeare for The Winter’s Tale under director David Thacker.

Her role is the tragic figure of Hermione, whose husband, and father of her children, King Leontes has her thrown in prison for adultery in a jealous rage.

She adds: “It is an equally tragic and magical story but the ending is almost better if people don’t know the story.

“While I have never done Shakespeare I couldn’t be in better hands than with David!

“I have totally and utterly fallen in love with the story. I can relate to the character being a mother now myself.

“I have thrown myself into motherhood, it is very much part of me, so I’m just using those feelings I have as a mummy and putting them towards the part.”

The production, which celebrates the 400th anniversary of the bard’s death, will also star Bury-born actress Vicky Binns along with Octagon favourites Rob Edwards, Margot Leicester, Christopher Wright and Manchester Theatre Award winner Barbara Drennan

The Winter’s Tale is on from Friday, October 21, to Saturday, November 5 at the Octagon theatre, Bolton. Details from 01204 520661.