And now, finally, Yelland, a graduate of Cambridge University who has worked extensively in English theater and television, is making her debut in her adoptive American hometown, in Shakespeare Theatre Company’s new “The Winter’s Tale.” She is Hermione, the queen wrongly accused of adultery by her jealous husband, Leontes, in director Rebecca Bayla Taichman’s production, which runs for the next five weeks in the Lansburgh Theatre.
Taichman’s take is notable for both the size and makeup of the cast. A mere nine actors — including Brent Carver, Mark Harelik, Nancy Robinette and Ted van Griethuysen — double and triple up in parts to tell the story of Leontes’s grieving kingdom of Sicilia, and of its lighter-hearted counterpart, the Bohemia of King Polixenes. It’s also an intriguing venture because of the hiring of the 36-year-old Yelland, who, having fallen in love with the city since arriving three years ago, wondered whether she would ever get to work in it.
“I wanted to work here sooner,” she says, over a soy latte and plate of scrambled eggs and at a popular eatery on M Street. “I didn’t know if people completely knew if I was going to stick around.”
Few places seem to accommodate short-team leases as handily as Washington, where the professional classes ebb and flow as regularly as the Potomac’s tides. Actors are by no means immune to the prevailing cycles: Peruse any theater program from a couple of years ago, and you’ll notice shifts in the active rosters since then: performers who have moved to New York or Los Angeles, designers who have segued to teaching or even law school.
But Yelland is here now, and she’s eager for parts. She and her husband, Michael Bahar, whom she met at a wedding in Scotland, are fixing up the Georgetown house they bought 15 months ago, after residing in Bahar’s Dupont Circle apartment. (He proposed in spring 2009, and they married in August 2010.) And after a 2012 in which Bahar, a Navy judge advocate general, spent several months on duty in Afghanistan, and Yelland appeared in a new play in Dublin, their 2013 is shaping up as a bit more domestic. She says she’s enjoying the simple pleasures others grumble about, such as taking a bus to her job.