FOR someone who for the next six weeks will be playing a teenage girl coming to terms with a terminal brain tumour, Liv Hill is remarkably bright and bubbly.

But then Lola her character in the award-winning play Glee & Me, at Manchester’s Royal Exchange is not one to wallow in her misfortune and rage against the hand she has been dealt.

“That’s the thing,” said Liv, “it’s not a play about dying, it’s a play about living.”

For a young actress, Glee & Me represents a real challenge. Liv is the only performer on stage throughout the hour and a half of the show.

“I knew it was going to be a challenge and it’s one of reasons I was attracted to it. I wanted to do it because it was scary,” said Liv who was nominated for a BAFTA for her role in the TV series, Three Girls and also appeared in the acclaimed film Jellyfish.

“I think most actors would say that’s why they want to do a challenging role. It takes you to different level. I don’t think I quite realised how many lines I’d have to learn but it’s almost a almost a relief to think that for any other future project there won’t be as much line learning as this so I’ll be all right.”

Lola is 16, highly intelligent and diagnosed with a terminal tumour which will turn her brain into mush. She reacts to her diagnosis by being determined to enjoy her life as much as possible.

“Lola questions everything,” said Liv. “There’s a line in the play where she says ‘I’m dying, I don’t need to clean my room’ and that sort of sums her approach.

“This is not a play about dying, it’s very much about living. I think it’s a play which will make people think and ask themselves why wait until we are faced with a life threatening disease or a family tragedy before we really start to live our lives to the full.”

Glee & Me won the Bruntwood Prize for best new play and the current run at the Exchange is its world premiere.

“It is such a new work that we were still introducing minor changes right up to opening night,” said Liv. “The writer Stuart Slade and director Nimmo Ismael have been amazing. They have let me put my own stamp on it when it comes to Lola. It is a very different play from the one that Stuart originally wrote and it has been quite magical to see it develop through rehearsals”

Performing essentially a one-woman show at one of the country’s leading theatres has been a fantastic antidote to the trials and tribulations of lockdown.

“I was due to do a play called The Doctor in the West End when the first lockdown hit and I didn’t work at all that year,” she said. “I got a job as a waitress and although I quite enjoyed it I was beginning to get a bit down.”

In March Liv got a part in a new drama The Serpent Queen which took her to France for filming.

“I actually auditioned for Glee & Me over Zoom while I was in France,” she said. “I just had one week off from the end of filming to starting rehearsals for this which was brilliant. I know lockdown has been so hard for so many people and in many ways I’ve been really lucky.”

In researching her role as Lola Liv spoke to both a palliative care nurse and an oncologist and she also found a YouTube channel set up by a teenage girl with the same condition as Lola.

“I watched hours and hours of that and you could see her slowly decline,” said Liv. “She sadly died six years ago but that made a powerful impression on me.”

Glee & Me is the first time Liv has performed at the Royal Exchange.

“It’s an amazing theatre. I’d seen a production of Shakespeare here but I’d never stood in the middle of the stage. It seems so big and yet is so intimate at the same time. Playing Lola really is non stop. I’m forever created running, jumping, dancing and when I speak I’m constantly turning to make sure everyone see and hears me. It’s great fun but it’s exhausting. I’m going to lose so much weight on this show.

“Working on it has really given me purpose each day. Initially I was anxious and nervous about such a big role but I’m so happy and creatively fulfilled.”

Glee & Me, Royal Exchange, Manchester, until October 30. Details from