A CHILLING drama, with jump-scares aplenty and a mounting sense of skin-prickling dread throughout, is exactly the kind of play you would want to appear in when you frighten easily, jokes Charlene Boyd.

“I mean, I’m scared of the dark, of rollercoasters - I jump at everything….” says the Cumbernauld-born actor with a groan. “But it doesn’t stop me from doing things. I like to challenge myself. I weirdly enjoy it, actually, that feeling of being scared. It makes you feel alive.”

2:22 A Ghost Story, which has been terrifying audiences in London’s West End since it opened last year, has included Lily Allen, Cheryl, Jaime Winstone, Jake Wood, Tom Felton and Frankie Bridge in its starry cast line-ups so far.

Glasgow Times: Cheryl, left, and Lily Allen have both appeared in the West End runCheryl, left, and Lily Allen have both appeared in the West End run (Image: Runaway Entertainment)

For its first UK tour, Charlene - who is PC Jac Dunn in River City,  and well-known for roles in Annika, Scot Squad, Mayflies and The Control Room on TV and as Lady Macbeth in Dominic Hill’s The Macbeths on stage - will star alongside Louisa Lytton, Joe Absolom and Nathaniel Curtis.

Danny Robins’ play is the story of Jenny (Lytton) who believes her new house is haunted, as she hears noises at the same time every night, usually through the baby monitor in their child’s bedroom.

At a tense dinner party with husband Sam (Curtis) and old friends Lauren (Charlene) and Ben (Absolom) belief and scepticism clash. Something feels strange, however, and Jenny convinces everyone to stay up until 2.22am to find out….

Glasgow Times: Charlene joins a starry cast on the UK tourCharlene joins a starry cast on the UK tour (Image: Runaway Entertainment)

“I’m so excited, because it’s an opportunity to be at home,” says Charlene, who now stays on the outskirts of Glasgow with her two young children.

“The first time I was ever on stage was at the King’s Theatre – it was an am-dram production of Oklahoma!, and I must have been about 12, just at high school. It's when I fell in love with acting, it was a real moment. It’s lovely to be coming back.”

She adds: “And Lauren is a brilliant character. The Lauren we meet at the beginning of the play is very different to the Lauren we see at the end. She’s very covered up at the start, but as the layers shift, she ends up quite – raw, in a way.

“It’s a gift of a role for an actor and I’m really excited to play her.”

Glasgow Times: Charlene in River CityCharlene in River City (Image: BBC)

Despite that epiphany on the King’s stage, Charlene admits it was not until many years later she realised she could “do acting” as a career.

She says, smiling: “I was going to be a dentist. There were no actors in my world, no-one in my family worked in showbiz, although my mum sang in a wedding band.

“Then I did a crash Higher in drama in sixth year at school and everything changed. My teacher was the first person to show me a path into a career.”

Charlene graduated from Glasgow’s RSAMD – now the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – in 2009, and she has worked across theatre and TV ever since.

Fierce young PC Dunn, she reveals, was not actually her first role on River City.

“I appeared on it years ago, as wee Bob’s date Ailsa Harkins,” she grins. “The character didn’t last, unfortunately, so when I got the call about being Jac Dunn, I was delighted to get the chance to go back.

“I learned so much on River City, as it’s fast-paced and very technical. Everything I picked up has stood me in good stead for other parts.”

Working on comedy show Scot Squad, she says, was “absolutely hilarious.”

“It was very hard not to corpse all the time on set,” she grins. “I played a woman who got drunk on a Megabus and fell asleep in a hedge. It was a different way of working for me, because it’s mostly improvised, but it was such a laugh.”

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Charlene is currently under commission by National Theatre of Scotland and Grid Iron Theatre Company, writing her first full length play, which she hopes will be produced next year.

“And after the tour I’m taking Christmas off,” she says, smiling. “I have no idea what’s next, we’ll just wait and see.”

Charlene has a daughter, 10, and a six-year-old son, who sometimes come on tour with her.

“It is a juggling act,” she nods. “I was in New York recently for eight weeks, and they came with me, which was incredible. I’m lucky to have support from family, from the kids’ dad, and friends. I’ve learned a lot, being an actor with young kids.”

She adds, with a laugh: “They won’t be coming to see me in this one, though. Definitely not suitable….”

2:22 A Ghost Story will be at the King’s Theatre from November 21 to 25.