British actor James Norton, who starred as arch-villain Tommy Lee Royce in Happy Valley and McMafia, has revealed how he has managed his diabetes during a recent theatre run of the gruelling play, A Little Life, adapted from the 2015 novel by Hanya Yanagihara.
Norton is on stage for three and a half hours every day, sometimes twice, in the lead role of Jude, and has shared with the BBC how he had glucose shots and food hidden on stage to enable him to control his blood sugar levels all the time he was on stage.
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Norton has diabetes type 1, and told the BBC:
“Adrenaline affects sugar levels. I can’t leave the stage apart from the interval for three and a hour hours, so I have to find ingenious ways of working out what my sugar levels are doing and then mitigating against going hypoglycaemic, which is a risky low, which would cause me to become disorientated and sweat, and eventually faint.
“If you’d asked me six months ago whether iI’d be able to do a three-and-a-half-hour play as a diabetic, I’d have been really scared.
“I’m so proud that I’ve been able to prove to myself and other type 1 diabetics that I’m able to do that.”
Norton is an active campaigner for research into the condition, which affects 400,000 people in the UK.
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