I studied A levels at Glan Ely High School but
didn’t actually sit my exams. I wish I had done
my A levels, as I felt I had put myself at a
disadvantage by not completing. I then went
to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and
gained a diploma in acting. 6 weeks before leaving,
I was offered a job with the 'Made in Wales'
theatre company and that enabled me to get my
union card which was very important then. I
remember my first pay cheque - being paid to
do what I loved to do! I’ve worked in the theatre
and television, acting in ‘Soldier, Soldier’ with Robson Green and Jerome Flynn,
‘Shades of Fear’ with Jonathan Pryce, ‘Maisie
Raine’ with Pauline Quirke, ‘Nightshift’ with
Rhys Ifans and 'Eastenders'. I’m also part of the BBC Wales
‘Double Yellow’ team.
I managed to get a great London agent. This
is really important. If your agent isn’t good,
you don’t get the jobs! It is so important to
choose your agent wisely. The Head of Acting
at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama wanted
to help me and wrote to 10 agents he considered
good. Only one of the ten wrote back! He is
also Rhys Ifans’s agent.
I’ve always wanted to act. I decided at 16 I
wanted to make my living acting, but even if
I couldn’t, I’d be in an amateur theatre company.
At school, careers information didn’t really
know how to help so I did the work myself. I
wrote off for forms, filled them in and went
to auditions alone. I wanted to act and I was
determined to succeed. It never seemed impossible
to me. You choose what you want, and rather
than moaning, try to find a way to do something
about it. I’m learning presenting on the job.
I’m learning to listen and concentrate, the
secrets of being a good presenter.
I don’t like the phrase ‘big break’ as it negates
everything you’ve done before. I’ve had some
great jobs, like working on ‘Soldier, Soldier’
at its peak. I’ve done jobs that have brought
me to the attention of the national press but,
most times, playing to a few hundred people
in a theatre gives far more of a thrill.
Working with Jonathan Pryce and John Hurt was
very special. Just watching them, I learnt so
much. Also, working with Robson Green and Jerome
Flynn because it was such a laugh! I loved working
on the sequel to ‘Gone with the Wind’ because
I got to wear wonderful frocks and film in South
Carolina. I love acting in any of the Shakespeare
plays because of the words the characters are
given. One special highlight was acting in ‘Hamlet’
in front of 900 GCSE students when there was
total silence until the lights went up!
Falling asleep in my dressing room in the middle
of ‘Twelfth Night’ and one of the actors had
to wake me up. I had to run on stage and afterwards
bought the entire company a drink to apologise!
Selling jeans on a market stall in winter. It
was freezing erecting the stall. Also, I worked
as a chambermaid whilst at drama school and
the smell of disinfectant stays with me!
from the top:
There’s a lot more to acting than appearing
on television - go to the theatre to know more.
Don’t do the job to be famous. You don’t need
talent to be famous. Remember when you go to
an audition, you don’t have to go in fear. You
have a choice as well. If you don’t get
the job, it’s not the end of the world, the
part wasn’t for you. Finally, you can be good,
but if you don’t take advice, you’ll never be