As a kid growing up in the 80’s I was obsessed by the kids from fame. Undeterred by the words “Fame costs and right here’s where you start paying for it” I pestered my dad to get me to a stage school so I could follow my dream of being in Cats in the West End.
A few measly O’levels later (my parents insisted I gained some qualifications to fall back on) I was accepted into performing arts college aged 16 and finally off to London follow my dreams. I’ve been a professional performer since the age of 17 when I skipped a day off college to audition for a summer season, eager to get my equity card before I graduated. I was also working in west end cabaret clubs in my third year, dancing in floor shows to pay my rent and make up the final weeks of my provisional into a fully fledged equity member – I was ready to hit the ground running.
Easier said than done, my auditions for Cats resulted in several rounds of dancing to progress to the singing round and then getting cut – my voice wasn’t strong enough for west end. After a quick rethink I produced my own dance group, X- Directory. I choreographed routines, made costumes and booked gigs. We travelled the world supporting top of the bill comedians. Touring to The Falklands, Belize and Bosnia throughout my teens. I went on to become a City Life Dancer for Nick Thomas in his summer seasons and pantomimes and after a busy 5 years I decided I’d stay in London and see how my career progressed. I became part of an all girl band, signed to Polygram Records (clearly singing wasn’t the only criteria). We hit the post several times as girl bands flooded the market.
Another day queuing around a building was when I auditioned for the Crown Jewel Cheerleaders for the London Monarchs American Football team. This job was the next best thing to being a pop star as we performed to huge crowds at Wembley stadium, had regular spots presenting for Channel 4’s The Match and spent our weekdays doing personal appearances and magazine shoots.
Training initially in Musical Theatre at London Studio Centre, I later studied an MA in screen acting at Drama Centre CSM. My career has been wonderfully varied and apart from a short break to raise my two children and write my book (High Kicks- The Essential Guide To Working As A Dancer. A & C Black Ltd). I have worked constantly in the arts starting out as a dancer, progressing to a producer, agent, author, casting director and actor.
My TV credits include comedy cameo roles on Harry Enfield & Chums, Canned Carrot and TFI Friday, Knowing me knowing you with Alan Partridge, Top of the Pops. BBC films, Pride and Prejudice, Emma and Neil Jordan’s Byzantium. Theatre credits include playing Sybil in Faulty Towers at The Sydney Opera House, The Royal Albert Hall, Raffles hotel Singapore and international theatre tours to Norway, The Netherlands, Barbados, Antigua and Kenya.
In 2016 I wrote and performed my first one woman comedy show about a tortured soul named ‘Pamela’ and took it to the Brighton fringe, the show was picked up by a theatre producer and I was commissioned to develop it into a three hander. With a match funded Arts Council grant the new show ‘Pamela’s Palace’ debuted at Adelaide Fringe, Melbourne international Comedy Festival (where it was greenroom nominated for best comedy ensemble) and on to Edinburgh Fringe before embarking on a UK theatre tour. It has since been developed into a sitcom pilot ‘Foiled’ and shortlisted by Shortcom Sitcom.
35 years in the industry I have watched it change. A short stint in Hollywood opened my eyes to how casting has progressed in the USA and here in the UK, add that to a global pandemic and it has moved on even more. I embraced lockdown and even though my tour was cancelled and I couldn’t work, I relished the time to reflect, develop my scriptwriting, practise yoga and retrain as a life coach.