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Isolation Interviews: Katherine Pearce

Next up on taking part in the Isolation Interviews is actress Katherine Pearce. Katherine was part of the recent Royal Shakespeare Company Swan Theatre Winter season playing Horatia in The Whip and Cardinal Pandulph in King John. Her previous stage credits also include Roundabout Season (Paines Plough), The Last Ballad of Lillian Billocca (Hull Truck), Husbands and Sons, Port (National Theatre) as well as screen work on TV and film including Coronation Street, Vera, Young Hyacinth, My Cousin Rachel, England is Mine and The Last Photograph.

Q - What was the first show that you remember seeing?
A - The first show I remember seeing was Oliver! At the Manchester opera house. And we also went to a panto in Warrington with school every year. I LOVED them. And still do. Desperate to be in one.

Q - What inspired you to get into theatre?
- It’s hard to remember what inspired me, I used to love my parents reading me stories, and then I loved to read myself. And I was an early talker too so I was always talking and singing and chatting to people. And as soon as there was a chance to do all that in front of people I loved it. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an actress.

Q - Whose performance/s have had the biggest impact on you?
A - Most of the time, it’s Meryl Streep. She was the first actress I remember being like ‘wow’, I saw her in Death Becomes Her when I was too young to be watching that film! And I constantly find myself going back to her performances along with Phillip Seymour Hoffman. and, y’know, ‘The Greats’ are all great for a reason. But to be honest, I see actors all the time whose performances impact me, everything I see or everything I’m in there’s always one performer who teaches me something I didn’t know before.

Q - What are you favourite plays/musicals?
A - My favourite plays change all the time, but right now they’re:
Port by Simon Stephens
Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
Pomona - Alistair McDowall
A Midsummer Nights Dream - Shakespeare
And Legally Blonde the musical!

I can’t tell whether I like the play for the play, or because of the impact they had on me at that time. I’ve not been in all of them, but I have a personal connection with each of them. And they change all the time, because life changes all the time; different parts of different plays resonate more at different stages of my life.

Katherine as Cardinal Pandulph in the RSC's excellent King John. Photo by Steve Tanner.

Q - You were part of the recent RSC Winter Season, playing in both The Whip and King John. How do you reflect on the experience?
A - I reflect on KJ and The Whip with total love in my heart. I had the best time on both of these productions. It was my first time at The RSC and I loved the whole experience. I was challenged creatively, I met wonderful people and I learned a lot. I’m a big supporter of a long job - I think it’s invaluable. There aren’t many places who have a resident company - which I think is a huge detriment to actors. I think it’s so important to learn how to be a valuable company member, not just be a good performer.

Q - What's the best piece of advice you've been given?
A - The thing that’s helped me the most is being the greatest supporter of your peers. It’s very easy to get bitter, jealous and angry when you’re looking either side of you, and I have my moments, believe me, it’s hard, but I’ve found the best and most rewarding thing to be is supportive. Champion and support the performer who got the job you went for, be your best mates biggest fan on the job you wish you’d had an audition for. You’re only in a race with yourself, it’s all relative and it’s a marathon not a sprint. 

Q - If you could tell your younger self something, what would you tell them?
A - If I could tell my younger self anything it would be to take more risks at drama school and not care about getting it right so much. And not to give a shit what any of the other students think about her.

Q - Away from the theatre what are your favourite hobbies?
A - My favourite hobbies are drawing. I love to draw. I love to sing. And I love going to the cinema.

Q - Can you tell us something we might not know about you?
A - I have a cat called Muffin. I Hated cats before we rescued Muffin. And now I have a new appreciation for cats. She’s one of the best things I’ve ever had in my life! 

I'd like to thank Katherine for her time and wonderful responses. You can follow Katherine on Twitter if you click here.

Katherine as Horatia in the RSC's The Whip. Photo by Steve Tanner.

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