Kathryn O’Reilly is set for stardom as an actress and writer, with an upcoming television appearance this year on ‘Call The Midwife’ and working on her first feature film script, this determined performer and writer will be sharing her gifts with you very soon. I am a big fan of her Kathryn raw talent.
What is your background? I was born and raised in Surrey.
How did you get into acting? As a teenager I started going to drama classes, Nic Paris was my teacher and soon after I started attending his classes he cast me a pro/am production of West Side Story at the Rhoda McGraw Theatre in Woking. I was a Jet girl and loved every second of it. It was so thrilling being in stage every night with older professional actors I had the time of my life. That is definitely when I knew this is what I love. I was part of many productions and also performed my first poem on the same stage, a few years later I went to the BRIT School in Croydon where I studied Media, video film and television as well as drama, my time at BRIT was so unique and brilliant and the buzz around the school was amazing. Upon leaving BRIT I set up Mojo Children’s Theatre company with Danny Cogan and we produced and directed shows at Lewisham Theatre Studio including Blood Brothers and Little Shop of horrors, as well as running drama workshops. This lead me onto working at LWT (London Weekend Television) and ITV Sport, whilst training part time at the no more Academy drama school in Whitechappel, I also joined the National Youth Theatre. After spending three years in Theatre In Education touring the country with issue based plays and workshops, doing corporate role-playing and forum theatre, attending classes at the Actors Centre, summer courses with East 15, RADA, Anna Scher, Ken Campbell workshops and The Royal Court young Writers programme I finally decided right if I’m going to do this, I don’t want to turn around at fifty and have any woulda shoulda couldas I need to know I have really gone for it and nows the time to go to drama school and do my classical training. And so I trained at LAMDA on the 3 year course, graduating in 2008 I have been acting on stage and screen ever since.
What do you love the most writing or performing? That’s like asking a parent which child they love the most. Both make me very happy and I’m very grateful to be able to do both. They each bring their own challenges, ups and downs, ultimately I love being creative, working with creative people and sharing the work.
What inspires you?
Nature very often inspires me. I love watching documentaries about nature and especially sea creatures. The people who inspire me are the ones that get on with life and do the do. Who battle everyday with whatever they’ve got going on, and still have a smile to share. Peoples generosity and kindness inspires me. When I see genuine love and passion in people’s work, and the work may not be something I’m necessarily in to, but some things are so undeniably clear that you can’t ignore and people are doing it that inspires me, when what people do counts and people stand for something or someone they believe in. People who make a positive contribution and keep on keeping on. There are so many people who inspire me, in the industry one of the most inspiring directors I work with is Max Stafford-Clark, a truly prolific director with a fierce work ethic and stamina to boot, he has championed so many actors and indeed female playwrights, he is someone who really cares and is very passionate about theatre.
What are you working on now?
As an actress I recently completed filming on Call The Midwife which was such a fantastic experience. I’m in episode 7 of series 5 which starts next year. I love the programme so when I got the part I was elated. As a writer, I was fortune to have a reading of my play Screwed just recently at Out of Joint who produced the reading with the kind help of Max Stafford-Clark in association with The Production Exchange. It’s been an incredible journey so far and I look forward to the future of this play, with the aim is a London run in 2016 and a short UK tour. I am also working on my first feature film, in early stages working with developer Emily Harris who is studying at the NFTS. Since working with Emily I have produced two new drafts, it’s a really interesting process working with a developer, I’m really enjoying fleshing everything out, deepening my work and seeing the story grow.
Tell us something we don’t know about you?
I used to bunk off school to go to Wimbledon Tennis Championships and secretly whilst practicing my serving in my parents garden I imagined I was at Wimbledon. Well, we can all dream!
What advice would you give to actors starting out?
The way I see it is you have to love it, if it’s the only thing you can do then get on and do it. Read and watch as much as possible, go to the theatre and go to classes. Know that you are part of something amazing and you have a responsibility to deliver your best and work the best you can with others. You are part of a team so never compare what you do with others, we are all essentially cogs in a machine so challenge yourself. Always hold onto what you enjoy about it and why you want to be part of it, knocks and rejections are inevitable and everyone goes through it. It will cause you as much pain as joy. As Fiona Shaw said to me once “it’s a curse” and it is. But know that it is all worth it in the end. Kathryn O’Reilly Showreel.
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