Maralyn Heathcock [maralynheathcock]
How did you begin acting?
I joined Birmingham's big amateur theatre company, The Crescent, and it took off from there. I left there in 1974 to go to Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London, to do their postgraduate course.
At what stage in your career did you realise that acting could be something you do professionally?
I didn't - I just realised that this was the only thing I wanted to do. Before going to drama school I already had a secure and quite good job as secretary to the Professor of Fine Art and Director of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts at the University of Birmingham - a job my father would have approved of - a 'proper' job, with a pension!
Please list an Internet address where one can see something about you.
For my Spotlight entry, with a cv and showreel you can click on: www.spotlight.com/4774-6750-7110 and if you 'Google' me you will find references to my one woman shows in Pakistan.
My Spotlight entry, with photograph, cv and showreel, can be accessed on:
www.spotlight.com/4774-6750-7110 and if you 'Google' me you may find information about my one woman shows in Pakistan.
Please list the most important or defining jobs of your career.
Peter Hall's production of The School for Scandal, with Donald Sinden, Beryl Reid and Dulcie Gray. I was playing a mere maid, but understudying Beryl as Mrs Candour and Dulcie as Lady Sneerwell. On the Saturday before we opened out of town on the Monday evening, the assistant director, Peter Stevenson, telephoned me and told me that Beryl had had a minor accident and I was playing for her on the opening night. I knew the lines, but was a bit shaky on the moves, but the other actors kindly pushed me in the right directions. I am no Beryl Reid and was rather mortified when she came back, after two weeks I think, and got all the laughs I didn't. Later in the run, in the West End, I played a part much more to my taste - Lady Sneerwell - very satisfying! And then, on the European tour, I went back to playing the maid! Such is life!
To add something - When I left drama school I had no job and very little money. But a close friend was a senior lecturer in English at Groningen University in The Netherlands. He invited me over, saying that if I could put together something that would both inform and entertain his students, rhere was money in the kitty to pay me. I did - and some time later when again out of work, I asked my friend Edgar Gray, whose children's theatre company I had worked with, to help me make the recital into a one woman show, with costume changes and music hall songs, the accompaniment to which I played - pre recorded on a tape recorder. So began my career as a solo artist, which took me on a tour of the Middle East, for the British Council, and several tours to Pakistan.
Please list any famous performances that have helped you in reference to your evolution in acting.
Ian Richardson in Richard II, with Richard Pascoe. He had such a command of Shakespearean verse and such a command of vocal technique that I had the greatest admiration for him. A bit stylised, perhaps, but who cares?
Please list three actors and three actresses that you like.
What type of psychological, physical, and emotional preparation do you do before a performance?
Rest - then rehearse, rehearse, rehearse!
What is your criteria in determining which projects you select?
Can I do the job - well. But I will consider almost anything I am offered. I particularly want to be involved in Shakespearean work.
Do you see yourself working in this field in twenty years?
I see myself working for as long as I am able.
Have you ever thought of giving up on the profession? If yes, when and why?
No! Though it has given up on me from time to time!
One personal reason why to keep doing this work
For my own satisfaction - I enjoy work.
How do you feel when people recognise you on the street?
What advice would you give to someone just starting out in acting?
You have to be prepared to work at anything else that will make money, in between acting jobs. I have been a waitress, a dresser at the Royal Opera House, when I lived in London, and a very busy charlady! But all the time keep on looking for work - paid or unpaid - to keep your hand in. At the moment I regularly take part in Open Stage evenings at the Rosehill Theatre Barn in Whitehaven, Cumbria, a few miles from where I now live. They are showcase opportunities for performers, amateur or professional, and I use material such as poetry, music hall songs, drama, which gives me a chance to connect with and hopefully entertain an audience.
Whitehaven, Cumbria, North-West England