Time will tell and Sherlocked.



So here is  Ijmuiden in Holland, the location for my recent job, the feature film Time will tell. It stars the hugely talented Louisa Connolly Burnham  as Kim and I play Joanne, her Mum,  with whom she has a tricky relationship with to say the least. It’s a  gripping story of Kim, a teenager,   who tries to unravel and understand her past, switching between different times not without major obstacles along the way.  I have to say it was one of the most pleasurable, creative shoots I’ve been on in long time. Tonnie Dingens, our director made it a very collaborative process where the actors felt valued and included on decision making.  Moving away from what I call my ‘washing powder mum’ roles ( though let it be said I am hugely grateful for the adverts and err…here’s to another years buy out, bleach anyone?), I finally got to play a mother that is not a stereotypical commercial  ‘nurturer’. She doesn’t wash up. We never see her ironing. There’s maybe one tiny folding scene but not a hoover in sight. She’s complex, exposes dark corners of her soul, shows the less attractive facets of her personality and the mother daughter relationship is complicated, changeable, not something you can pin down and categorize. It’s INTERESTING. I’ve made a damn good job of looking like I care about the cleanliness of my house on the telly, but I had more in common with this character in terms of my domesticity, not the other stuff she gets up to….but then, for that, you’ll have to wait for the film, duh duh DUUUH!! Time – will – tell!  I think the film will do really well with a wide universal appeal  and hope it gets the airing it deserves. Everyone cast and crew worked bloody hard, that’s for sure. You can follow it  @TWT_Movie, or here   https://www.facebook.com/TimeWillTellMovie?fref=ts @louisacburnham   ( Look at me getting all on it now with the self promotion etc – I have no shame.


It was also strange being away from the kids for ten days. I don’t think I’ve spent that long away from them since they were born and had to re- learn to be in my own space without demands being made. It wasn’t hard at first. Being bored in your own company is not a problem when you’ve had kids. You can kill hours wandering around an airport happier than you’ve been in ages . A delay? Oh never mind, I’ll just get another coffee. Longer delay? Never mind, I’ll go and have another look at the selection of Dutch gin in duty free ( I can recommend the orange blossom one) . Yes, it’s nice for a few days to hear your own heartbeat again and eat what the hell you like, watch what you want, and In Amsterdam on my day off, I savoured going to the Van Gogh museum again and just looking, staring, uninterrupted. But as I gazed at one of his late paintings the Wheatfield under Thunderclouds, this:van gogh


 I missed them like hell. I wanted them to see it, be inspired as I was when I first saw his paintings. I realised that the person I was who came here seventeen years ago is not the person I am now and I’m happy to be getting older and to have experienced all those things in between then and now. I’m happy with how life changes you, makes some things more important than others, how priorities shift and how I’m far less inward looking than I was then ( She says, writing a blog…look at me..look at me!). Anyway, needless to say, with them in mind, I clocked where the gift shop was having soaked up those bright colours again, and bought a stupid amount of memorabilia. A collection of chocolates wrapped in mini Van Gogh paintings , a few pencils…sunflower bookmarks, key rings, and lets not forget something for the big one too – the husband ( he’d be upset if he didn’t get something.)  He got  a print, that I secretly like, but pretended was for ‘us’ ( come on we’ve all done that haven’t we?)  I looked forward to handing over the goody bags from my adventure and imagined some soft focus reunion on the train platform. I actually had a delayed nine hour journey home thanks to great Western trains and we drank a lot of the Gin I’d bought when I eventually got to Devon, but the reunion was still special.   So  I’d  left the museum for the second time in my life, this time alone, but knowing that when I got on that plane home after  the shoot I would be returning to a place where I am very much loved, especially with a bag of chocolates…and Gin.

So with Easter fully taken up with the filming with a few days spare to clamber over the moors in Devon, my next adventure was to re visit that infamous ‘Pink Lady’ yes, Jennifer Wilson in the episode of Sherlock I did five years ago in ‘A study in pink’. I was invited to take part in the convention ‘Sherlocked’ at Excel.  I had no idea how such a small part could have such an impact and in all the years that I’ve been acting and the many roles I’ve played,  who knew that one little, dead pink lady would be in demand? I was very grateful for the work but felt nervous at what to expect, it being the first convention I’ve taken part in. What if I had to re – create my death and spend another two days admiring people’s shoes like I did with the filming? What if I felt I constantly needed to remind people that it was a bigger part that got cut? Or that my vocal surgery  months before had made my confidence plummet and this was the first job I’d decided to do after it those five years ago?   I needn’t have worried. It was one great big Sherlock love fest. I actually felt like a celebrity for 48 hours. This may never happen again. When would I ever be signing  pink suitcases again?  I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t enjoy the attention and  of being ‘visible’, appreciated, even ironically for being ‘dead’. I’ve had to put on such a tough exterior of late so it was actually very cathartic to be greeted with huge smiles and throw an equally big one back. It must get tiring if you’re promoting all the time and meeting lots of people and having to be on form, but for me, the average jobbing actor, and  as my children will tell you, I talk to everyone anyway ( sometimes to their embarrassment)  it was genuinely good fun.

It was overwhelming how many people came and I was humbled by the huge fan base it has. It’s no surprise, as even if I hadn’t taken part in the production, I am a huge fan myself and think it has been produced, written and directed with such intelligence, humour and inventiveness. But wow! There were SO many people there and I signed loads of autographs. Once I’d got over the indignity of signing a photo of my backside in a pink coat with pale legs, I had a great laugh. I loved it when people really went for it with the costumes and had this amazing photo taken with Coslocked.

And so Monday was back to normal. And back to thinking of the next acting job. And also back to the great team at the Step restaurant where I also work. Life is diverse at the moment, that’s for sure. I’ve just had some new photos that are on this website with the Brilliant Ric Bacon http://www.ricbacon.co.uk/ that will hopefully assist in whatever the next chapter is and then I must get back to writing. We find out about our Grants for Arts funding next week for our  show, ‘Can you hear me running’ so we’re crossing everything for that.

And I think its only fitting to leave you  with the pink lady. Here she is balanced on the most beautiful flowers I was given by the team organising sherlocked.

I guess there really are no small parts…well not if you’re in Sherlock. Thanks for having me.


Home is not where the art is.


I found the exit sign lying face down next to the plants outside, not inside our building as it should be, the double sided tape obviously not strong enough to hold it up. I’d tried and failed on many an occasion to stick it back up, just as I had tried to keep the communal hallway clean, but there it was, discarded, given up as if to say, ‘Fire shmier, you’ll be ok in our building, don’t you go worrying about a little picture of a green man running urgently towards a door, there’s no danger in THIS place’.
The irony was not wasted on me and it just about summed up the last couple of months experiences. You can’t always get yourself out of somewhere until a sign is right front of you telling you it’s time to move on. And then shit happens. Bad shit. Out of your control. A tipping point. Right on your doorstep. We don’t always see the signs until damage is done. And with that elephant fully exposed in the room, I’ve decided to move on to lighter subject matter. Because we have to move on, both mentally and physically and until I’ve put that fear to bed, it will haunt all other creative pursuits and ideas.

So, dangerous living environments aside, I had a dream, sadly not the Martin Luther king variety ( I can’t even get my kids off their kindles) just my banal over active imagination sort of one. I finally got to work with soon to be ex artistic director of Theatre Clwyd, Terry Hands! (Just to point out that I’ve auditioned for him around four times. The last one was around ten years ago and he said I was acting ‘better’ so I reckon I’m almost Bafta worthy by now AND I’ve since trained with the spring onion conservatoire a la Step restaurant.. so my tears are REALLY good.) It was all going so well. There I was, braced with script in hand, the auditorium in front of me. The very real moment I bring it all home to Wales, my Hermione speech? Why of course.Then… (Oh crap, I forgot I was in a dream) we’re in a quarry, somewhere with no audience and err…why is he taking the script off me?..oh we’re doing Jack and the beanstalk? O.k, I’ll run with that. Oh o.k, he wants to recite some of it. Yes please, show me how it should be done Terry. And then, he recited this:

‘Oh bean, this precious bean,
Thou growest bean’…

And on he went. It was pretty impressive, Jack and the beanstalk morphing into iambic pentameter, but I was in a panic. This was not the script I knew. Think, Loo, quick. ‘Erm…erm..I don’t err..actually know that version but how about, how about the three little pigs? Anyone? Anyone want to do that one? I er… know that one. Oh Pig, Oh pig, thou dearest pig…erm…erm…’

Another exit needed. Talk about actor’s anxiety dreams. Doesn’t take a genius to work that one out. Or maybe I’m looking too deeply into things and I’ve been snipping at too many green beans at work…they did seem to be breeding in the fridge.

Onto the real world and the good news is that I’m doing a low budget feature film soon. Its a cracking part playing Louisa Connolly – Burnham’s (Wolfblood, House of Anubis) Mum in working title ‘Time will tell’. I’m off to Holland at the end of March for eight days so it’s something to get my teeth into and should be fun along the way. Hopefully I won’t get there and find that things are totally different from what I signed up for, no fairy tale dreams or beans and giants and although home is definitely not where the heart or art is at the moment, I’ll find some respite in the work I love doing.

Oh and thank you amazing Caroline Baker Duly for sending Reiki across the miles. Your friends always reflect back to you your strengths and not your weaknesses.

When there is violence so close to you, other parts of you shut down, and you doubt your ordinary capabilities such is the hold of fear. There’s flowers still, at the edge of the street brown at the edges now, but the messages still clear behind the cellophane, ‘For the man you wanted to be.’ How do things come to this, for both parties. And that’s how I’ll leave this post, respectively and non judgementally. Sad for all parties. I don’t know what their story was, I only know ours, and we’ll move on as soon as we can. Look for a safe exit.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

― Frank Herbert, Dune

The redundant parsnip.


Not or no longer needed or useful; superfluous.
synonyms: unnecessary, not required, inessential, unessential, needless, unneeded, uncalled for, dispensable, disposable, expendable, unwanted, useless;

Well as 2014 drew to a close it was suddenly far from ‘beginning to look a lot like Christmas’ as the song goes. The part I played in the advert I filmed holding a tray full of parsnips didn’t make it to the final cut, one slice of a commercial montage too many, even in the giddy throws of Christmas consumerism. To say I was gutted is an understatement. See the dispensable parsnip above, and he was only an extra. This was not because I gave my best performance ever (though I did have a tiny inner objective in the scene to get a tray of parsnips from one place to another, ‘I’m a…a worker…a parsnip mover, my job is to…is to…make sure these parsnips are safe…however heavy’,) and not because it’s the most important thing to happen in the world, at all, but because it was money. As simple as that. Three weeks before Christmas and the earnings you thought you were getting are only a fraction of what you signed up for. The same day I also found out that I didn’t get two other jobs, one, a drama that I was very close to getting and that I really wanted.
I was, however lucky that last year had brought so many positive experiences, in other creative pursuits to cancel out the disappointments. And also, by some Karmic justice, fate decided to run a different advert I did last year to make for the loss. The problem with filming a commercial these days is that you really don’t ever know if you’ll be in it, but you place your trust in there and hope for the best. It creates sometimes a tense atmosphere on set though and you often see actors behaving like meerkat’s, ducking and diving and watching their backs in case things suddenly change and the parsnip holder is now the sprout slicer. Its all about keeping you on your toes, remember to drink lots of coffee. Never mix vegetables and film, that’s what I’ve learnt. Unless of course they help you cry, should you so need it. I really could have done with this lot around 1999 when I was trying to squeeze out tears for Holby city. I could have got an Oscar for my performance today.


And so, moving on to 2015 on a less disappointed note, there seems a lot to look forward to, and when my cold has gone I will start writing/acting/running again (I’m doing a 10k in three weeks). Oh yes I will. I really will. I just need to…erm, finish those chocolates and take some more pictures of vegetables in my chopping job (I promise this was at the end of the shift)and er… must put the port and sherry back in the cupboard and the brandy butter is out of date tomorrow so that needs eating. Then, and only then will I re tackle the Grants for the arts application for our play Can you hear me running ( I’ve created a page for it on this website now) http://louisebreckonrichards.co.uk/can-hear-running/ and get going with that. We were lucky enough to have two days work-shopping it just before Christmas with a director and pianist and we’re still very excited about the project.
If anything came out of 2014 it was forming some brilliant, significant collaborations. Jo Harper has beautifully brought a story to life that I never could have written completely on my own as it was way too close to the bone, and Ruth D’Silva and myself are having a whale of a time with our comedy writing. And my other plays created some promising responses.
And with that,I will leave you with this quote. I have no idea what it means, neither does my husband, but it seemed to fit with some sort of vague theme of this post.

Imagination is the real and eternal world of which this vegetable universe is but a faint shadow.
William Blake
Read more at http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/keywords/vegetable.html#YAtewDD0oFldJ6VI.99


No vegetables were hurt in the writing and producing of this post. Any vegetables resembling any real carrots or parsnips or onions have not been affected by this process.

2b or not 2b, that is the pencil.


Well, with suntan lines fully faded now from a balmy few days in Cornwall over the summer, and flimsy dresses about to go into hibernation in a suitcase under the bed, it was only a matter of time before I started going for ‘Christmas castings’.
These are always a bit strange because no one in the casting looks like they’re quite yet engaged, ready, or able to cope with winter, or Christmas for that matter. Actors rush in, sweating, in a whole array of thick wooley jumpers, red lipstick and any amount of sparkle that was rummaged for earlier that morning. No one has yet washed their jumpers from last year either (does anyone, ready for next year? ) or bought new ones yet and so we all sit, uncomfortably, pulling at musty bits of a loose diamante or a stray bit of thread.

And so Christmas Mum is born, ‘Bauble Mum’, ‘Turkey Mum’, ‘ Cranberry sauce Mum’, ‘Fairy at the top of a tree Mum’, ‘Sprout mum'(the unpopular one) etc etc. I’m exaggerating a little but you get the idea. Still, whatever Mum, if it puts the real Christmas dinner on the table, who am I to turn my nose up at pretending to sing the joyous festivities of the season?
I got one of them, but ironically not as a Mum, so hey, I’m branching out it seems. I probably can’t say much about it but I do get to carry some veg, which is what I do with my day job; art imitating life? or is it the other way round? Anyway, veg is involved…not in a weird way, oh, I’ll be quiet now. Great to get the work and I even got to get a brief cab trip through Liverpool near where my Nan lived as a child which was a bonus.

Grateful as I am for an ad though, I’ve been aware recently of being ‘pencilled’ for a lot of things. It sounds great and positive and like you’re in the top proportion of actors being considered, but it seems that however ‘special’ you thought you were or this mark on the paper was, there’s loads more of you, a long list of ‘pencils’ all initially feeling ‘special’. It got me feeling nostalgic for the old ‘heavy pencil’ days. Do they still exist? You imagined a group of marketing people all pressing really heavily on their pencil next to your name until they almost went through the page. You did a casting, got a recall, got a pencil, then got a heavy pencil and then, and only then was it between a few of you. ‘May the best man win’ you’d think staring across at another red haired, blue eyed actress, wearing identical clothes. This was in the days when I used to go up for young slips of things and I never used to get any. But now, it seems, no-one quite knows what it means to be pencilled. I reckon, a new system should be put in place where they say,’ O.K, you’re a 2H, so don’t get your hopes up, or you’re a 6b which is pretty promising, or even, ‘you’re a marker pen – not quite permanent (maybe a wipe board one), but still, you’ve moved onto ink which is a huge leap. God help you though if they give you a ‘rubber’, this is a, forget it, no chance, you’re almost off the page, but at least you can book that holiday that you haven’t dared book, just in case the pencil is a definite. So 2b or not 2b, that is very often the question, whether it be a H, HB or charcoal,

And so moving on from commercial land and onto my writing, some great news is that I got long listed for the Theatre 503 playwriting award for my play Fire blight! I was overjoyed. One of a hundred longlisted plays chosen out of 1600 which is great progress for me. I sadly didn’t make the shortlist but have been offered the opportunity to apply for their 503 five which is an amazing opportunity to be attached to the Theatre and spend a year surrounded by experts and industry mentors within new writing. I’ve sent the application and so crossing fingers for that.
I also sent my play Trace off in the hope of it being part of the Arcola’s PlayWROUGHT festival, another great opportunity to get your stuff heard. I imagine it must be pretty competitive to be chosen so would be really pleased to be part of that.

Can you hear me running, our one woman show has been sent out to a few places in the hope of more development. We’ve sent it to the Etcetera theatre, the Space, and to Wales Lab, all of which, if we were successful would help us take the play to the next level. We’ve looked at the Grants for the Arts application and both got a little overwhelmed with the application form but just need to get our heads down and go through it methodically.

I’m also back on track with me and Ruth D’Sliva writing out comedy show so its only a matter of time before we have to stop amusing ourselves and just err… perform it. Gulp. Its very very silly, but everyone needs that in their life I reckon.

So, Autumn so far has been a fair old juggle between day job, castings, motherhood, which has involved two emergency dashes into my eldest’s new secondary school ( Gammy toe and overnight in hospital being the first and a shaved off finger – nail from home Ec being the second. We never did see that apple crumble) Along with all the other here there and everywhere trips that two boys under the age of twelve need.

A vegetable theme seems to be emerging this Autumn too, as when I’m not actually, in real life working with veg, I’m pretending to work with veg, and then yesterday went for a drama where I’d have to run a place that sells veg. Strange, or do I just have the look of a farmer? Or do I actually as I’ve suspected for some time now, smell of onions for three days out of seven? The casting bracket moving again to a more…weathered look?

And so, as I wait to see if I’ll be appearing with more veg, and a few other jobs I’ve been up for this week, I’ll leave you with this quote by Spike Milligan.

“Said Hamlet to Ophelia,
I’ll draw a sketch of thee.
What kind of pencil shall I use?
2B or not 2B?”

Very envious of Maxine Peake getting to play the great Dane, Hamlet. How amazing would that be…or just to get stuck into some more Shakespeare? Till the next time…..


Felt the fear and it was loud and clear.


So, with a heart beating out of my chest with nerves, and that all too familiar feeling of ‘Why oh why do I put myself through this, I could leave, right now, and stop being stupidly sadistic and just, well, stop putting myself in situations I’m scared of’, I performed fifteen minutes of Jo Harper and myself’s piece, ‘Can you hear me running?’ at Tamasha Theatre’s scratch night.
Most actors I know feel that adrenalin rise and that nervous stomach flutter as the half is called, but when you have not stepped on a stage in eight years, and the last time you sang in public your voice sort of ‘broke’ (not great timing in an audition) and then you found yourself over four years having investigations and surgery and very long silent periods of your life, then obviously the stakes were pretty high on this occasion. What would come out of my mouth? A squeak? A growl? Nothing? Who knew. But the time had come to take the risk.
I waited on a chair at the side and looked up to see Steve and my friends waiting in expectation. Some of them had never seen me properly perform. For most of the time since the boys were born, I’ve done mostly tv and commercial work, so this was a side I’d not presented before to a few of them.
The music rose, ‘Dog days’ by Florence and the machine, I stood, walked to a chair centre stage, took a deep breath and spoke. And…all is present…loud and clear.
The reaction was great and for those fifteen minutes the live performer was back, enjoying the rapport, the fun, the energy and lets face it as my husband said the fact that I just like to ‘show off’. Jo and myself were really pleased and felt we could take so much from the experience to move forward with the piece. Our next plan is to look at some funding so that we can develop the rest of it and hopefully get it to full production in the next year. One of the most strange and heart warming parts of the evening, apart of course from brilliant friends who’d turned up to support, was that there was a guy there who had been through exactly the same experience as me, the hospital visits, the speech therapy, the surgery, the recovery, the same consultants that I had brought to life on stage and is now working as a voice teacher. This was his story too, minus the marathon so I’d love to meet him again and see how he could help us with the play.
In other news, I had my meeting at the Royal Court which was fantastic. They’re not taking my play ‘Trace’ further although really liked it, and this was an opportunity for us to create a relationship and talk about my writing which felt like a huge honour. I left with some really useful ideas and just felt an added confidence in my work that I’d not felt before. I also left a play behind which I hope they like.
So having finally finished my tax return, which got the biggest prize this year for finding anything else in the world to do, (I think I actually cleaned the top of one of the kitchen cupboards at one point – or should I erm being doing that anyway? ), I can now look forward next week to a bit of a break, my chopping job on hold too for the time being.
July always makes me a little reflective and although, I’d fully intended not to make this blog too personal, it feels like creative pursuits can’t help but be fuelled by whatever is happening in your non computer life. So, my eldest starts secondary school this year, which is an ending to one era and beginning of another for us all as I have only one school pick up to do, and by some symbolic, cinematic, coming of age novelistic ( is that a word?) way, the last of the gerbils passed away this morning too. They found themselves being well travelled little rodents, having been with us to Malvern, Oxford, Wales, Devon, even Yorkshire I think. We drew the line at camping. Sometimes they served to me as yet another thing to feel guilty about if we hadn’t changed the bedding enough, or given them enough toys but they were cared for, fond of them as we were and it was sad to see Butternuts lifeless body this morning. Her heart was beating so fast yesterday and now just a little shell remains. The box is ready for the boys to perform the burial in the garden later on, next to where ‘squeak’ fellow roadie rodent is buried and once they’ve said goodbye, life, inevitably moves on in childhood to the next thing. I hope my eldest enjoys this summer before he has to put on a blazer, looking like he’s off to work and copes well as things are lost in life. Teenage years can be hard, I remember -(just about, not telling him I was drinking cider and black at fourteen) so hope the hormones don’t upset him too much. Which ties up with my ending very neatly in this post. I lost someone hugely influential in my life last September and watched that beating heart, up close, slow down and his colour fade until there was silence. I’d like to thing that he waited for me to get there so that I could sing to him one last time, ‘How great thou art’ his favourite and also ‘The sound of music’. He tried to sing along, thin and raspy as his voice was, the beat still there, that internal tapping that I have. So when my heart was beating madly on stage for the Tamasha night, I was nervous, but not afraid. It’s like when I’m running, that beating chest is a great reminder that you’re here, your heart’s pumping and while you have a chance then sing it loud and clear. And as Maria, Julie Andrews, herself having ironically suffered from vocal problems not too long ago sang before life started taking things away:

‘I go to the hills when my heart is lonely
I know I will hear what I’ve heard before
My heart will be blessed with the sound of music
And I’ll sing once more

Read more: The Sound Of Music – The Sound Of Music (maria) Lyrics | MetroLyrics

And on that note, that’s me over and out for the summer.

Can you hear me running?


So tomorrow evening, Friday the 20th at 7.30pm with the help of the writer Jo Harper, we will be trying out a short bit from my new one woman show ‘Can you hear me running’ at Tamasha Theatre’s scratch night. I’m excited and nervous in equal measure, but ready to explore the possibilities of whether it works in front of a live audience. I’m doing it with script in hand as it’s early stages in the hope that next time, we can show even more off script. The beauty of this evening is that it really is to try out new work and gives artists that room to discover and gain feedback.
I’m off to meet our director now and do a quick four hour rehearsal before the tech tomorrow afternoon.
Its’ interesting to re visit a time in my life where I felt a struggle but also great exhilaration that I could overcome adversity and I hope it reaches an audience and resonates. Jo has done an amazing job with the script and has written something I was too close to fully write myself. I love collaboration and have found this whole experience so far, creative and cathartic. So come and see me play ‘myself’, or rather a ‘version’ of myself. Here’s the link, be great to have support.


Will report back. I may even sing!

One woman in her time plays many parts.

So here we are in May! I’m not sure what happened to my March and April posts, they just didn’t happen. I’d like to say it was because I was…over in LA or busy rehearsing a new play….or up to my ears in meetings, but sadly not. I did a few commercials which are airing now, one for a bank and one for another cleaning product ( I’ve just got that face) which are always welcome to receive when things get tight, and did a corporate job in Stockholm so all good and appreciated, and my veg chopping job continues a few days a week.
What I can deduce from this activity is that the air I’m giving off right now is that you would trust me in a bank, albeit with what looks like a constipated smile, I care ALOT about having a clean carpet (alright alright…no giggles from friends) and can also negotiate a group of rowdy men in suits, high on chocolate, who haven’t learnt how to not interrupt and finally I have found the ultimate way to slice butternut squash WITHOUT slicing your nail off ( It only took a few weeks to grow back but it was touch and go in a few castings where you hold up your hands).

Good news is that I’m fully back in the swing of my writing class led the Amazing playwright Jemma Kennedy. I’d missed the weekly class and all that it supports in my writing so was relieved to be back. I had to take care in my over excitement not to bounce around like a demented puppy and spew verbal diarrhoea at everyone oversharing information (which I’m prone to do). Fortunately, I’d resisted too much coffee so held back. Just as a plug, Jemma’s play ‘The summer Book’ is about to open at the Unicorn Theatre soon, so get yourselves down there. It looks great and I’m booked already. We looked at my play ‘Fireblight’ in week two of class and it was a great help to hear what I call the ‘grubby’ play out loud. Grubby because it’s a little bleak and I feel I need to wash my hands after reading it. I’ve got some great ideas to work on from the feedback, so now I just need to stop being so lazy and get on with the second draft. I’m finding anything other than that to do, but I WON’T go as far as ironing, I draw the line there!

And so, one of the most exciting bits of progress is that Jo Harper, who is writing my one woman show ‘Can you hear me running’. based on me running the marathon after my vocal surgery has finished a first draft of the play. We had a reading over at mine and it’s in great shape. It’s a subject I could never written about myself as it’s all too close to the bone, but she has managed to get right under the skin of the emotional journey I went on through quite a dark period of my life whilst still making it funny and entertaining. We’ve been sending it off to a couple of scratch nights where we could try out a small section of it and get some feedback, so hopefully, before the summer, we should be able to show something. I have to say it terrifies the living daylights out of me, as it’s such a personal piece but I reckon that it’s time to engage with the whole ‘Feel the fear’ malarkey and all that (gulp). And I’ve sat beside friends last year facing up to far more scary things than that…so, keeping the momentum going.

What the piece also made me think about a lot is how many roles women play out in their lives. As the piece develops it’s about not just about my experience, but about any woman juggling her world whilst staying true to herself. Someone came up to me in the playground the other day having seen my ad and said ‘Oh, so you work for that bank?’. I said ‘Err…no..I’m an actress’. ‘Oh’ she said. ‘But how did you get on it?’. ‘Because I’m an actress and I was playing a part’. ‘Oh, wow…wow’ she said, well done’. and walked off looking flummoxed. I smiled to myself. I’ve become an underground actress. I’m just a mum at school and so it was completely out of context for someone to see me on the screen. I guess I should be flattered or worried I’m not doing more? At least I’m believable as the other day I got the old ‘how do we know you’re telling the truth if you’re an actress..hey…hey? (YAWN). Acting is actually the one place you have to learn to be truthful when you’ve pretended to be so many other things to finance your career. To ‘Lie’ in real life would be pretty useless in social situations. However it did get me thinking about all the other less convincing roles I’ve played out in the last twenty years to support my acting career, so I guess there’s a time and a place for it to be useful. Here’s the list, not in order: Watch repairer (I had three suits worn in rotation over three week periods), customer services in jewellers, paint your own pots café, art shop, café, receptionist, millions of temp jobs..can’t even remember what I was doing things, role play, children’s entertainer, children’s workshop leader, poster and leaflet distributor, marketing assisitant, pasty shop, Madame de Pompedou ( National gallery)…the list goes on. Does it make me a jack of all trades and master on none though?

And so, one woman in her lifetime plays many parts, with their entrances and exits( sorry, now I’ve got my tag line I’m in a roll…cheesy I know) and some prove more believable than others. Being a mum is up there with one of the most truthful ones to date, there’s no getting away from yourself there and fuels an honesty and depth of tenacity I never knew, one You can’t and would never want to exit from. My episode of Foyles War came on the other day from years ago. ‘Look boys..mummy being a WAF officer’…’oh yeah they said, (polite pause as they watch me on the tele look earnestly at a bomber in danger of crashing)… can we put Harry Potter back on?’. ‘Yeah…yeah, lets’ put Harry Potter back on’ I said. The programme is, after all, something in the past, from years ago, even before they were a tiny idea in the bright sky, nothing to do with them, someone with big 1940’s hair they sort of recognise. To them, I’m Mum, and I’m glad to cherish that role, whilst still keen to make sure my little voice of creativity is heard.

Ooh and I’m sorry to the next temp who was left with a mess to clear up at a pharmaceutical company job in Ealing in 2002. I pressed a lot of buttons and things disappeared! I’m sure, however like me, you were soon moving on to the next role!

A Crystal bear in Berlin, chopping onions and taking the rough with the smooth.

Mike still





So February opened with some great news that the film ‘Mike’ I did last summer won a Crystal bear at the Berlin International Film festival. I was so pleased for all involved who put a lot of hard work into it and very proud to be part of it. Here’s to it’s continued success! Its a fantastic film that I can’t wait for people to see.
Also in acting news, and got in the most strange, but welcome way, I did an advert which should be on around April time. I say strange because I was probably the least prepared I’ve ever been. I got the call to audition with only a few hours to prepare, basically had to go from wherever I was to it, in whatever I was wearing. The audition was for a bank worker which on this day I certainly was not looking like. I had leggings, grey boots ( which my son calls those horrible ‘baggy boots’, a green t shirt with holes in, no make up, unwashed hair and eau d’ onion as I’d been furiously chopping them for half an hour mid call to my agent. Ah well, nothing to lose I thought, it’s a trip into town. I’ll treat myself to a coffee and window lick some shops, May bump into someone I know, so I went along. Will make up the hours at work the next day. Got there in time and was directed downstairs, to see before me a sea of suits, tidy hair, manicured nails and people who looked like, well.. yes, you would certainly trust them with your finances and they wouldn’t be smelling of vegetables like myself. Take a day when you wear your scummy, putting the bins out sort of clothes and that was me. Even my husband later on looked at me and said, ‘What? You went looking like that? really? There’s no way you’ve got the job’. He wasn’t being mean. I looked rough. I sat next to a suited actor and looked down at my feet. There was a little bit of butternut squash on there, seeds and all so I tried to subtly scrape it off with the other foot. I then licked my finger and tried to do a quick clean of them. No use. The baggy boots have seen too many rainy school runs and even the lovely lady sitting next to me when I said I was ‘smelling of onions’ and that I had carrot stained crevices on my hands knew that this one wasn’t in the bag for me. I had tried to patch together an acceptable appearance with minutes to spare before the audition and nipped into boots as quickly as I could wiping the beads of sweat off my face and sashaying up to the Clinique counter. I had to pretend I was about to buy some really expensive make- up, soon getting into character with ‘Mmm, nice, yes, may come back later and buy that after I’ve seen how well it wears during the day’. Anyone who knows me well knows that it’s hard for me to lie so this never sits well for me and I always go over the top. And they knew it. There were no flies on the women in the white coats behind the counters. They’ve seen this trick a million times and the baggy boots were a sure giveaway no matter how posh you try and sound. But they play the game anyway. So, with a little concealer and probably the most garish blusher on (again, I can’t be mean so agreed that the shade did look good though it was awful) I left the shop, a little rosier than planned but the spots and bags under eyes gone. So, me and the other lovely actress went in, smiled, did the usual, I tried my best to look earnest, sincere, bank like and that was that.

Two days later, one of my plays is returned. The envelope I didn’t want to see. I was feeling pretty dejected about it. The package was handed directly to me from the postman in the most matter of fact, assured manner which only served to strengthen it’s rejection. There it is, in the big, bold, hopeful permanent marker writing, LOUISE BRECKON- RICHARDS. I’d very stupidly drawn up a list near where I write, of places that I’d sent the play to and as each one was returned put a cross next to it. Here was the next cross coming. I calmly take the list off my pin board. I decide it’s a negative image to see too many crosses and put it in the bin along with my hopes for now. There was only one more theatre on the list and they haven’t got back either, so it seems fitting to bin the whole page, for now. I’m only setting myself up for disappointment.
The same day I get a call from my agent, ‘ Erm…you’ve got the job!’. Err… What? No recall? ‘No’. They didn’t say,’God she stank of red onions?’ ‘No!.’ ‘No revulsion at the baggy boots?. No, it’s been handed to you. Just like that. As directly offered as the play was directly returned.

And my play? Well, the last Theatre on the list, the one without a cross next to it, a little blank hopeful space left open next to it, got back, and I can’t get too excited but someone there liked it. Someone. That’s enough for now. The play is called ‘Trace,’ two of the definitions for the word being a ‘Visible mark’,’ A way or route followed’.
Which I guess most of us are just trying to do in some small way, following the right path, trying to make a little mark, taking the rough with the smooth and living in hope for some visibility and recognition for our efforts.
Hope – “to cherish a desire with anticipation”; I hope. I really do hope for a tick. And with that thought I’d better scrub off the smell of onions, you never know what’s round the next corner.

Ready and waiting.


Well, sadly I didn’t get the advert which would have been great just before Christmas, and on hearing (or not as is so often the case these days) the news, went through the whole ‘should I have worn the same top for the recall…was my hair the same, am I too old, young? Was my hair the right colour, the lucky necklace, did I wear the lucky necklace? Why weren’t they smiling? .. blah blah blah’, the same old useless inner commentary that taunts an actor and then, I simply forgot about it. Because you have to. You may have been an inch too short for the guy playing your husband and no amount of analysing after would make a difference. I also went for one shorty after that, that certainly would have put a few more tangerines in the stockings, but you have to learn very quickly with commercial castings to just stop thinking about them almost as soon as you have left the waiting room. Otherwise, you’ve got halfway down Oxford street and in your head you have spent the money already. I’ve been on some amazing holidays and bought the most luxurious houses after coming out of a casting, living as we all do with the endless day dreams of financial possibility and opportunity. Anyway… it’s a new year. Bring it on 2014.

Other news is that we had the table reading of my comedy script, The Biz of Show which went really well. I don’t know why I thought it would be so hard to organise when in fact all you need is the script, some actor friends and one of those or yourself who is willing to host, find a time, send the e- mail..and bobs your uncle. My friend hosted which I was very grateful for so I arrived with cakes, fruit, water etc. Well I wanted it to look professional and they were giving their time freely.
It was fantastic to hear it aloud and yes… they laughed, and so did I. Are you allowed to laugh at your own jokes? Does it not look really narcissistic? I guess you have to find your amusement somewhere. They all brought the characters to life brilliantly and I clearly saw where I needed to make some changes in the script. So the next plan is either to record it as a radio pilot piece or to just try and get it filmed and show snippets on the web as a teaser. I’m very excited about this and think it can all be done very cheaply and quickly erm..any investors out there? Anyone?…
In other writing news, the sad part is that I’m not part of my playwriting group this term as I’ve had to cut back a little, but I’m planning on returning in the spring, by which time, I will hopefully have worked more on my new play working title Fire blight or Boxes..
I’ve not been enjoying writing this one as it’s a bit urban and grubby and close to the bone but I found this quote

One usually dislikes a play while writing it, but afterward it grows on one. Let others judge and make decisions.
ANTON CHEKHOV, letter to Maxim Gorky, September 24, 1900

Who knows, maybe the one that’s the most difficult to write will prove to be the one people get. I live in hope.

Jo got our pitch off to the Bush Theatre’s submission window for the show based on my running blog and losing my voice, so we’re crossing our fingers that we hear some good news about that and even if we don’t, we’ve got a great skeleton for the piece and we will pursue it another way.
And lastly, I sent a pitch off to Undeb Theatre http://www.undebtheatre.com/ on Monday who had a fantastic opportunity to pitch for their summer festival. You had to only have two characters, they had to be welsh and you were only allowed one prop. Either way, it was a really good exercise in really nailing what your idea was about. It was also great for me because I always write loads of characters and to whittle it down to a two hander stopped me from getting carried away. I’ve no idea how I’ll do on that one as I was trying to squeeze in moments to do it in between Christmas overindulgence and travelling the length and breadth of the country as a family of four plus two gerbils…yes gerbils…but we’ll see.
And so that’s it for now. Glanced at something the other day very quickly that said ‘Active waiting’. Still not sure what it means. ‘I’m ready and waiting’, but ‘active’ suggests I’m actually doing some sort of physical activity whilst staring at the keyboard like typing with one hand and doing leg lunges with the other. Maybe that’s one to explore another time but I’m guessing it means, DON’T stare at the keyboard or your phone and go and do something different instead as in the old 70’s WHY DON’T YOU, which I now have running through my mind. Anyway, thankfully have some other non creative work to keep the wolf from the door and eyes not permanently waiting. Last quote of the day as we all roll, jump, saunter or leap into 2014

Writing has … been to me like a bath from which I have risen feeling cleaner, healthier, and freer.
HENRIK IBSEN, Speeches and New Letters Read more at http://www.notable-quotes.com/p/playwriting_quotes.html#80PyASzgQ4sIwPjm.99

We Plough the fields and scatter…..

van gogh

Hello! Hope this works! I’m back on with blogging again. Just started to write my first post on this site and windows decided to start ‘shutting down’ or configuring something…not sure what, which just about encapsulates alot of the flavour of this year. It also reminded me not to get too pretentious as I was just about to say something, which I thought was profound, when it probably wasn’t and thankfully, technology strikes me again with it’s cruel unsentimental whip!
Anyway, attempt number two…
Well, the last time I wrote a blog, I was training for the marathon and found it a great way of updating myself with where I was at with certain things as much as everyone else and as I’ve now got this new website which I’m very grateful for the help with ( Thanks you so much again. My other one couldn’t open on I pads or phones…not great in these times), I thought I could update my creative pursuits.
This has certainly been the year for ploughing the fields as the title above suggests. I feel I’ve been getting my hands dirty and really digging in to try and prepare something great for a later date. I feel Like I’ve been ready for the moment, I hope that I’ll reap some sort of harvest of recognition for the effort I’ve been putting in to both my acting career and my writing.
On the one hand all I can see are returned plays, rejections, getting close to jobs, and utter disappointments in everything I am trying to achieve in my professional life. However, on the other hand, I see three plays that have been written, progression in my work, that I have still continued to contribute financially to my family life maintaining myself as an actress, whether that be commercials, t.v, film or corporate and that actually success is something hard to stick a badge on and that whatever seeds I’ve scattered, nothing is wasted in time and effort.

Well these are the new seeds I’m sowing. On Thursday, I’m gathering a group of friends together who have very kindly agreed to read through my comedy drama. I need to hear whether it is…erm…actually erm..funny and then, if it is, then I’m keen to film it or record it for radio. Other news is that I have a new writing partner (I say new…I’ve never actually had one before, the very funny Ruth D’Silva) We will be messing around and creating havoc soon, watch this space. It’s very exciting. Playwriting class is about to end this term and once again has been inspiring and enjoyable and all who sail in the ship on a wednesday morning continue to provide anchor, buoyancy and udder when the stormy seas prevail.
I cannot imagine where my creativity would have landed without it and especially in the early days when I was recovering from vocal surgery and could not express myself.
Last but certainly not least, I’m actually re visiting that time and working on a new piece with the writer Jo Harper about losing my voice and how I overcame the adversity, found another muscle to work and ran the marathon. We’re collating material and Jo is working out how it can all piece together. Our first port of call is the Bush Theatre’s submission window for Theatre makers, so we need to get our proposal in about two weeks. Either way, we want to get the show moving and both have a good feeling about it.
So, I’ve just had a look at info on the Van Gogh painting, ‘The Sower’ above and found this quote from the man himself when talking about how he held laborers up to a high standard of how dedicatedly he should approach painting.

One must undertake with confidence, with a certain assurance that one is doing a reasonable thing, like the farmer who drives his plow… (one who) drags the harrow behind himself. If one hasn’t a horse, one is one’s own horse.” Well said Vincent! I’ll keep sowing then. I guess I’m the horse pulling my stuff along, but I’m feeling strong so can cope…..back to work and keep moving and onwards! Oh and on another lighter note, I’m pencilled for an ad. crossing fingers for it before christmas. Wonder if Vincent would say it’s a HB pencil or 4B…I never know how heavy they really press on them these days!!