Thursday 26 January 2012

Sophie Ward / Actress, writer

This week's TT Test is taken by the lovely Sophie Ward. In her long career as an actress she has appeared in many films including 'Young Sherlock Holmes' & 'Jane Ayre'. Her most recent role has been as Lady Helen Hoxley in the BBC drama series 'Land Girls'. She was also a top model & has recently completed her first novel. Clearly she is multi-talented & has some fascinating answers ! What is your wake up song at the moment ? If I want to really wake up, probably after midnight, then 'Mr Brightside' by The Killers. The lyrics are pretty dark, but all the best songs are dark. Which work of art or single event has most influenced you in your chosen profession ? I didn't go to school much but I did read and I was obsessed with Victorian novels like 'Jane Eyre'. It was all about stories, and I did all I could to be part of the world of my books. I wrote plays and directed them and made everyone act in them. If you could travel back in time, which period would you most like to visit and why ? I would not want to spend much time in the past, especially as a woman. But there are occasions I would like to be part of; lunch at the Algonquin with Dorothy Parker, a summer at Charleston House, a night at the Rue de Fleurus. That is probably cheating but if I have time travel at my fingertips then I would want to be quite specific. Get me into Apollo 11 on July 20th 1969. I love eating out & discovering new restaurants, can you please recommend one to me ? Food and restaurants are only as good as the occasion to me; who you are with, what you are doing. For that reason, I love Roganos [link] in Glasgow. It has the feel of the 1930s and a small menu with a good wine list. But most importantly it is near the theatre in which I was happiest, the Glasgow Citizens, and all my memories are of eating with friends after the show and being miserable or delirious depending on the night but always glad to be there. What is the best advice you have ever been given relating to your professional / creative life ? I went to a kid's drama group in the 1970s run by an extraordinary woman, Anna Scher. We worked in a community hall on an estate off the Essex Road and the classes were big, about 70 of us. It could have been chaos but Anna commanded a great authority. She focused on improvisation which was amazing for me because I was living in my imagination all the time anyway. Her tenets were based on Professionalism and she was right. BONUS QUESTION I understand that you have nearly completed your first novel 'The Schoolhouse' can you tell us a little bit about it ? How does writing fiction compare to acting ? Thanks for asking about my book! It's about an experimental school in the 1970s and what happens when the experiment goes wrong. I'm interested in who we are as children, is that a fixed place or can we change? How you behave in one important moment at ten years old, is that the definition of you? As for acting and writing the best of it is about what you make up, a lot of acting is believing that you are standing in a palace or a cave, not a room in the back of Elstree studios. What would happen when you first go into the cave? What do you feel when you see the monster for the first time? How would you react? Writing is like that only you express it in words not actions. Hopefully, you can make the actions be as eloquent as words and the words be as visceral as actions.