We pin down Hampshire born actress Susannah Fielding to talk usherette dreams, airhead prostitutes and her love of Julie Walters.
Over the last few years, Susannah Fielding hasn’t been easy to tie down, from staring in theatrical productions such as the Merchant of Venice to playing comic and quirky roles in Pete Versus Life and rom-com wedding mishap The Knot – it’s safe to say she has her fingers in a few pies. Following her recent role in The C Word alongside Sheridan Smith, we pin down the Hampshire born actress to talk usher dreams, airhead prostitutes and the psychology of Shakespeare.
What motivated you to take up acting, was it something you had always wanted to do?
I had always enjoyed performing but then I went to a school called Christ Hospital in West Sussex which is an amazing boarding school. Forty percent of the people that go there don’t pay any money at all it’s a very charity-based school but the facilities there are amazing and they have an incredible theatre. It was there that I started watching shows and visiting companies and taking acting seriously.
We read that you once had a job selling ice cream in the foyer of the Olivier Theatre, you’ve made quite the transition. How does it feel?
It was always my dream to be on that particular stage because I’d worked as an usher for three years, during which that time I’d gotten into drama school. It was terrifying because you know how big that space is but it was unbelievably exciting to just have the opportunity to perform on a stage like that when you’ve watched other actors. It was an extraordinary opportunity.
You’ve worked across theatre, TV and film and you’ve worked on quite a few comedies, would you say you enjoy doing comedy roles more than others?
I’m really lucky that I’ve been able to do a lot of comedy and I do love getting paid to laugh which is essentially what happens! It’s a huge part of what I love when doing this job but I think in an ideal world you always have both, it’s really wonderful to be able to do Shakespeare where there’s perhaps a little bit more psychologically going on and you get to act as part of yourself and different emotions.
It’s great you’re able to challenge yourself. Who would you say is your biggest inspiration?
I’m a huge fan of Julie Walters, for the reason she can do both comedy and drama.
Okay, so what’s the strangest role you’ve ever had to play?
I play a lot of blonde, airhead prostitutes, which to look at me you wouldn’t necessarily put me down for. I guess that’s the strangest because it’s such a stretch from me. My affection for blonde wigs is big.
Who doesnt love a blonde wig! On Twitter you’re quite passionate about animal welfare, is this something that’s always been close to your heart?
It’s always been important. I love animals and at some point I’d love to make that a bigger part of my life. My mum is a huge animal lover and she’s brought me up saving birds, rescuing squirrels and I foster kittens in my spare time for the Cat’s Protection so that’s always been a huge passion of mine. I get very upset when people don’t give animals the same respect as humans.
Agreed. So where do you see yourself in ten years’ time?
I would probably see myself living out of London, I miss the country side and I would like to have more animals but I hope I will always work in a theatre. I’d love to be able to be doing really important meaningful roles in film and television. I’ve just done a film called the C-Word with Sheridan Smith and I think that’s a great example of a really important story that’s not just for entertainment it has a profound message as well.
Final question, what are the three great loves in your life?
In no particular order! My mum, my cat and my boyfriend!
The Beaux’ Stratagem is playing at the National Theatre until 20 September with an NT Live broadcast on 3 September.
Stylist: Mischa Nottcutt
Photographer: Henry Gorse
Words: Alex Saunders