Michelle Collins became a household name playing Cindy Beale in EastEnders. She is currently appearing on stage at Hampstead Theatre in The Glass Supper by BAFTA-Nominated Martyn Hesford, a searing new comic play from the writer and team behind Mrs Lowry and Son.
What was the first show you went to?
I have a vivid memory of seeing Babes in the Wood at the London Palladium with Tommy Steele, and I also saw the original Rocky Horror Show with Richard O'Brien, at a theatre called the Kings Head in the Kings Road, I was pretty lucky to see that original cast.
When did you first decide to become an actor?
When I was very young. I used to love The Sound of Music when I was a kid, I saw it about 8 times. It was something that allowed me to use my imagination.
Who was the first actor you were inspired by?
I was lucky enough to meet Peter O'Toole when I was 16 and I remember seeing him in the West End, that really inspired me. But I always loved Liz Taylor when I was a kid; I was desperate to be in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, or later Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf.
What was your first professional role?
It was a play at the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill, I was 18 and it was a Russian play called The Crimson Island by Bulgakov. It was directed by quite a hot up and coming director from America called Lou Stein. I'll always remember it because it had a cast of about 25 and we were in a dressing room for about 5 people.
How did you react to your first review?
My first review was for a play I did at the Half Moon Theatre in Stepney Green, which is gone now unfortunately. But I did a play with Gary Shell and Gary Holton, there was a picture of me in Time Out, in fact my friend found it for me the other day, I was a young punk! In those days I don't think you were scared to read reviews, nowadays I wouldn't dare, but I think it was a good review.
What was the first piece of advice you were given in your acting career?
Pay your tax and have something to fall back on!
Which is the first word that comes to your head when I say theatre?
Exhausting but exciting!
If you were directing The Glass Supper, who is the first person you would think of to cast in your role?
It would have to be someone a bit out there or wacky. I've just seen Imelda Staunton in Good People and I love her so let's say Imelda.
What is the first thing you will do when your run in The Glass Supper comes to an end?
I have to be careful what I say because I'm doing a Doctor Who radio play the next day. But after that is over I'll treat myself to a glass of wine. And I'm going on holiday to Ibiza too.
If you could choose any role that you would like to take on next, what is the first that comes to mind?
I've always wanted to play Nancy in Oliver!, Blanche in Streetcar or Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. I'm also in early talks to play Mrs Robinson in The Graduate which would be a great role.