To most people, Kathy Burke is, of course, best known as an actress and comedienne.

Burke came to UK prominence in the early 1990s playing alongside Harry Enfield and Chums and creating memorable characters such as Waynetta Slob and disenchanted teenaged boy Perry, who she also took to the big screen with Kevin and Perry Go Large. Amongst her many other TV appearances is the series Gimme Gimme Gimme, for which she won the BAFTA for Best Actress.

As an actress, she achieved international acclaim with Gary Oldham's film Nil By Mouth, which earned her another Best Actress Award, at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival. Her other screen acting credits have included Dancing at Lughnasa, Elizabeth and This Year's Love.

As a director, Burke has worked at the Royal Court and Hampstead theatres where her productions Jonathan Harvey's Boom Bang-a-Bang, Out in the Open and, earlier this summer, Nick Grosso's Kosher Harry.

This week, Burke makes her West End directorial debut with Karen McLachlan's Betty, a one-woman show, starring Geraldine McLachlan, about a woman's bizarre journey to cure her addiction to the spin cycle.


Date & place of birth
Born 13 June 1964 in London Lives now in
Islington, north London

Trained at
Anna Scher

First big break
My first job, which was a film called Scrubbers. The director Mai Zetterling was a huge influence on me.

Career highlights to date
Just working is a highlight!!

Favourite actors
Too many to mention but favourites when I was a kid were Irene Handle and Peter Sellers. Both had amazing timing and were just a joy to watch.

Favourite directors
Ken Loach - not only is he a brilliant filmmaker but he has also influenced a whole generation.

Favourite playwrights
Joe Orton, because he was cruel, funny and dirty!

What got you into directing?
I directed my own play Mr Thomas in 1990 in order to get better acting roles.

What plays would you most like to direct next?
I'm very into new writing at the moment but would love to direct a new play by me (if I ever get around to writing one!).

What advice would you give to the government to secure the future of British theatre?
More money please!

If you could swap places with one person (living or dead), who would it be & why?
Marilyn Monroe - I'd love to have a wiggle that would stop traffic.

Favourite books
Hanover Square by Patrick Hamilton and There Is a Happy Land by Keith Waterhouse.

Favourite holiday destinations
Cornwall

Favourite joke
Peter Mandelsen

If you hadn't become involved with entertainment, what would you have done professionally?
Serial killer!

Why did you want to direct Betty?
The writing is fantastic and I've always wanted to work with Geraldine McNulty.

What are the special challenges in directing a solo show?
Perhaps one of the most challenging things is trying to make sure it's not hard work for the audience.

What is your favourite line from Betty?
"And then I wet my pants!"

What would you like audiences to take away from the play?
Leaflets to send to their friends!

Anything else you'd like to add?
Just come and see Betty - you'll have a fab night and still have time to get the pub after.


Betty opens at the West End's Vaudeville Theatre on 9 July 2002 (following previews from 5 July).