Catherine Scott talks to Annie Lovett
Annie Lovett wanted to be an actress for as long as she can remember.
“I was one of those annoying children who tapped danced on the table and was always acting,” says Annie. “When I started school I was always the first person wanting to perform in plays and that continued when I went on to secondary school in Pontefract.”
Annie, whose real surname is Wood, continued her obsession with acting after she left school, studying theatre, film and television at Ripon and York St John University.
But by the time she left university, like many students, she had fallen in to debt.
“I had a string of different jobs in order to try to pay off my debts,” says Annie.
“I worked everywhere including Ann Summers and eventually ended up at Ark Fashion in Leeds. I tried to juggle my love of acting with the need to work and pay the bills. But it was really difficult.”
When Ark was bought out by JD Sports and Annie, who was a womenswear buyer, was offered redundancy she saw it has her chance to pursue the career she loved.
“I had always tried to do as much acting as possible. For me it is all about being creative. I did have a few television and stage roles, but it was difficult to go to auditions when I was working. When I was offered redundancy I thought, ‘Right, this is it.’ I could have stayed on but it just seemed to be my chance.”
She changed her agent to Polly Andrews, based in London, and suddenly the work started to come in.
She landed a role in the BBC drama Prisoners’ Wives in which she played a heroin addict and is due to appear in Holby City later this month, again playing a heroin addict, and then in an episode of Doctors later in the year.
“I do seem to get rather rough roles which is so far removed from my real life that it is funny,” says the 33-year-old who now lives in Farsley, Leeds. “I like gritty roles. I am never going to get cast in a Keira Knightley role, but that doesn’t bother me.”
Annie says while she often feared she might not make it as an actress, she was determined to do her best.
“Most of the parts I have had have been small ones but that doesn’t bother me. I don’t want to act to be famous, I want to act because I love being creative.”
When she was working Annie had acting lessons with Andy Devine (Emmerdale’s Shadrach Dingle) and went on to teach his students at the Acting Studio, which was based in Morley. “I got to see the other side of things, which was really interesting.”
She currently attends the Northern Drama Acting School taught by Leeds-based casting director Jo Adamson-Parker. “I would love to go back into the theatre and so we are working more on that side of things,” she says.
Annie doesn’t see her age as being anything against her.
“I have had a lot of life experience and I think this helps when you are an actor. Someone who comes straight our of theatre school into work can sometimes become stuck up. I was always more than aware that this was a difficult profession but so long as I am being creative I really don’t mind.”
Although work might be easier if she moved to London, Annie has no intention of leaving Leeds.
“There is a great community here and we are all so supportive of each other, it’s great.”