ACTOR Louise Jameson has a stunning CV with some landmark roles, but she is also a champion of the stage. Now she’s going behind the scenes to direct a new murder mystery coming to Bracknell this spring.
A familiar face on TV since the 1970s, Louise has been Leela the alien savage in Doctor Who, Blanche Simmons in Japanese prisoner of war drama Tenko, Jim Bergerac’s girlfriend Susan Young in Jersey cop drama Bergerac and also Rosa di Marco in EastEnders.
She’s also had roles in Casualty, The Bill, Doctors, Doc Martin and Toast of London.
Locally, she’s appeared in Ten Times Table at The Mill at Sonning, and took part in a tour of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, which came to Reading’s Hexagon and saw her play Miss Marple.
Next month, her latest show, Revenge, will be performed at South Hill Park.
But instead of being centre stage, Louise is directing the action.
Revenge aims to be a play packed with twists and turns. A thrilling climax ensures audiences will be kept guessing until the final curtain.
“I was approached by Kate (producer) and Martin (artistic director) to direct the play, and was thrilled,” she explains. “It feels like a ‘step up’ for me, directing a tour.
“Whoodunits have served me really well during my career, and I have recently been thrilled to have been given a chance at the iconic Miss Marple, further whetting my appetite for the clue-finding genre.”
Not to put too fine a point on it, Louise is looking forward to the thriller Revenge, a genre that is rarely performed in theatres these days. Is she excited to be involved in it?
“Completely right. It is what attracted me most to this play,” she says, adding: “I’ve not worked with writer Robin Hawdon before. We’re all taking a bit of a risk with each other. But the dedication and amount of work that has already happened is a testament to what I hope will be a hugely successful tour.”
One the reasons why Louise is adept behind the scenes is that she has been sharing her immense acting knowledge with others. However, being in demand means she’s not as able to teach as she’d like.
“This is happening less and less, I do the very occasional one on one, but for the moment I’ve stopped the classes,” she said.
With such a long career, there are some roles that stand out for Louise – and they’re not necessarily the ones you might have been expecting.
She explains: “Most recently Barbara in Bumps (showing on BBC One soon) a new sitcom, and Granny Bob, currently airing on CBBC’s The Secret Life of Boys.
“Blanche in Tenko for television, Rosalyn in As You Like It for Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, and almost everything I’ve done with the RSC (the Royal Shakespeare Company).
“Most challenging was 2019 Anita in Vincent River (West End).”
With a career that is jam-packed with some very, very different roles, where does Louise get the energy and her inspiration?
“Not sure where the energy comes from,” she says. “A dogged, stubborn trait I think.
“This profession is like a bad lover. Treats you brilliantly at times and then ignores you at others. I guess I refuse to be ignored.”
Revenge is certainly one of those plays that refuses to be ignored.
It is performed at South Hill Park on Tuesday, February 11 and Wednesday, February 12 at 7.45pm, and a 2.30pm matinee on the Wednesday. Tickets cost £19.50 or £17.50 for South Hill Park members.
For more details, or to book, call the box office on 01344 484123 or log on to: www.southhillpark.org.uk/events/revenge/