Harrogate Theatre: Top actress in crime show

The film poster for classic British film Mona Lisa with Cathy Tyson, who became a star overnight in 1986.
The film poster for classic British film Mona Lisa with Cathy Tyson, who became a star overnight in 1986.

The brilliant actress who shot to fame alongside Bob Hoskins in a classic British crime film in one of her first roles is coming to Harrogate for a gripping new play which chimes with current fears over knife crime.

Cathy Tyson, who made an instant impression in Neil Jordan's memorable Mona Lisa on 1986 aged just 21, is starring in the touring production of The Listening Room which comes to Harrogate Theatre next Thursday and Friday, May 30-31.

Talking to her on the phone on her way to talk about the play to pupils at a school workshop, Cathy said: "The script written by Harriet Madeley is based on the words of real people who've committed crimes or been the victims of them.

"I hope young people will come to the show to get them thinking about where their actions can lead.

"There is a message of hope."

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Like a lot of "jobbing" actors, crime stories have figured strongly in a career that began young but shone so bright and so fast.

After appearing in the late Antonia Bird and Jimmy McGovern's acclaimed Priest on the big screen in 1994 with Robert Carlyle, Cathy then won a plum role in Kay Mellor's hit TV drama Band of Gold in 1995.

Stardom wasn't all a bed of roses for this London-born star, despite a Golden Globe nomination and praise from critics internationally.

Now aged 53, Cathy said: "It was all a bit daunting at the time. I wasn't like the rest of the main cast like Michael Caine.

"I didn't have a CV behind me. I'd only been acting for two years. I felt a little bit like I didn't deserve it."

At one point ten years ago, Cathy nearly gave up on her career altogether and went off to university.

In a neat twist, this versatile actress found that studying English and Drama at Brunel University actually rejuvenated her passion for acting.

A big fan of fellow actor Ken Stott, earlier in the year found this accomplished stage, film and TV actress even touring in a live production of Ian Rankin's Rebus in the role of DS Siobhan Clarke.

Cathy said: "I'm a jobbing actor and I'm really happy to be in work.

"I don't take everything I'm offered but I'm always very grateful, anyway.

"I'm not judging anyone else but I find it difficult to do work I don't believe into.

"Which is why I love being part of The Listening Room. It's a great show."

Crowded Room presents The Listening Room runs at Harrogate Theatre Studio from May 30-31.

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