Acting stardom for former Geography student
Former King’s student, Emily Berrington, recently completed her first professional acting role in ‘Children’s Children’ at the Almeida Theatre, Islington and will soon appear in a biopic of the late mogul Paul Raymond, which is due for release in 2013.
It was both a love of theatre and an interest in development geography that drew Emily to study at King’s, which she said was an ‘obvious choice because it offered the perfect course and London provided access to theatre and the arts.’ Emily graduated in 2008 from the BA programme in Development Geography, which she remembers fondly. ‘You could create your own degree. I went to India to study microfinance projects, as well as completing a course in Spanish and a module in the Department of War Studies,’ she said. ‘It was a brilliant experience.’
Her time at King’s also provided Emily with the opportunity to develop her acting and stage skills through getting involved with KCLSU’s Musical Theatre Society. ‘The facilities at King’s are brilliant,’ she said. ‘We had a proper theatre with light, sound and costumes. I gained experience not only in performance, but also in producing and working backstage.’
In 2009 Emily gained a place to study acting at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and graduated this summer. ‘Drama school was the most realistic way of propelling myself into the industry,’ she said. ‘I knew that I could be a much better actor, and the training would allow me to fulfil my potential.’ During her final year Emily was recruited by leading agent Markham Froggatt and Irwin, who represent famous faces in the industry including Damian Lewis, Kiefer Sutherland and Emma Watson.
Directed byJeremy Herrin, Children’s Children saw Emily make her theatrical stage debut as Effie, the beautiful but spoilt daughter of Gordon, a failed actor struggling with enormous debts. Her character couldn’t care less about Gordon’s problems and is far more interested in the film her boyfriend is making and setting up an eco clothing label. Emily said: ‘Acting in Children’s Children was an incredible experience. It was a new play, and I really enjoyed playing a character that no one had done before.’ Rehearsals lasted almost as long as the run itself, and Emily gained invaluable experience working on the play’s development. ‘The play’s author, Michael Dunster, was involved throughout the rehearsals. The play was constantly changing and evolving, and it was brilliant to be part of such a dynamic process,’ Emily said.
Emily will soon be appearing onscreen as a journalist investigating the legendary Paul Raymond in a feature film about the King of Soho (the film’s working title). Working on her first film, Emily had to rapidly adapt to her new surroundings and the challenges that came with it. ‘Theatre productions have endless rehearsals, but on a film set you only get around ten takes. You have to arrive at the top of your game,’ she said. The film has an all-star cast that includes Steve Coogan, Anna Friel, Stephen Fry and Imogen Poots. Emily said:‘It was bizarre to work with people that I have long admired,’ she said. ‘They were so effortless and professional.’
Currently back on the audition circuit, Emily is looking forward to taking on new acting roles. She advises any hopeful actors at King’s to become involved in the drama societies, and to make the most of the theatre scene that London has to offer. ‘Without my experience at King’s, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to pursue acting professionally,’ Emily said. ‘I’m very grateful.