From Fanny Hill to Wuthering Heights, Rebecca Night is one actress who has left her mark on the period drama genre. With a face you just can’t forget, Rebecca has enchanted audiences in a number of leading role and we couldn’t think of a better expert to stop and chat to. If you’ve ever dreamt of working in theatre and drama, read on to find out what happened when we caught up with Rebecca and asked her for some tips for getting to the top...
In 2008 a production of Oscar Wilde’s hugely popular comedy, The Importance of Being Earnest, featuring UK stage and screen icon Penelope Keith alongside rising star Rebecca Night, proved a big hit. We spoke to Rebecca, who played Cecily Cardew, while she was in rehearsal.
Rebecca rose to acclaim in a debut most actresses can only dream of, taking the lead role in the BBC period drama of Fanny Hill. The notorious role brought her much attention, with The Guardian describing it as ‘a delightful debut’ – but Rebecca is happy to be returning to the stage.
‘On stage you have to keep it fresh and find a different energy every night,’ she says. ‘With a play you do it, see how the audience reacts, and they’ll teach you things that you can learn from. Working with television, you’re in the bubble of the work for several weeks – and then someone watches it. So you don’t really know what they’re going to make of it.’
As well as being excited by the prospect of working with such a talented cast, Rebecca is also looking forward to performing in Wilde’s most enduring play – a brilliant comedy of manners with a twisting plot and a myriad of memorable lines. ‘Every night we go out there and have a lot of fun, because it’s a great story,’ she explains. ‘Our characters are a bit barmy, so it’s fun getting to play them. Plus it’s quite romantic, which is nice as well.’
When asked how a 22-year-old came to star in a BBC adaptation and perform a lead stage role just two years after graduating from acting school, Rebecca responds modestly. She puts it down to: ‘A lot of luck, plus working hard, being determined and enjoying being creative. I always made sure I was doing something creative at drama school.’
Rebecca attended Rose Bruford College in London and says that, while you don’t need professional coaching in order to be a success, it certainly helps. As she explains: ‘The play I’m doing at the moment requires a real vocal energy and stamina – and my training has really helped me with that. A lot of my friends haven’t trained in acting and they’re still amazing. But, for me, it was definitely the right thing to do.’
Although keen to continue her stage and TV work, Rebecca also talks of moving into the resurgent British film scene. Having worked with celebrated English actresses Alison Steadman and now Penelope Keith, she also lists Dame Judi Dench and Meryl Streep as two ‘dream’ co-stars, adding: ‘I also think Kevin Spacey is great. I’ve seen him on stage in a couple of plays and I thought he was brilliant.’
Her priorities, however, remain the story. She explains that it’s not the medium that’s important but the part: ‘I just want to do anything that has a good character in it and tells a good story.’ She also offers some useful advice for those thinking of going into the entertainment profession themselves: ‘If you’re sure you really want to do it, then go for it, work hard, trust yourself – and just keep doing it no matter what’.
Dream of following in Rebecca’s footsteps? Take a look at the acting courses listed on Hotcourses and get inspired. Break a leg!