Frodsham's Emma Cunniffe - Playing in a Doll's House
PUBLISHED: 00:16 07 February 2011 | UPDATED: 20:37 20 February 2013
Frodsham's Emma Cunniffe has moved on quite a bit since she shared a stage with Gary Barlow
Cheshire actor Emma Cunniffe has quite a claim to fame - well aside from being an easily recognisable face from TV dramas such as Cracker, The Whistle Blower, The Lakes and Clocking Off - she was once in panto with Take Thats Gary Barlow.
Even though I was born in Chester, I was brought up in Frodsham, went to St Lukess primary and Frodsham High school and was in the local Frodsham panto group and he was in panto as well, she reveals.
I think it was Red Riding Hood. He was a year above me but I knew him a bit, however I dont know him now!
But rather than being bitten by the stage bug, it was dance she was into, until she went to theatre school at the age of 13 and fell in love with drama.
Shes appearing this month in the Library Theatres production of A Dolls House - which because of the Central Librarys refurbishment, will be staged at the Lowry, Salford from February 24th to March 12th - and is absolutely bowled over by the fact Nora is a character shes always dreamed of playing.
Shes the wife of Torval, who is quite a controlling husband and the play is basically a woman taking control of her own life and making her way in the world, which a woman would have never done at the time it was written in the late 1800s, she explains.
I remember seeing the play when I was in drama school and it made such an impact on me, as I didnt know plays like that were written at that time, that a period costume drama could be so psychologically deep and so relevant to today. I also saw it on Broadway with Janet McTeer and have wanted to play the role ever since. I love Ibsen, people think writers like him, Chekhov and Strindberg are heavy, which they are but they are so astute about human nature.
She may have been seen in some of the best drama around, from Flesh and Blood with Christopher Eccleston to Midsomer Murders but Emma comes across as really lovely and unaffected by her fame. Maybe its those friendly northern genes.
She retains a close association with Manchester and Cheshire, as her family still live in Frodsham and it was only a couple of years ago that she starred in another great Scandinavian play the Three Sisters at the Royal Exchange, a theatre she really loves.
I remember seeing Pete Postlethwaite at the Royal Exchange in the Tempest, he was so brilliant. I worked with him briefly in a film too I feel very connected with Manchester, I used to come into the city all the time when I was younger to watch theatre, or go to a club. I used to go to the Hacienda, 42nd Street, the Boardwalk, Manchesters a great place to go out.
And I love all the shopping up there too. I also like the surrounding areas like Knutsford, Chester; it is just so pretty up there.
She spent quite some time early on in her career in the north working on series such as Cracker and of course the Lakes, the hard-hitting Jimmy McGovern drama based around the Lake District, which also starred John Simm.
That was a bit of a turning point for me in terms of work, says Emma,
Jimmy McGovern is such a brilliant writer and I love to do modern work as long as the scripts are good.
Her nieces and nephews are really excited though about her forthcoming appearance next month in Dr Who.
She has a goodie role and yes she got to work with Matt Smith who plays the eponymous hero but fans will have to wait to find out more.
Im not supposed to say who I play and what I do, she says.
Its so high profile now. But my nieces and nephews are absolutely obsessed and so excited about it, so I am really pleased for them that I got to do it.
Emma appears at the Library Theatres production of A Dolls House from February 24th to March 12th at the Lowry Theatre. For tickets and more information contact www.librarytheatre.com
tel: 0161 236 7110