I was selected from a bunch of Scouse scallies when I was just 17 years old to play the young wife of an addict in Jimmy McGovern’s Screenplay Needle. As with all Jimmy’s work, it was Northern, raw, angry and political – my type of thing! It was produced by George Faber at the BBC (who believed in me from the get-go – thanks George), and directed by Gillies McKinnon. I worked alongside the immense talent of Pete Postlethwaite, who played my dad in the film. I cannot emphasise enough how much I learnt from him – a generous, patient, warm-hearted man.
I wanted to experience an academic education, so went off to university and learnt about Philosophy and big stuff like that! I then trained as a teacher and facilitator and started directing more seriously, which I loved doing and so pursued for quite a few years…
Knowing I would once again, at some point, re-focus on my acting career. So here I am: older, wiser, and still passionate about acting.
“Emma Bird, whose [character] from Victoria Station becomes Mrs Withers / Mother in the second part, embodies a needy dysfunction that is quite disturbing and at times very funny … This production is daring, clever and breath taking in the best possible way. It’s funny too. If you haven’t got a ticket yet, get one very soon. Outstanding.”Josie Melia
“As an actor, Emma is thoughtful, enquiring, highly intelligent and generous to other actors. She is creative – able to develop ideas and contribute to the creative process. She is unpretentious, courageous and diligent”Aine King
Emma is represented by CiekaBailey Associates. You can get in touch using the details below:
Tel: 0161 484 5423 or 07780 380121
Some Past Roles
I had a successful and busy career in my early twenties, represented by the excellent Sally Long-Innes at ICM (now Independent Talent Group). Lots of TV and theatre came my way, including the high profile series Casualty, where I played regular character Maxine Price. This was really fun to do, and being just 19 years old it completely changed my life. I learnt many things, both personally and professionally, met lots of people ‘in the business’ and cut my teeth as a young actor – all ‘on the job’ in a TV warehouse in Bristol!
Years later, following many good turns in ‘proper plays’ at ‘proper theatres’, I landed at The National Theatre in The Good Hope, alongside the inimitable Frances de La Tour. The play was adapted by Lee Hall and directed by Bill Brydon. It was a buzz crossing Waterloo Bridge in time for my half hour call and seeing The Good Hope scrolling across the large LED screen at the National. I remember thinking, ‘wow… I work there … that’s pretty cool!’
After filming a couple of short films with writer/director Sandra Goldbacher, I then worked on her first feature The Governess starring Minnie Driver and Tom Wilkinson. I had major scenes alongside Minnie playing her younger sister. The film was a Victorian period drama and well received. It was great fun to be involved in this beautiful film (but so glad to get out of the corset!)
I recently performed in a 5* production of Harold Pinter’s Victoria Station and Family Voices in Brighton Fringe Festival , adapted and directed by Aine King. I portrayed a disturbed woman whose child was missing; it was deliberately left ambiguous as to whether or not she was insane…but I think she was! Trying to understand my character, to make them work for me and find a way to fuse us together, is a process I thoroughly enjoy and one of the many delights of being an actor. I found this character particularly intriguing to build, craft and perform.