Meet the Actor | Sarah Gordy Q&A

We’re excited to introduce Sarah Gordy, star of Ben Weatherill’s Jellyfish which opens June 2018 in the Studio. She plays Kelly.

How did you get into acting?

My sister and I listened to a lot of storytelling at Mum’s kitchen table. Acting in school plays was a natural thing for me. I didn’t plan to be a professional; people had seen me and Granada Television found me for Peak Practice.

Who inspires you?

Mark Rylance. He can be quiet and motionless, but I can see what is in his head. Wolf Hall was fantastic. I love watching Judi Dench, and Monica Dolan is so good in character that you don’t recognise her.

What was your first role?

Three weeks filming Peak Practice playing Jessica Bain. The episode was written by Lisa Evans “the mother of my career”. She was later commissioned to write Once We Were Mothers for the New Vic, Newcastle Under Lyme. An 800 seat theatre in the round. My first professional play. A wonderful play, worth reading.

“She is a woman first, before thinking about any disability”

How do you prepare for a role?

Smell first. When Heidi Thomas was writing a role for me in Call The Midwife I asked her if my character would smell of perfume (posh) Carbolic soap (respectable working class) or dirt and cabbage. We had met when I did Upstairs Downstairs so she understood. People tell me that what I do is “method”.

What has been your favourite role to date?

It has got to be “Kelly” in Jellyfish. She is a woman first, before thinking about any disability. Strong, funny and passionate. A complete human being, living a full life. I have had some wonderful characters before, but they are often very dependent. Although I loved playing brain damaged “Dodo” Orlando Quine in The Silkworm.

If you weren’t an actress, what would you like to be?

That’s difficult, I can’t be an accountant or anything as I am no good with numbers. I would work with people making them feel better in some way.

What’s one thing people wouldn’t know about you?

That’s difficult. People seem to know everything about everybody through social media. I guess I am very polite and gentle but when I do dance improvisation I can express violence and passion through my body, which makes me feel very free.

Sarah Gordy (Kelly) photographed for Jellyfish by Samuel Taylor

Sarah Gordy (Kelly) photographed for Jellyfish by Samuel Taylor

How does it feel being the inspiration for the main role in Jellyfish? Can you tell us how it came about?

Ben Weatherill (writer of Jellyfish) tells me that he has been watching me since he saw me on Holby City. He had been wanting to write about a character who was different and he saw that in me. I am thrilled this is what I have been waiting for my whole life.

Do you think that the industry is changing for actors with learning disabilities? What are the changes you’d like to see?

I have seen so much change. When I first started on television the crews would be dismayed to have me playing large parts. They thought it would be impossible to keep to tight schedules, which was understandable. I know this because they would joke with us later when I had proved myself.  Theatre is breaking new ground all the time with brilliant new writing which includes humanity in all its flavours.

Jellyfish runs 27 Jun – 21 July 2018. It is a unique romance across uncharted waters which asks: does everyone really have the right to love as they choose?