ALRA graduate (2003) Denise Gough hasn't had an easy career. She had to support herself financially during her studies at ALRA and after graduating she nearly gave up her career after a whole year of rejections, much like many actors in the same position.
However, after a tough start, Denise recently received the best actress prize at the Critics’ Circle theatre awards for her performance in People, Places & Things at the National Theatre.
Denise not only has brilliant acting skills, but also a strong personality; fierce and fearless just like her character, Emma, in People, Places & Things.
Three years prior to these awards, she had won the best newcomer prize for her role in Desire Under the Elms at the Lyric Hammersmith.
Professional actors are coming in to inspire ALRA students
Financial constraints generally have a great impact on actors' careers which, along with rejections, make this profession as difficult as it is rewarding.
Here at ALRA, we love to share stories like Denise’s, who kindly visited our South campus earlier this year to inspire and motivate our students, offering some excellent tips and advice on what to expect. Denise was extremely popular amongst our students, who took it to social media to thank Denise and share their learning experiences from the day:
Denise backs Equal Representation for Actresses campaign
Denise is an inspiring woman who is focused on her goals. In fact, at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards she raised awareness of her new campaign called Equal Representation for Actresses – 50:50 by 2018.
During interviews, whilst donning an official t-shirt for the campaign, Denise explained the goals of her campaign.
“This campaign... asks for equal representation for actresses, because 51% of the population are women and less than a third of parts on screen are for women.”
“It’s got to change and the more we talk about it the better. The more we are represented, the more we can talk about the pay gap and all of that, so we can start feeling a bit more like we are represented for who we are – we are 51% of the population. We are the ones who go to the theatre, for God’s sake.”
Watch Denise at the Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards
Denise's philosophy seem to extend beyond her current campaign as she also promotes inclusion for all and fairness in ticket prices for the West End transfer of People, Places and Things. Theatre actors don't get big contracts like Hollywood, TV and cinema actors. This is a career path for stage lovers only.
Listen to Denise’s inspiring podcast here.