Lia Burge to make television debut in EastEnders

Tonight Winterson’s actress Lia Burge will make the leap from stage to screen as she appears in her first television role, starring alongside Steve McFadden and Letitia Dean in EastEnders. It’s a small step for a hugely talented performer who is currently busy across a number of different projects. We caught up with the rising star to find out what she’s up to and how her career is developing.

Please tell us what you’re up to at the moment…
I’ve just filmed a little part on EastEnders for a big storyline climax airing on Friday. I play family liaison officer, Andrea Pugh. It was a lovely thing to get my first TV job –  Winterson’s have been working hard for it, and it happened straight after finishing Romeo & Juliet at the Orange Tree, so that was lovely. I really enjoyed my time on set and the actors I was working with. Steve McFadden and Letitia Dean were great – they are very good at their job too, it was impressive.

How long have you been with Winterson’s? And as both an actress and a dancer how important is it to have a wider reaching agent that is able to put you in for a variety of work?
I’ve been with Winterson’s for about a year and a half; they signed me after FREAK by Anna Jordan, which is a show I’m very proud of, so it’s great it came off the back of that.

I’m a very happy client. They understand and embrace my versatility as a Lia-Burgeperformer and I feel they are excited to put me up for a range of roles. I think it’s rare for agents to go for that so it’s great to finally have one that champions my more transformative side as well as just getting ME! This means I go up for parts I can get excited about because they are so right. When they called with a job that married my skills as a dancer and physical performer with my more classical training I couldn’t believe my luck: Gemma Fairlie, the director of Romeo & Juliet at the Orange Tree, was looking for actors with physical/dance skills for Shakespeare and I thought, this his has got to be me! Luckily it was and I really loved working on it. I feel supported and respected at Winterson’s and I have a huge amount of respect for them too. They are seriously hard working, diverse, fierce, fabulous and down to earth. My kind of people. I’m very lucky.

Tell us about the new company you’ve set up, BardBox. That looks an interesting project on an emerging digital platform – how important is it for modern actors to embrace new channels?
(Sickeningly perhaps) I’ve been obsessed with Shakespeare since I was a child and as I’ve grown become absolutely determined it not be dismissed into an elusive world of proclamation and ham. The plays are so moving and life affirming if you can just hear them clearly but sadly young people are growing up with few examples during their education and the older stuff is just not accessible today. I’ve worked on a lot of Shakespeare with budding, like-minded companies, Merely and The Smooth Faced Gentlemen which has been hugely rewarding.

So I’ve now set up my own company, BardBox. Through which I’ve brought together a group of actors with great skill to just speak the words and mean them and we recorded some pilots using immersive music and sound. There will one day be an interactive App with full annotated Audio Plays to download both for pleasure and study. Just the sound of the ‘Shakespeare voice’ sends audiences into a coma these days and it drives me mad because the text has infinite potential to move people. What better way to get this kind of work into the world than with modern technology – Apps are brilliant and people are always on their phones!

There you go, Shakespeare rant over.. You may be amused, as I was, when you watch EastEnders on Friday to hear a Shakespeare sonnet being recited over my scene. Connectivity!