My Way: Debbie Korley, stage and TV actress who works with the Royal Shakespeare Company

'Be yourself and keep relaxed in your audition'

What did you want to be as a child?

An astronaut, a nurse, or a journalist.

What did you realistically think you'd end up doing?

Probably nursing, because my mum was a nurse.

How did you get into acting?

When I was 11, we moved from Huddersfield to London and I went to a rough school. There was knife and gun crime, and they didn't offer dance or drama GCSE. But a teacher introduced us to Shakespeare; we put on productions in the classroom, and that gave me my first taste of acting.

How did you become professional?

I went to Sylvia Young Theatre School dance classes on Saturdays and joined their agency. At 14, I successfully auditioned for a chorus job at the Old Vic. Then I moved to the National Youth Music Theatre, and at 16 I appeared in a full run of Annie at the Edinburgh Fringe. I then went to Middlesex University to do a degree in performing arts.

And you carried on with the acting?

No, I wanted to take time out, so I worked at a blood-screening laboratory! It was completely different, but it gave me breathing space and I knew then I wanted to act. I did a showcase for agents: there was some interest and I joined an agency. I've been very lucky since – I've done operas, fringe plays, TV shows, a musical....and then my agent put me up for the RSC.

You seem to have worked non-stop?

At times, I've had to temp. After college, I did a secretarial course because of the uncertainty of an actor's life. I'd advise others to do something similar.

Do you consider yourself successful?

I think so. I was really scared when I joined the RSC. I come from a broken home, a northern working-class background and a tough school. I didn't think I could ever do it. So, when I got the contract I thought, well, it's one of the greatest companies in the world, that's it now. But there are a lot more ladders to climb.

What are your audition tips?

Be yourself, keep relaxed; the director wants to know if he or she can get on with you and if you can take direction.

How do I get to be where you are?

In this business, a lot is luck – some get spotted at 16 and their career is made. If you have the chance, go to drama school, or do a showcase and get an agent.

Who is your favourite Shakespeare character?

Lady Macbeth. She's a bit of a villain, but I admire her strength and ability to get her way.

Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol
art'Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' followed hoax reports artist had been arrested and unveiled
Pistorius leaves Pretoria High Court to be taken to prison

Stephanie first after her public appearance as a woman at Rad Fest 2014

Life and Style

Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
James Blunt's debut album Back to Bedlam shot him to fame in 2004

Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'


Endangered species spotted in a creek in the Qinling mountains

Life and Style

Company says data is only collected under 'temporary' identities that are discarded every 15 minutes

peopleJust weeks after he created dress for Alamuddin-Clooney wedding
Life and Style
A street vendor in Mexico City sells Dorilocos, which are topped with carrot, jimaca, cucumber, peanuts, pork rinds, spices and hot sauce
food + drink

Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets

Arts and Entertainment
George Lucas poses with a group of Star Wars-inspired Disney characters at Disney's Hollywood Studios in 2010

George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios

football West Brom vs Man Utd match report: Blind grabs point, but away form a problem for Van Gaal
Life and Style

Some experiencing postnatal depression don't realise there is a problem. What can be done?

Arts and Entertainment
Gotham is coming to UK shores this autumn
tvGotham, episode 2, review
Latest stories from i100
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Student


£60 - £70 per day: Randstad Education Preston: The Job:* The Tutor will prepar...

KS1 & KS2 Primary Teacher Jobs in Blackpool

Negotiable: Randstad Education Preston: KS1 & KS2 Primary Teacher Jobs in ...

Primary Teacher Jobs in Blackpool

Negotiable: Randstad Education Preston: Primary Teacher Jobs in BlackpoolWe ar...

Early Years and Foundation Stage Primary Teachers in Blackpool

Negotiable: Randstad Education Preston: Early Years and Foundation Stage Prima...

Day In a Page

Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
Let's talk about loss

We need to talk about loss

Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

How to dress with authority

Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

Tim Minchin interview

For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album