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Tell Us In 10: Harriett O’Grady

Yasmin Elkilany

By Yasmin Elkilany First Published 17 February 2023, Last Updated 21 April 2023

In our profile series, Tell Us In 10, we ask cast members and creatives of top London shows to tell us all about themselves in just 10 questions. From how their castmates would describe them and alternative careers, to their Theatreland idols, we want to know it all!

This week, we hear from Harriett O’Grady, who is currently playing Pearl St. Clair (and covers Lizzie Stark and Ada Thorne, the role she will be playing for the 200th show) in Peaky Blinders: The Rise.

Find out more about Harriett and her career so far below:

1) My route into theatre was…

One Easter when I was 5 or 6 I watched Jesus Christ Superstar and fell in love. I begged my mum to record it on VHS and watched it every day for the next month! I didn’t really know what it was but I knew I wanted to do it. I then joined my local town’s pantomime, started doing local dance and theatre classes, studied acting in college and then drama school…. and the passion I have for the work continues to grow to this day.

2) My West End idol is…

Clare Perkins! She does fantastic work.

3) My colleagues would describe me as…

Dedicated and hardworking (sometimes to a fault…), a good listener and orator, a compassionate ear – and a fellow playmate who is always ready for a challenge! I take a lot of pride in my work and people often say they feel safe, secure and supported when improvising and playing in the show, which means the world to me.

4) My favourite show (that isn’t one I star in/work on) is…

I think it has to be A Monster Calls. I love physical storytelling and feel especially passionate about plays with music and song, and I thought they did such a beautiful job of creating a living, breathing piece of theatre that moved me in a way I haven’t experienced before.

5) The career moment I’m most proud of is…

Rehearsing, teaching and opening Peaky Blinders: The Rise whilst also rehearsing, teaching and opening another show as a director at the same time!

6) The hardest part about my job/role is…

Getting people on Pearl’s side! As an outsider to the Shelby family I naturally raise a lot of suspicion, so I have to do a lot of grafting to get audience members to work with me. Pearl’s charm usually wins them over in the end though….

7) If I wasn’t an actor, I would be...

Definitely something creative! I love to write and draw, but my two passions outside of performance are cooking and gardening…. I would love to have my own restaurant one day!

8) Something people don’t know about me is…

My record time for completing a Rubik’s cube is 45 seconds.

9) The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…

Trust your instincts and listen to your gut – it never steers you wrong.

10) The one thing I wish I could tell my younger self is…

Be your most authentic self! As a mixed race woman I have often found myself trying to fit into other people’s moulds and ideals. It doesn’t work. Be the most truthful version of you – and if people don’t like it, they’re not your people.


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Harriett O'Grady Peaky Blinders Peaky Blinders: The Rise

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