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Tell Us In 10: Liza Pulman

First Published 16 January 2023, Last Updated 19 January 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 Liza Pulman, who will be currently performing in Liza Pulman – The Heart Of It at The Other Palace.

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

Photo by Danny Kaan

1) My route into theatre was…

…curious! My mother is actress Barbara Young and my father was screen writer Jack Pulman so it was very much in the blood. My elder sister Cory, was also an actress at that time and so I chose to go to The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, in a desperate attempt to find my own path I think. There, I trained for 6 years, not as an actress (which is what i’d always intended) but as an opera singer. After college I joined Glyndebourne Opera Company and then worked successfully as an opera singer until I was 30 when I suddenly announced to everyone that I was going to work in theatre instead. I was very cocky and totally unrealistic but I was lucky enough to be given the lead in the touring version of Dr Dolittle with the gorgeous Philip Schofield. I did a dreadful first audition, but the director, the much missed Steven Pimlott, had seen me do a solo show and knew I could do it. He brought me back in for a second audition, gave me a good talking to and told me to be better!! I was and I got the part.

2) My West End idol is…

This one’s a bit of a cheat answer but my (known to be in the) West End (on occasion, if only for dinner) idols are my colleagues from Fascinating Aida, Dillie Keane and Adele Anderson. Joining FA in 2004 changed everything for me as, despite a successful career in both opera and musical theatre, it wasn’t until I became the third member of Fascinating Aida that I really found my spiritual home. I have spent more time with these two extraordinary women than almost anyone else in my life. We have been there for each other through all the big stuff, good and bad, and their work ethic, talents and humour continue to inspire me and make me grateful for every moment I share on a stage with them.

3) My colleagues would describe me as…

Lord knows! You’d have to ask them! But I guess at a push they might say I was short, funny, verbal, bossy, warm, opinionated, a bit of a control freak with a crazy knowledge of old films and the love of a good glass of wine.

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

In recent years I adored The Girl from The North Country – I cried all the way through it.

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

The first time an audience got to their feet (to applaud, not to leave!) for one of my solo shows. It was in Shrewsbury in the early days when i’d just started with my band and we’d sold about 23 tickets! I was so worried about box office and paying everyone, it had never occurred to me that people might actually like it! I stood on stage and burst into tears like a true professional.

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

It goes without saying that there have been and will continue to be, tough moments for our profession – covid was one of them- but overall, I feel incredibly lucky to earn a living doing what I do. Years ago, when I was young, my mum took me to see Barbara Cook in concert at the Donmar Warehouse and I remember coming out and thinking to myself “That is what I want to do -what she just did. I want to make music. I want to stand on a stage and sing and talk to people and make them laugh and cry. I want to share an evening with them.” I’ve done so many things during my crazily eclectic career but now I get to do just that and I love it.

Photo by Lidia Crisafulli

7) If I wasn’t an actor, I would be…

A personal travel agent. My friends often ring me up and ask me to help them with ideas for travel abroad and I always manage to match them with the the right country, the right accommodation and usually a few restaurant tips while i’m at it! My idea of heaven is to sit down with a coffee at home and while away an hour or two travelling through the Greek islands on my lap top. Greek-island porn I call it.

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

I was on the Piccadilly line train that was blown up on July 7th 2005. I was on my way to start a new temp job that morning ( I refer you to my “tough moments in our profession” answer of question 6) As a Londoner born and bread, I would walk to the front of the train because there was always more chance of getting a seat but on that particular morning, as the train pulled up at Wood Green station, I was running late and so I jumped onto the carriage that was in front of me instead. The bomb was on the first carriage. A real sliding doors moment and a total life-changer for me, in every sense.

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

My father, who was a writer used to say to my mother, who was an actress if she was feeling little down about work, ” You know Barbara, you just have to outlast them.” Mum passed that little gem on to me, and so that’s my plan. Just to keep going and keep plugging away. Its all we can do.

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

Learn to drive! I waited until I was 45 to learn and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done! Now, I pootle around in my little fiat 500, loving life and I wonder why it took me so long!

Photo by Bob Berry

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