Living in the here and now
Star of the stage Sophie Ward shares a moment with DIVA to reflect on the last 50 years
A former model and an acclaimed star of both the stage and screen, Sophie Ward has been acting since she was just 10 years old. Sophie spoke to DIVA between performances of A Judgement In Stone – an adaptation of the Ruth Rendell novel – about theatre, LGBT+ representation, and how the current political climate is impacting minorities.
DIVA: Your 40-year career has spanned TV, film and theatre. How different is being on stage to being on screen?
SOPHIE WARD: It’s very different and much more of an organic beast. You’ve got the audience who are very much part of the play and how the evening develops – we all play our part in that one-off occasion that’s never to be repeated. Everything’s just happening right there and then for us, that night, that story. I think that’s a really exciting experience to be part of.
Would you say you prefer theatre?
I love films, but it is different. You’re much more distant from it. You do a little piece here and there. I mean, the lovely thing about it is you get to see the whole story afterwards, something that keeps going and has another life. In theatre, that’s it after that one night.
How has coming out affected the roles you’re cast in?
I came out not long after filming A Village Affair and the film was very close to my own story. Work was difficult for a while – there was a prevailing attitude that straight actors could play gay characters, but the reverse was not true. Of course, this was ridiculous as many gay actors were, are, closeted, and did their jobs just fine! It was simply homophobic. Eventually, the attitude towards gay and lesbian actors shifted, as it is gradually for transgender actors. The issue of whether to come out or not is a personal one, but I believe that while there are still hate crimes and homophobia, it is important to stand up for the community.
What do you think about the state of LGBT+ characters on our screens these days?
There is still underrepresentation, but the idea of “incidental” LGBT+ storylines is becoming more familiar. How lovely to have the character of Bill Potts (played by Pearl Mackie) in Doctor Who, whose storyline is interwoven between the episodes. There is a whole world of untold stories that are starting to be heard.
Read the rest of our exclusive interview with Sophie in the September issue of DIVA, available now at divadigital.co.uk.
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