Kate Pothecary: Actor - Too Poor for Pride
An actor and multidisciplinary performer currently working out of Hereford, Kate Pothecary has over a decade of experience working across theatre and film. She stars in Too Poor for Pride for Moosecat Creative as Eliza, a young mother who is confronted with the moral dilemma of what she’s willing to do to feed her child.
Set amidst the harsh reality of a Victorian Slum, Too Poor for Pride is written and directed by Nadine O’Mahony. Part of Moosecat Creative’s Broken People series of shorts, the film is set to premiere in May. Blog writer Edward Lee sat down with Kate to learn about her experience in the industry …
Edward: You’ve managed to forge quite a varied career as an actor. How did you first get into performance?
Kate: I’ve always acted since I was a child. In my 20s I did loads of acting whenever I could, but only got paid for it on a number of small professional projects. It was really after I had kids that I guess I grew up a bit and tried to figure out what I really enjoy, and so then I started to take acting a bit more seriously.
In terms of wider work in the creative industries, I think I’m one of those people that likes to be a problem solver. I had a whole other career as the head of science in a secondary school before I had kids, so I think I had that management side that meant whenever I got involved with a project I’d wind up doing other stuff. Interestingly, as my career’s developed, I don’t want to do so much of that. What I really want to do now, when I distil it down, what I’ve realised I truly enjoy doing is acting.
This in essence is a woman who is coping, who is dealing with it. She’s doing what she has to do and is getting on with it, while working out her own moral dilemmas with herself in order to survive.
E: Branching off that, how have you expanded your skill set as an actor over the years?
K: Well I haven’t been to drama school, but I’ve always said that I’ve tried to give myself a very drawn-out “drama school education” through doing loads of courses and as much training as I can. Even things like opportunities to do dance training, or for example I have guitar lessons every week. I just started saying yes to everything for a while. I did shedloads of short films, I did courses in the Bristol Old Vic, I had an evening course in Cardiff, I did a little bit in London. More recently, a theatre-maker named Tim Evans moved back to Hereford a couple years ago, and started doing regular work here with local professionals, which has been absolutely brilliant to work on so far!
E: Working on Too Poor for Pride, what did you respond to in the project?
K: One of the main aspects I took away from the project is that I really enjoyed working with Nadine, our writer and director. I’d not worked with that many female directors by that time, I don’t think. A disproportionate amount of those I’ve worked with were men. I found her very focussed, as focussed as I like to be myself. The fact that she’d written the piece as well let her bring another layer to the project. We could talk about it beforehand. There were some great moments where, say, she’d mention a reference to a film, and I’d just read the book which that film was based on, so working with her just felt like we were speaking the same language.
For the script itself, Too Poor for Pride is quite an interesting piece. What I liked actually was Nadine’s direction to not overly dwell on the sadness of it. That this in essence is a woman who is coping, who is dealing with it. She’s doing what she has to do and is getting on with it, while working out her own moral dilemmas with herself in order to survive. That really resonated with me, that Nadine didn’t want me to be too dramatic about it.
I find it very useful to have that conversation about a script’s context before learning it.
E: Being part of Moosecat’s inaugural Broken People series of shorts, what was your experience like working with the wider company of Moosecat Creative?
K: It was excellent! Brilliant, absolutely brilliant. Everyone has been extremely professional and very straightforward. There’s been no egos, and everyone’s been very respectful. We shot the film in Greyfriars’ House and Garden, a late medieval merchant’s house which is now a National Trust property, so I appreciated the fact that Cat Lammas was on-set as our Heritage Liaison Advisor during the shoot. The film’s producer Michele Lammas in particular is very careful to make sure everyone feels valued, which is lovely. I couldn’t fault it, an entirely seamless and efficient shoot. All the work had been done by Michele and her team that meant when we got to the point of creativity and shooting, it was a completely open experience.
E: With that sense of an open experience, what preparation did you do for the role?
K: My preparation was mostly down to a discussion with Nadine. I find it very useful to have that conversation about a script’s context before learning it. It’s a bit like on stage, where I find it much easier to learn my lines once I’ve blocked the scenes. In this situation, just having that conversation with Nadine first about that context was essential.
From there, for me it was really making sure that the accent was believable. And then just trying to think about this human being, and what her journey has been to get to this place, and what resilience she has to still be standing … just about.
E: At the tail-end of last year you worked on the promenade piece The Box of Delights with 2Faced Dance in Hereford, which you received a 4-star review for in The Guardian. After the success of that project, what are you hoping to work on for 2020?
K: Aside from any other acting work, what I’m enjoying starting at the moment is that for the first time, I’m making a film. I’m working with another local actor who I’ve done some work with before, and we’ve decided to make a short film together, in some ways to test how we work on that level together, and we’re maybe interested in doing other things in the future. So among other projects, I’m hoping to have that film completed by the end of the year.
Kate will soon be working with Moosecat Creative again on the new short film The Lawn Needs Cutting, written by Michele Lammas (as Emma Austin-Jones), produced and co-directed by Michele Lammas and Sebastian France. Stay tuned for more info!