Stellar Quine of the Month: Maureen Beattie

Maureen Beattie

How long have you been associated with Stellar Quines?
Since early 2006 when I directed Perfect Pie by the Canadian writer, Judith Thompson, for a Stellar Quines tour.

What was your first ever job?
When I was about 12 I was in This Man Craig, a drama series for BBC TV. It was set in a Comprehensive school and I was one of the second year pupils. My first ever paid line as an actor was the immortal, “2b, Miss Duncan.”!

What was the contact or opportunity that you feel has made the most difference to your career?
The late Stephen MacDonald, who first cast me as Rosalind in As You Like It at Dundee Rep, kept me on for that season and then took me with him when he became Artistic Director of The Royal Lyceum in Edinburgh. He gave me the chance to play some of the greatest roles ever written for a young actress. It was an amazing time.

What’s the biggest opportunity that you missed or wished you had taken up but didn’t?
Apart from some exceptional cases, I truly believe that each decision you make, each fork in the path you choose is neither better nor worse than any other – they’re just different.

What’s your most memorable moment in theatre?
Waiting to go on as Medea in Liz Lochhead’s brilliant adaptation of Euripides’ drama that she wrote for Theatre Babel. It was in The Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow and, as I stood behind the curtain waiting to go on stage, I suddenly remembered that my Mum, who had died some years before, was responsible way back in the 1970s for the Fruitmarket becoming a performance venue in the first place. I spoke to her and asked her to help me to rise to the challenge ahead of me on stage that night. As I heard my cue coming up I felt her put her hand on the small of my back and give me a gentle push forward. The feeling of being watched over and inspired by her presence stayed with me till the end of the performance. I’ll never forget it.

What’s your favourite play?
Medea – see above!

What advice would give to new and emerging women in Scottish theatre?
For me it doesn’t get much better than the following from Theodore Roosevelt – “It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out where the strong man stumbled or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred with dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms; who, at the best, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

What do you like the best about being an actress?
The incredible people you get to meet and work with.

What do you order at the bar once the show has come down?
Large glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

What’s the item you always overlook on your list?
There’s always something but it’s never the same thing twice!

Who would your Stellar Quine of the month be and why?
The actress, Colette O’Neill, who I’ve just been working with on Abi Morgan’s play 27 for NTS. She is everything I would wish to be as an actress – blazingly honest, constantly enquiring, full of courage, open of heart and soul, and filled with a generosity of spirit towards her fellow performers that brings out the best in everyone.

SQ of the Month