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Interview: Suzanne Hall
THERE are many differences between East Lancashire's Hollyoaks actress Suzanne Hall and the face we think we know from nightly instalments of the teen soap.
The first is cosmetically obvious. The feisty woman who comes to life once the director shouts "cut" is a far cry from Suzanne Ashworth, the mumsy middle-aged mother-of-three who is Suzanne's character.
"As soon as I get there it's off with any remotely nice makeup and on with painting the dark circles around my eyes," she says. "I have to look really miserable all the time at the moment. I hope soon she can have some happiness in her life, maybe even have an affair.
"I like dressing up to go out when I'm not working. I am so unlike my character. I am a mum just like her but I'm not bored or downtrodden. Mums can still be sexy."
Suzanne's character has had her fair share of heartache recently so who can blame her for not looking her best? Her family have just found out that her eldest son's father is not her husband but her husband's brother and her daughter has been hospitalised due to severe anorexia.
Suzanne, who has been acting professionally since she was 12, says these latest scenes were some of her toughest and upsetting to date.
She added: "The anorexia scenes with Hannah were so sad. We were crying for hours at a time and the tears were real. I think moreso for me because I have a daughter who is the same age."
Born in Australia but raised in Chorley, Suzanne hopes to be with Hollyoaks for many years but revealed that one day she would love nothing more than a return to Coronation Street as Kimberly Taylor, who she played from 1989 to 1992.
Suzanne has wanted to be an actress for as long as she can remember and determination saw her complete a diploma in drama the age of 15. At the same time she bagged herself an agent.
But when she is not filming there is a secret side which makes her very different from most others in her trade. For Suzanne is also a fully qualified teacher, currently teaching media studies at Our Lady and St John Catholic Arts College, Blackburn, giving weekly lessons as regularly as her filming schedule allows.
Plus, in 2003 she set up The Actors' Studios - a drama club where members are taught camera, auditioning and other acting techniques free of charge. With Radio Lancashire presenter Terry Durney, the group's writer, the company has been working from Our Lady and St John's and recently begun to make use of Thwaites Empire Theatre Suzanne said: "I think it is a real shame that kids who are not privileged enough to have the money for expensive stage schools are missing out on fulfilling their dreams.
"We are hoping we can make a difference. So far many of our actors have auditioned for, and gained, parts in exciting short films and advertising campaigns and this is just the beginning.
"There is a huge pool of untapped talent in this area.
"The Actors' Studios has specialised in film and TV training, but my roots are in theatre and now, with the Thwaites Theatre, we will be able to put on stage performances to give the pupils a rounder variety of acting techniques."
Suzanne's ultimate aim is to prove that you do not need to move to London to succeed as an actor.