17.5 Sheila Hancock, Actor

Can you manage your nerves? Viv Groskop talks to legendary actor, Dame Sheila Hancock, ahead of a theatre audience to share reflections from her second memoir Old Rage. Dame Sheila reveals how she has always suffered from chronic stage fright and remains terrified until the end. They discuss how nerves are normal and getting through them. Dame Sheila is frank about shocking stories of sexism in the stage and screen world with overwhelming pressures to conform to a typical look or height. She talks about the experience of being spotted by Theatre Workshop’s Joan Littlewood and how it was a liberation to be herself. Viv reflects that it’s a constant struggle not to pigeon-hole yourself and how important it is to resist that pressure, even if others around you are doing it for you.

Find out more about Dame Sheila Hancock’s Old Rage.

A new updated edition of Viv's book, How to Own the Room is out now.

@vivgroskop