Pippa Moss is one of the stars of Storyhouse’s theatre in the park, playing numerous roles across this years 3 productions. Over a coffee in Jaunty Goat, she chatted to us about her life as an actress and her thoughts on Chester.
Pippa, who is from Southend on Sea in Essex had always wanted to be an actress.”I did some am dram in Essex, with some friends of mine who have turned professional as well, one of them is a producer. I did a foundation course in Guildford, at a school mainly known for its musical theatre.” Prior to this she worked in a Bingo Hall and her local Odeon. Her claim to fame is being the official voice of Mecca Bingo:
“They have a few voices! Online its my voice and they have it in the clubs as well..I had to audition for the job , they were rebranding Mecca Bingo at the time and my club was a concept club, they had redone the whole thing, made it like a nightclub atmosphere. I had a head mike and I would walk around calling the numbers, it was really cool!”
She went on to study at Bristol Old Vic and her first professional job after graduation was Frinton Summer theatre. “They do 7 plays in 7 weeks. Its a little town in Essex, its kinda like the Verona that Alex Clifton has created in Two Gents, a granny town…one street that has all the shops on, and one pub that everyone goes to. I did an Alan Ayckbourn play called Flatspin. I played a grumpy bodyguard in that, and had a good fight in that. It was the best first job.. The BBC were filming a documentary about performing arts and we did a film as well. I met some really good friends, got my agent and got other work onstage.
“I’ve been so lucky with work. I graduated last year and I have had 5 professional jobs. I’ve had downtime and done other things in between . I still go back to the Odeon between acting jobs.
The cast stay in Chester during the summer season. Pippa’s host family have “a dog, chickens and a daughter that works at the theatre as well, its really lovely.” she says.
“We arrived on May 9th and normally a rehearsal period is 4-5 weeks but this is 7..Every director has got their own ideas about each play so theres a lot of talk in that direction first. You see the designers input… I love the outdoor theatre. Even if it rains, in The Globe, the punters would still have stayed there and enjoyed it.” Luckily this year the weather has generally been good except for tech week for As you Like it, which Pippa describes as “dirty” saying that it rained relentlessly.
The cast all get on well. “They take that into consideration when they’re casting as they need to know that you can work together for 4 months at a time. ” Auditions are solo, “they judge it on your character. I had to do a few scenes from As you Like it.
“Harry, who plays Proteus was at Bristol as well, and he lived in my house in Bristol. Its got all the student headshots on the wall and you add your headshot after you graduate. When I saw his face on the cast list I realised he has stayed in my house, which was quite cool ”
The recently concluded season consisted of 2 Shakespeare plays and an adaptation of Stig of the Dump.”As you Like it is a very traditional take on the play, which I love, it feels very magical and earthy and pagan.” Pippa had a larger role in The Two Gentlemen of Verona, for which she cut her hair. All 3 plays have given Pippa the chance to sing and dance.”I like singing . They’ve got me playing guitar all the time in As you Like it” Of the format she says, “there is so much text to the crowd.. in the round you can see all the faces , and they can see each others faces. in the round is the best way to introduce theatre to people.
“Chester is very lovely. I came here to visit for the day when I was in Stoke and first impressions are lovely. I visited the amphitheatre, I was a bit confused why there was only half there ! Its been an amazing place to live in, everyone’s really friendly and because I’m from down south that’s a rarity.
“On a race day that’s something else, it makes me feel like I’m back on the streets of Essex, but kinda worse… Its like Essex on a Saturday night!
We joined the bandwagon and it was one of the cast member’s birthday on a race night and we all glammed up as if we’d been to the races, bought fascinators from charity shops and fake tanned up! There’s a lot of people out of control and a lot of police as well which is good. Last night was A level results and there was a bit of a scrap by the taxi rank while I was waiting .
I have never watched TOWIE and I don’t intend to! she laughs “I always get comments like “oh have they ruined it all for you?.. ” I’m a true Essex girl but I’m not as TOWIE as they are… I am not far from Basildon but I’ve not met any of them. I was in a nightclub once and there was a rumour going round that Joey Essex was in the building and people were freaking out.”
The Marlborough Arms is traditionally a hot spot for Storyhouse cast. “I got I got in trouble, I covered the table with permanent market illustrations , they told me to sand it off!”. Pippa also champions Prohibition on Watergate street and the new Opera restaurant on pepper street.
.In the future Pippa says that she loves Shakespeare but would like to star in action films, due to her love for combat and stunts. “I have no history of performing arts in my family. we’re a very working class family. My mum thinks its cool. My brother is a Parkour coach, and he’s done Ninja warrior and Britain’s got talent. Hes called Bradley Moss and he got through to the live finals…”
Pippa laughs when asked if she would star in Chester based Hollyoaks: “sometimes beggars cant be choosers can they , potentially. I bet its jolly good fun; I’d think about it!
.”I do street performing on the side. I’m a living statue when I’m not acting! I have three statues, I do an Amelia Earhart one .. a ballerina and a mythical princess. I wrote to a guy who has a really good company who lives off it and I worked with him on the 2012 Olympics and he lent me one of his costumes, he has mentored me through it. You have to have a good costume, theres a lot of floating Yodas around London and they look really scruffy. You have to put the time in to perfect it…”
Looking back she says that it was the premature death of her father that pushed her to pursue her acting dream. “Life’s too short. I didn’t want to work at Mecca Bingo forever, I tried a bank job and that was shit. Its hard.. my brother has just had a baby and I’ve not really seen him. I love the freedom its gives you, but I’ll be leaving here and I probably won’t see most of these people for a while…
On leaving Chester she says : “I’ve made some friends for life, its been such a great experience ! “If you go somewhere like where I’m from that theres not that much going on, I think theres brilliant culture.. theres so much history here. And it seems here that Cestrians are very proud that they have so much history. You’ve got a bit of everything! The theatre is so exciting. There is nothing like that going on in Essex… ”
With thanks to Kate Northcott and Storyhouse /Mark Carline for photos