Sian Reese-Williams may be best known for her role as Gennie Walker in Emmerdale, but the actress was the darling of this summer's Edinburgh Fringe Festival, regularly performing to sold out audiences. Yawn caught up with Sian on a rare day off, before she plans to rest by sleeping for the next month or so...
You spent the summer on stage at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival to excellent reviews. What was the highlight for you?
We did 3 shows! Lungs, Human Ear and Our Teacher's a Troll by Dennis Kelly, so it was pretty full on. I'm pretty sure I ran on adrenalin and coffee for the month. The highlight was probably performing to sold out audiences. The auditorium is a popup theatre so when it was full it felt so exciting. No feeling like it.
What is it that you love about acting?
Of course, it's exhilarating to perform in front of hundreds of people and being able to bring them enjoyment. But for me, the rehearsal process is the most fulfilling part. With every role I play, I discover something about myself, be it through similarities or differences and that can be scary, but it's great to have a profession that asks you to question these things.
Who was your favourite character to play?
All in all on this job, I've played around 15 characters, but my favourite is probably 'W' in Lungs. She's intelligent, funny, completely overanalytical and a joy to play. She's brilliantly written and there aren't many roles like it for women of my age (I'm XXX), sadly, so it's been a joy. I'll miss her!
When Yawn contacted you about this interview, you were in Edinburgh and apologised for taking a few days to respond, explaining that "it's like a vortex here where time and reallife seem to take indifferent forms". As an actress, do you find it difficult to switch off, to come out of character and into real life?
It's not so much a case of coming out of character as it is being able to wind down after a show.No matter how long you've been working on a play, the adrenalin gets to you every night and it's difficult to switch off. It normally takes me at least two hours to get my brain back on track!
And what did you do in Edinburgh in your rare days off?
Because the schedule was so heavy and the festival itself is so intense, I would tend to try to avoid it on those days! So I'd take myself to parts of Edinburgh that were untouched by the Fringe. A couple of massages and a pedicure sorted me out too!
Your work life couldn't be further from a traditional 95. When and how do you relax?
I am remarkably good at slobbing out! I wish I could say I go to yoga classes and meditate on my time off, but the truth is, I binge watch Nashville most of the time.
You're probably best known for your performance as Gennie Walker in Emmerdale, where you spent 5 years. You must have enjoyed it, to stay that long?
I did. It was an amazing experience in many ways and I learnt an enormous amount. Despite the security of it I missed the variety that acting can bring you, so I was ready to leave and reenter that world when I made the decision.
What are the key differences between stage and television? Which are you most drawn to?
The obvious difference is the immediacy. In theatre, anything can happen. With TV, you have one shot to get it right and it's there forever. For me, theatre is more exciting because every night is different and you continue to hone the work right to the last show. I love that.
Do you have plans to return to television?
I'd love to do more television, yes. There's nothing in the pipeline at the moment. The craft of television is fascinating and I'm still learning, so I'd love to do more of it. Right now, having been away for so long, I'm really enjoying being on the stage.
What will we see you in next?
I'm intending to sleep for at least a month once this job is over, so once I've done that, I'll think about what's next!
You can also sing beautifully. Is that something you do for pleasure or is it also a form of work? Or both?
I don't tend to work professionally with singing but if the right job came along I definitely would. Also, if there's a Country and Western band out there looking for a singer, I'm available!
Tough! I'm an enormous Elvis fan so probably something by him. If I Can Dream is beautiful. I'm also a sucker for Wichita Lineman.
Quickfire bedtime questions
Night Cap or Night Cream?
I'm terrible at being a girl many nights I forget to take my make up off so it'll have to be a nightcap. Cointreau, please.
Story Time or FaceTime?
I'm a slave to my iPad, so FaceTime.
PJs, shorts or Night T?
Being somewhat vertically challenged, shorts. PJs are a tripping hazard.