Brealey in 2009
|Occupation||Actress, writer, journalist|
She is a regular performer in Letters Live, a night of letters which launched in 2015 with a season at the Freemason's Hall in London, where Brealey and Benedict Cumberbatch read World War Two love letters each night and were joined by the likes of Sir Ian McKellen, Kylie Minogue, Oscar Isaac, Danny Boyle, Jarvis Cocker and Tom Hiddleston. Letters Live is next at Alexandra Palace on 4 December 2019.
Born in Bozeat, Northamptonshire, England, Brealey won a scholarship for Kimbolton School and went on to read history at Girton College, Cambridge. She trained at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York City and with clown teacher Philippe Gaulier in Paris.
Brealey has written on cinema, art and music since her teens, contributing reviews and features for magazines including Premiere UK, Empire, SKY, The Face, Neon, Another and Total Film. She is the editor of Anarchy and Alchemy: The Films of Alejandro Jodorowsky (Creation Books, 2007). Until April 2009, Brealey was the deputy editor of Wonderland magazine. A freelance Associate Producer, she has written documentary pitches for BBC Arts. In 2013 her first play Pope Joan was performed by the National Youth Theatre. Her monologue Go Back To Where You Came From was performed as part of Paines Plough Theatre's Come To Where I'm From project in 2018.
In 2012 Brealey produced, co-wrote and co-starred in The Charles Dickens Show, a children's comedy drama for BBC 2 starring Jeff Rawle, Rupert Graves, Neil Dudgeon, Honeysuckle Weeks, Sam Kelly, Geoffrey Streatfeild, Fiona Button and Mariah Gale.
Brealey made her TV debut as Nurse Roxanne Bird in two series of BBC drama Casualty before playing Judy Smallweed in Bleak House. Terry Wogan took Judy and her snaggle-toothed grandfather Smallweed (Phil Davis) to heart, regaling Radio 2 listeners with regular renditions of Davis' catchphrase "Shake me up, Judy!". Brealey followed Bleak House with a comic turn as Anorak, Alistair MacGowan's black-bobbed sidekick, in comedy drama Mayo, described by The Hollywood Reporter as "Agatha Christie does Moonlighting".
She is often asked to work in accents, recently playing a doughty Yorkshire doctor in Ripper Street, a Cockney ne'er-do-well in Law & Order: UK, a broken Geordie widow in Inspector George Gently and a ball-breaking Edinburgh academic in Clique.
Brealey played a leading role in the ITV drama The Widow, first broadcast in March 2019.
Brealey has made her name as an accomplished stage actress. Her stage debut was at London's Royal Court in 2001 as 14-year-old Sophie in Max Stafford-Clark's production of Judy Upton's Sliding With Suzanne . The Daily Telegraph called her performance "a perfect poignant study of adolescence".
Her portrayal of child prodigy Thomasina in the Bristol Old Vic production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia in 2005 was described as "excellent" by The Mail on Sunday, with The Daily Telegraph saying that "the evening belongs to Loo Brealey's Thomasina".
Brealey worked twice with Sir Peter Hall. First in 2007 on Simon Gray's Little Nell, in which she played the title role opposite Michael Pennington and Tim Pigott-Smith. Based on The Invisible Woman, Claire Tomalin's award-winning biography of Charles Dickens's mistress Ellen Ternan, Little Nell followed Ternan's story from 17 to 44 years of age. Critics described Brealey's work as "excellent" (The Daily Mail), "impressive" (The Stage), "highly compelling" (The Independent) and "astounding" (British Theatre Guide). The following year, Hall cast her as Sonya in his critically acclaimed Uncle Vanya, the inaugural production at London's Rose Theatre. The Telegraph called hers "a name to watch" and The Independent compared her to Joan Fontaine in Rebecca. The Spectator said: "Brealey uncovers the pathetic poetry beneath the indolent superficialities. Her big disadvantage is that she’s too attractive for ‘plain’ Sonya, but she disguises this by suggesting a lack of sexual allure with awkward giggles, squirrelly movements and a stupefied beaming naivety. All brilliantly done..."
In 2011 Brealey was the sex-mad, short-frocked daughter of Julian Barratt and Doon Mackichan at the Young Vic in Richard Jones's Government Inspector. She next played three lead roles – Cassandra, Andromache and Helen of Troy – in Caroline Bird's sold-out production of The Trojan Women at London's Gate Theatre. The Times called her performances "electrifying" and The Guardian said she "pulled off a remarkable treble". Brealey talked about the roles in the Evening Standard and wrote a piece for The Times about the experience of going naked on stage, which went viral.
More recently she won Best Actress at the Manchester Theatre Awards for her role as Marianne in Constellations, directed by Michael Longhurst and played the lead alongside Anne Marie Duff in Marianne Elliott's Husbands and Sons at the National Theatre.
Brealey is the narrator of Caitlin Moran's How to Build a Girl and its sequel How to Be Famous and Kate Mosse's Number One Bestseller Labyrinth . She was Megan in the audiobook edition of The Girl on The Train by Paula Hawkins, which won the 2016 Audie Award for Audiobook of the Year.
TV and film creditsEdit
|2002–2004||Casualty||Roxanne Bird||TV series (95 episodes)|
|2005||Bleak House||Judy Smallweed||TV series (8 episodes)|
|2006||Mayo||Harriet 'Anorak' Tate||TV series (8 episodes); credited as Loo Brealey|
|2007||Green||Abi||TV film; credited as Loo Brealey|
|2008||Hotel Babylon||Chloe||TV series (Episode: "Episode #3.7")|
|2010–present||Sherlock||Molly Hooper||TV series (12 episodes)|
|2011||Law & Order: UK||Joanne Vickery||TV series (Episode: "Tick Tock")|
|2012||The Charles Dickens Show||Nelly Trent/Scrooge/Tiny Tim||TV series|
|2013||Father Brown||Eleanor Knight||TV series (Episode: "The Mayor and the Magician")|
|2014||Ripper Street||Dr Amelia Frayn||TV series (7 episodes)|
|2015||Inspector George Gently||Jo Parker||TV series (Episode: "Gently Among Friends")|
|2017||Clique||Jude McDermid||TV series (6 episodes)|
|2018||A Discovery of Witches||Gillian Chamberlain|
|2001||Sliding with Suzanne||Sophie||Max Stafford-Clark||Royal Court Theatre|
|2005||Arcadia||Thomasina||Rachel Kavanaugh||Bristol Old Vic|
|2006||After the End||Louise||Roxana Silbert||US and Russian tour, Off-Broadway|
|2007||Little Nell||Nell||Peter Hall||Theatre Royal, Bath|
|2008||Uncle Vanya||Sonya||Peter Hall||Rose Theatre, Kingston|
|2008||Pornography||Actor 7||Sean Holmes||Traverse Theatre|
|2009||The Stone||Hannah||Ramin Gray||Royal Court Theatre|
|2009||The Ones That Flutter||Julie Ray||Abbey Wright||Theatre 503|
|2010||Country Music||Lynsey||Lisa Blair & Eleanor While||West Yorkshire Playhouse|
|2011||Government Inspector||Mayor's daughter||Richard Jones||Young Vic|
|2012||The Trojan Women||Cassandra/Andromache/Helen of Troy||Christopher Haydon||Gate Theatre (London)|
|2013||The Herd||Claire||Howard Davies||Bush Theatre|
|2014||Miss Julie||Miss Julie||Dominic Hill||Citizens Theatre|
|2014||Letters Live||Hay Festival, Wales|
|2015||Letters Live||Freemasons' Hall|
|Husbands & Sons||Minnie Gascoigne||Marianne Elliott||Co-production between National Theatre,London and Royal Exchange, Manchester|
- Day, Elizabeth (22 January 2012). "Louise Brealey: 'I don't think Molly is really Sherlock's type'". The Observer. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- "Loo Brealey". Holby.tv. Retrieved 16 August 2008.
- "LivTyler". Louisebrealey.com. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- Andrew Dickson. "From Sherlock to Pope Joan: actor Louise Brealey on writing her first play | Stage". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "BBC One – Sherlock – Molly Hooper". BBC. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
- Urwin, Rosamund (7 November 2012). "Sherlock's Molly: the original Cumberbitch". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 11 November 2012.
- "Sherlock's Molly: the original Cumberbitch – London Life – Life & Style". London Evening Standard. 7 November 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- Louise Brealey (11 December 2012). "Louise Brealey: how it feels to be naked on stage". The Times. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "On Yellow Paper – What Molly Did Next". Onyellowpaper.tumblr.com. 11 December 2012. Retrieved 23 January 2014.
- "Meet the Cast: The girls from Paula Hawkins' THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN (Exclusive Audio Clips) | Books on Tape". Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- "The Year's Best Audiobooks: 2016 Audie Award Winners". The Booklist Reader. 11 May 2016. Retrieved 29 May 2017.
- "Letters Live: Epistolary Joy At Freemasons' Hall". Londonist.
- "BBC Sherlock star, X Files actor and a host of other celebrities perform at charity event for the Reading Agency". The Guardian.
- "Letters Live at Hay Festival". The Telegraph.