Ann Mitchell

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For other people named Ann Mitchell, see Ann Mitchell (disambiguation).
Ann Mitchell
Born (1939-04-22) 22 April 1939 (age 75)
Stepney, East London, England
Nationality British
Ethnicity White British
Education Raine's Foundation School
East 15 Acting School
Occupation Actress
Years active 1958–present
Children 2 sons
Website
Official site

Ann Mitchell (born 22 April 1939) is a British stage and television actress. She came to prominence in the 1980s when she starred as Dolly Rawlins in the crime series Widows, and its sequels Widows 2 and She's Out, all written by Lynda La Plante. In 2011, she was cast as Cora Cross in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, the mother of Tanya Branning and Rainie Cross. Mitchell has appeared in many roles in film, theatre and television and has played a significant amount of major roles such as Mrs. Warren in Mrs. Warren's Profession and her Laurence Olivier Award nominated performance in Through the Leaves.

Personal life[edit]

As a child she attended Raine's Foundation School and went on to train at the pioneering East 15 Acting School,[1] an establishment inspired by the works of Joan Littlewood, receiving the first-ever scholarship to the school. She has since worked in theatre, television, film, and radio, starting with "Diary of a Young Man", a series written for her by John McGrath and Troy Kennedy Martin, directed by Ken Loach. She is a visiting lecturer at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama, East 15 Acting School and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, and is Master Tutor on the foundation course at WAC. Mitchell is on the Board of Directors of The Unity Theatre Trust, a Trustee of Arbours (a psychotherapeutic care centre) and is a Patron of Clean Break, a theatre and training company for female ex-offenders. Mitchell has been married twice and has two sons, one from each of her marriages, one of whom is the actor Che Walker. She currently resides in London.

Career[edit]

In 1984 she received the Pye Award for Female who had the greatest impact on television for her role as Dolly Rawlins in the groundbreaking crime series Widows, written by Lynda La Plante. In 1992 she received the accolade of "Performance of The Year" by The Independent on Sunday for her Hecuba at The Gate Theatre. In 2003 Mitchell was a nominee for Best Actress in the Evening Standard Awards and the Laurence Olivier Awards for her performance as Martha in Through The Leaves, first at The Southwark Playhouse and later the Duchess Theatre, London. Her work as a director and writer includes: Voices From Prison (RSC Platform), Cathy Come Home (first stage adaptation, Pit Theatre), Ever After (co-written with Kathy Itzen), Kiss and Kill (co-written with Susan Todd for Monstrous Regiment and nominated for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize). She directed the world premiere of Barry Keeffe’s Sus, at the Royal Court Theatre.

Ann Mitchell first worked with Simon Callow over 35 years ago in a Lincoln Theatre Royal production of The Erpingham Camp, where Callow made his debut. Since then, they have both worked together a few times, most recently eight years ago when Callow directed Mitchell in The Destiny of Me at the Leicester Haymarket. While not collaborating with Callow, Mitchell has built up a prolific stage career. In an interview with What's on Stage, Micthell commented that her favourite was Eugene O'Neill. "I was about 15 when I first started reading him and, even at that age, I knew there was something going on there in the subconscious of his work. Tennessee Williams, because of his delicacy. I also like doing Racine, which is wonderful from the point of the view of the language. I've just done Britannicus at the Citz. And my son, Che Walker. He's a very exciting new young writer. His first play was seen at the Royal Court, Been So Long, and they've commissioned him for his new play next year."[2]

Roles[edit]

EastEnders[edit]

Main article: Cora Cross

In 2011, Mitchell was cast in the popular British soap opera EastEnders as Cora Cross, the mother of already established characters Tanya Jessop and Rainie Cross. She first appeared to attend her on-screen daughter's wedding and was originally only scheduled to appear for a four episode guest stint. On 31 May 2011 it was announced that Mitchell was returning to EastEnders as Cora and will be back on screen as a regular character in summer 2011.[3] In an interview with Inside Soap, the executive producer of EastEnders, Bryan Kirkwood commented: "With the loss of Barbara Windsor, I was keen to find a new matriarch for the show, and Ann Mitchell is a dream booking. I've always been a fan of her work, and with the storyline we've got planned, we'll wonder how we ever did without Cora".[4] Mitchell had previously appeared in EastEnders as Jane Williams, a woman Roy Evans had an affair with but only appeared for 6 episodes. Upon joining the soap, Mitchell commented: "As a lifelong fan of EastEnders I am thrilled to join the cast. I am a great fan of June Brown’s and am looking forward to sharing some scenes with her". Executive Producer Bryan Kirkwood added, "I’m very excited to have the much-loved Ann Mitchell joining us. Cora Cross is a formidable woman, cut from the same cloth as many glorious Walford women of the past, and Ann Mitchell is just perfect for the role."[5]

Other roles[edit]

Theatre[edit]

As a leading member of the ground-breaking Citizens Theatre for many years, Mitchell's roles included at Glasgow: Mother Courage in Mother Courage and Her Children,[6] Helen in A Taste of Honey,[6] Amanda in Private Lives,[6] Mary in Mary Stuart,[6] Eva in Summit Conference[6] (written for her by Robert David McDonald), Mrs. Warren in Mrs. Warren's Profession,[6] Gertrude in Hamlet[6] and Agrippina in Britannicus.[6] At London: Mrs. Marwood in The Way of the World,[6] and Cornelia in The White Devil.[6]

Royal Shakespeare Company[edit]

For the Royal Shakespeare Company her roles include Hecuba, Aethra, and the nurse in Tantalus at the Barbican (RSC), Frieda Lawrence in Divine Gossip, and The Woman in Edward Bond’s War Plays I, II, III. Tantalus was a coproduction of the RSC and the Denver Center for the Performing Arts in the U.S. where it received its world premiere in a mammoth performance of the three parts given over 10 hours. Working for the leading companies in the UK she was: Helen in The Road to Mecca (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), Mrs. Malaprop in The Rivals (Nottingham Playhouse), Marge in A Colder Climate (Royal Court), A Matter of Life and Death (Royal National Theatre), Brenda in Mary Barnes (Royal Court), Guinevere in Guinevere (written for her by Pam Gems, Soho Poly), Mrs. Prentice in What the Butler Saw (the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield). In 2005, she co-starred in Whose Life Is It Anyway? in London’s West End with Kim Cattrall and Janet Suzman.

Television[edit]

For television, Mitchell has starred in many of the most popular UK television series ranging from drama to comedy, including Z-Cars, Talking to a Stranger, Up the Junction, Play for Today, Upstairs, Downstairs, Within These Walls, Bergerac, Taggart, The Detectives, Kavanagh QC, Maigret, The Bill, EastEnders,[7] French & Saunders, and Gimme Gimme Gimme (written for her by Jonathan Harvey). She co-stars as Lillian in the forthcoming Granada production of Jane Hall’s Big Bad Bus Ride, and was most recently[when?] seen as Rita in Tunnel of Love for Thames. As Dolly Rawlins in Widows I, II and She’s Out (written for her by Lynda La Plante) she won acclaim and affection.

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role
1958 Sunday Night Theatre Unknown
1963 The Scheme Country girl
1964 Catch Hand Helen Woods
Diary of a Young Man Eileen
Z-Cars Mrs. Napier
1965 Monitor Neighbour
The Wednesday Play Marie
1966 Dixon of Dock Green Mrs. Stubbings
Thirty-Minute Theatre Pat
Talking to a Stranger Mother as a young woman
Theatre 625
1967 Hobson's Choice Ada Figgins
1973 Play for Today Amenities officer
1975 Upstairs, Downstairs Militant Woman
Crown Court Mrs. Vera Chadwick
1975–76 Within These Walls Kathleen Marsh
1976 Killers Mrs. Harrison
1977 Full Circle Unknown
1978 The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie Miss Michaels
Angels Sister Huntley
1979 Murder by Decree Jane
Play of the Week Mother
1980 Blunt Instrument Unknown
1981 Sunday Night Thriller Miss Grindley
Lady Chatterley's Lover Ivy Bolton
1982 Friend or Foe WVS Lady
1983 Widows Dolly Rawlins
1985 Widows 2
1986 Unnatural Causes Morved
1988 Bergerac Lola Betts
Verdict Judge Jane Harrison
Supply & Demand Caroline
1992 Taggart Annie Gilmore
Papierowe Malzenstwo Phyllida
Maigret Mme. Moncin
1993 Growing Pains Unknown
Harry
1994 Frank Stubbs Mrs. Laker
1995 She's Out Dolly Rawlins
1996 Deep Secrets Fran
The Detectives Superintendent Simmons
1997 Smith & Jones Unknown
1998 Kavanagh QC Mrs. Justice Addis
2000 Summer in the Suburbs Mulligan
2001 Gimme Gimme Gimme Miss Twitch
Tantalus: Behind the Mask Hecuba / Nurse / Aethra
2001–02 EastEnders Jane Williams
2004 Tunnel of Love Rita
2005 What's Your Name 41? Joanna Castelloe
2006 Jane Hall Lilian Ramsey
2008 Heartbeat Iris Grocott
The Bill Doreen Fallon
The Passion Within Doña Angustias
2009 Casualty Margaret Samson
2011 The Deep Blue Sea Mrs. Nelson
2011— EastEnders Cora Cross

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Ann Mitchell - Background". AnnMitchell.net. Archived from the original on 23 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  2. ^ "20 Questions With...Ann Mitchell". WhatsOnStage. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  3. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel. "'EastEnders' exec confirms Cora Cross return". Digital Spy (London: Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 31 May 2011. 
  4. ^ "Exclusive: Q&A with Bryan Kirkwood". Walford Web. Retrieved 10 July 2011. 
  5. ^ Admin. "Tanya’s Cross to See Her Mum". Walford Web. Retrieved 11 July 2011. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Ann Mitchell - Theatre". AnnMitchell.net. Archived from the original on 16 July 2011. Retrieved 9 July 2011. 
  7. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (21 March 2011). "'EastEnders' confirms Tanya's mum casting". Digital Spy (London: Hachette Filipacchi UK). Retrieved 21 March 2011. 

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