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When acting and writing go hand in hand: Bryony Cole

Posted on Jul 3, 2018 by

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If you meet Bryony, you’ll be instantly charmed by her energy and warmth. She likes her work and hearing her talking about her theatre, film and writing projects is inspiring. Together with other passionate people, she set up two theatre companies, one based in Amsterdam and another in London. I first saw her acting in Becky Shaw, a play produced by Actors Anonymous. She was playing Becky, a needy and fragile woman trying to pull her life together. I loved her character and her acting. When we met for the pre-interview chat and the photo session, she captivated me with her joy and amazed me with her abundance of creative ideas. But I think what I liked the most about her was that she was the kind of creative person who doesn’t just sit around, dreaming about things she could do — she goes out there and makes them happen!

Bryony Cole 01

Thanks for agreeing to do this interview! Can you start by telling me about your background? Who is Bryony Cole?

My pleasure! I’m from Sheffield, England, and have lived in a number of different places including Vancouver, Manchester, Liverpool and London before moving to Amsterdam. I studied English Literature at University and after a few years working I decided to take the plunge and apply for Drama School. I got into a school in London where I lived until 2016, and then I moved to Amsterdam where I’ve been working as an actress and writer ever since. I’ve always been most happy when I’m doing something creative.

Where can we see you acting?

I’ve set up Actors Anonymous, an International theatre company based in Amsterdam, along with some other actors. We’re passionate about performing modern theatre in English and are particularly drawn to new writing. Our first production of Gina Gionfriddo’s “Becky Shaw” earlier this year was a sell out success and we had a great response. We’re really excited about our next show! You can keep an eye out for news and details on our next production at Actors Anonymous and on our Instagram account.

This year I’ve also been involved in two independent films set in Amsterdam which have been an absolute joy to be a part of. Red Heart, Blank Face written and directed by Sam Sheffield, is a feature film about finding modern love, with a stellar cast and crew behind it. It will be premiering at the Pathé Tuschinski on October 13th, so you can come along and see it on the big screen!
I’ve also just finished shooting You Listen, Always, written and directed by Tijnke van Gelder. Tijnke is an extremely talented artist and filmmaker and her film captures the dangers of the digital world in today’s society. You Listen, Always follows a man and a woman trying to find love online with the help of a new online dating app. While their feelings develop it becomes clear that the reality of their relationship is not what it seems. In today’s online dating society it’s a film that will really resonate and I’m so excited for people to see it. It will also be premiering in autumn this year.

Bryony Cole 02

How did you come up with the idea of Screw Productions?

I set up my theatre company Screw Productions with my friend Grace in London over two years ago. We were both writing stuff separately and we decided to write something together. It happened very naturally, and felt like a no-brainer to collaborate. We’re passionate about writing funny feminist theatre for women and our first production, WET, is a comedy about sex and porn. We wrote WET as we both felt that talking about sex and our bodies was often still taboo, even with our closest friends. Grace and I have a very honest relationship with one another so we had many frank conversations about our own experiences of porn and sex before we started writing it.

We started our research for WET by creating an anonymous survey for women about their views on porn and were swamped by responses in a very short space of time. It was really encouraging for us so early on in the process to have confirmation that this was an issue women wanted to discuss. It seemed to us that so many women were itching to talk about sex and porn honestly. The results of the survey were incredibly interesting and really opened our minds when approaching the concept of WET. We incorporated many of the ideas, thoughts and opinions of the women who completed our survey into the characters.

Following on from a successful production of WET in London, we are bringing the production to Amsterdam later this year, which we’re extremely excited about! It will be great to see how Dutch audiences react to it.

I know that you moved to the Netherlands a few years ago. How did that change impact your artistic life?

Definitely for the better! The pace of life is so much slower in Amsterdam, compared to London, and that suits me well. The acting community is much smaller which makes it much easier to network and get to know people in the industry. It was a definite risk moving to Amsterdam and I was aware that it could jeopardise my career as an actress. But the past two years have been really busy, both in terms of acting and writing. Amsterdam has a vibrant international community, so English theatre and writing is really welcomed and enjoyed here. It’s been great to experience another culture, and I feel really lucky to have companies like Toneelgroep Amsterdam and beautiful theatres like the Staddschouwsburg Amsterdam and the Theatre Carré on my doorstep.

Bryony Cole 03

When did you know you wanted to become an actress?

I was a really shy kid, but I came out of my shell when I was onstage. I was in a drama group from the age of eight and theatre has played a part in my life ever since. But it was only later in my life that I realised acting wasn’t just a hobby for me, it was something I wanted to pursue as a career. I have always been really interested in people, so submerging myself in a character and working out what makes them tick is a total joy for me.

What qualities do you need to have to succeed in this career?

It sounds simple but you have to really want it. I think what helped me was coming into acting a bit later on in life. I had life experience from working and travelling, which really gave me a grounded perspective. Also freelance life has it’s negatives and it’s not for everyone. I think you need to have another passion and dream alongside acting, to keep you sane. So much of this industry is unpredictable and out of your control that from time to time of course it can get to you. For me, my writing is a constant, and something I will always have. I never wait for work to come to me, if I want to do something, I try my hardest to make it happen.

What kinds of films/plays are you passionate about?

I am really passionate about plays and films written by women, about women. There aren’t enough on stage and on screens, so I really want to write and perform in productions that champion women. I can slowly see a shift, which is really encouraging.

Bryony Cole 04

What was your favourite game when you were a child?

I used to make my own radio shows when I was about eight or nine on my ghetto blaster! Me and my younger sister would also make videos and perform shows at home, normally to the The Lion King or Cats soundtrack. She’s not a performer, so it usually took a lot of persuading from me! We also made homemade films often based in the Big Brother house, which are hilarious.

What makes you happy?

Being on stage or on set is where I’m happiest. I feel so at home there, and all the hard work is worth it.

Bryony Cole
Actress + Writer | |


  1. Bryony Cole

    Tijnke van Gelder, Red Heart, Blank Face Film xx

  2. Ruth Powell

    You’re such a mega star 🙂 i could not be prouder. Love you x


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