ABOUT FRANCES BARBER
FRANCES BARBER is an award winning actress from the UK.
She has starred in numerous productions on Film, TV & Theatre spanning a 30 year career.
Frances started acting after attending Bangor & Cardiff universities, studying English & Drama. Her contemporary at Bangor was Danny Boyle, the acclaimed Academy Award winning director.
She began her career working with Hull Truck Theatre Co. under the direction of Mike Bradwell, performing in an improvised play called 'OOH LA LA'. This toured the country & Frances was nominated for Best Newcomer in PLAYS & PLAYERS magazine.
From this she went on to work with MIKE LEIGH in a TV film 'HOME SWEET HOME'….Using Mike's celebrated improvised methods & starring with her life long friend Timothy Spall.
Frances continued working extensively in Theatre & TV primarily working on new plays with new young playwrights including Terry Johnson, Hanif Kureishi, Doug Lucie, Pam Gems & Clare MacIntyre at The Royal Court, The Bush, The Donmar, The Tricycle and Stratford East.
At the same time Frances landed her first film role in 'THE MISSIONARY' written & starring Michael Palin from Monty Python fame, alongside Maggie Smith & Trevor Howard.
In 1984 Frances was asked to join the Royal Shakespeare Company to play the leading role Marguerite Gautier In 'CAMILLE', written by the acclaimed Pam Gems.
She was nominated for her first OLIVIER Award when this huge success transferred to the West End the following year, with her in the warring role.
She also played Ophelia to Roger Ree’s 'HAMLET' with Kenneth Branagh as Laertes and Jacquenetta In 'LOVES LABOUR LOST'.
It was an exceptional season in which Kenneth Branagh was first seen as HenryV which he went on to direct & star in on film.
Frances was singled out as the most promising new talent to emerge from this season by The Sunday Times.
She went on to work with Kenneth Branagh again as Viola in both his stage and film productions of 'TWELFTH NIGHT' along with the Film 'LISTENING' which was written & directed by Branagh.
By now Frances was acclaimed as one of the brightest young stars in the UK & was asked to appear in a number of British films, including 'PRICK UP YOUR EARS' with Gary Oldman, 'SAMMY & ROSIE GET LAID' both directed by Stephen Frears.
'A ZED & 2 NOUGHTS' directed by Peter Greenaway. 'WE THINK THE WORLD OF YOU' with Gary Oldman & Alan Bates. 'CASTAWAY' directed by Nic Roeg and 'SECRET FRIENDS' directed by the highly acclaimed Dennis Potter.
In the early nineties, Frances was cast in a French speaking film 'CHAMBRE A PART' starring alongside Michel Blanc & Jacques Ductronc, which began a very happy relationship working in French cinema in some 10 films, including '24 heures de La VieD’Unne Femme', 'Le Siren Rouge', 'Giorgino' and 'Du Fond DU Coeur'.
She has worked in numerous TV films & series, notably playing Anna in two series of 'REAL WOMEN'. The Bolter in 'LOVE IN A COLD CLIMATE', 'GREAT EXPECTATIONS', 'LAW & ORDER UK', 'INSPECTOR MORSE', 'THE ORCHID HOUSE', 'THE PLASTIC MAN' again opposite John Thaw, 'THE STREET' with Bob Hoskins, 'THE FATTEST MAN IN BRITAIN', 'THE ICE HOUSE' with Daniel Craig, 'THE NIGHTMARE YEARS' for HBO, 'BOUDICCA', 'MISS MARPLE', 'POIROT', 'HUSTLE', eleven years on 'BREMNER BIRD & FORTUNE' improvising satire with the 2 Johns. 'BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE', two seasons of 'PSYCHOBITCHES', recently she starred as Madame Kovarian in 'DR WHO' with Matt Smith and as Caroline Warwick in two seasons of 'SILK' for BBC for which she was nominated for a Silver Dagger Award.
Most recently she starred in the BBC’s acclaimed production of 'MAPP & LUCIA' playing the Contessa Di Faraglione.
On film recently she played Michael Caine’s daughter in 'SHINER' directed by John Irvine, 'GOAL 1 & 11', 'MAY I KILL U?' directed by Stuart Urban, Goneril in 'KING LEAR' directed by Trevor Nunn starring Sir Ian McKellen, 'SUPERSTITION', 'EVILENKO' opposite Malcolm Macdowell, 'ESTHER KAHN', 'SUZIE GOLD' with Summer Phoenix, 'PHOTOGRAPHING FAIRIES', 'DEAD FISH' and 'MR HOLMES' directed by Bill Condon.
In The Theatre she has been seen in a wide & varied number of roles, embracing both classical & modern roles. 'UNCLE VANYA' in London’s West End with Derek Jacobi earned her a TMA Award & her second OLIVIER AWARD nomination.
Amongst her classical repertoire she has played Ophelia in 'HAMLET', Emilia in 'OTHELLO', Lady Macbeth IN 'MACBETH', Viola in 'TWELFTH NIGHT', Goneril in 'KING LEAR',
She has appeared at The National Theatre as Eliza Dolittle in 'PYGMALION', as Maxine Faulk in 'THE NIGHT OF THE IGUANA' directed by Richard Eyre and in 'TALES FROM THE VIENNA WOODS' directed by Richard Jones.
She toured the world with the RSC in 'KING LEAR' & 'THE SEAGULL' both directed by Trevor Nunn & starring Sir Ian McKellen playing Goneril & Madame Arkadina.
She played Nurse Ratched opposite Christian Slater In 'ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOOS NEST'
AWARDS AND NOMINATIONS
SILVER DAGGER AWARD NOMINATION SILK /BBC
TMA AWARD UNCLE VANYA /CHICHESTER FESTIVAL THEATRE /ALBERY
TMA AWARD NOMINATION THAT FACE/ sheffield crucible
OLIVIER AWARD NOMINATION Best newcomer CAMILLE RSC
OLIVER AWARD NOMINATION Best Supporting Actress UNCLE VANYA West End. Albery Theatre
FRINGE FIRST AWARD ~ ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST Edinburgh Festival
WHATS ON STAGE ~ Best Actress Nomination for 'MADAME DE SADE' with Judi Dench and 'CLOSER' by Patrick Marber.
'CLOSER TO HEAVEN' by the Pet Shop Boys earned her BEST ACTRESS in a musical Award from Whats On Stage.
She had a major triumph playing Cleopatra in 'ANTONY & CLEOPATRA' at The Globe Theatre directed by Artistic Director Dominic Dromgoole.
Most recently she played the title role in the all female 'JULIUS CAESAR' directed by Phyllida Lloyd at the Donmar Theatre, which transferred to St Ann’s warehouse in NYC.
She was picked by Ben Brantley from the New York Times as the actress who should have been nominated for a Tony Award had St Ann's been on Broadway.
She has just finished a sell out run of 'WHAT THE BUTLER SAW' at the CTG in LA directed by John Tiffany.
Frances was on the Board of the BFI for a number of years in the nineties, helping fund numerous films from young filmmakers, including Derek Jarman & Peter Greenaway. She also apperead in several films, incuding '3 STEPS TO HEAVEN' by Connie Giannaris and 'YOUNG SOUL REBELS' by Isaac Julien.
She is an Honorary Fellow of both Bangor University & the University of Wolverhampton (her place of birth).