A Day in the Life: Tracy-Ann Oberman  

I’m currently in rehearsals for the National Theatre/Headlong production of Mike Bartlett’s rollercoaster epic Earthquakes in London so my working morning usually starts at 5am when my five-year-old plonks herself on my bed, dislodges my carefully-placed script (under my pillow to help the lines go in – an old tradition, can’t break it!) and stretches out pushing me to one side and my other half to the other. We are usually too knackered to move her.
Come 7am I am watching Peppa Pig on CBBC whilst making her porridge, myself a green tea for energy and His Nibs a nuclear strength espresso.
I have a very eclectic career and also a plate-spinning existence. At any moment one could fall bringing the other’s crashing down. But I like it that way. Take the adrenalin out of my life and like the Duracell bunny I’d probably collapse. In between keeping on top of the household chores, sorting out daughter’s daily activities, making time for partner, friends and family plus keeping the cat alive, I also fit in writing articles for various publications, working on a new radio play idea and honing a TV treatment for a new sitcom.
In the last two months I have finished appearing in an Alan Ayckbourn play and straight into learning from scratch the guitar and folk singing for an ITV programme called Born To Shine. I’m a big supporter of Save The Children and the programme challenged ‘celebrities’ to learn a new skill and then play live on TV in an X-Factor type public vote off. Every phone vote raised money for the charity. I very proudly made it through to the final with my rendition of Mumford and Son’s The Cave.
Once I’ve dropped the daughter at a friend’s house (it’s the school holidays and our friends are brilliantly supportive to my childcare needs) I race off to the rehearsal rooms mouthing my lines as I go. I learn my lines at the strangest of times, I have the script handy everywhere: shopping, in the car, on the bus, the hairdressers, EVERYWHERE. I used to be quite self-conscious of doing lines in public as it always looked a bit ‘Oh look at me I’m an ACTOR!’ but these days I have no such qualms.
 Earthquakes in London is a very challenging play. It hurtles at breakneck speed through an England that is facing apocalyptic meltdown. Ostensibly it is a play about climate change, but in light of the recent events of riots it feels about so much more. Mike is a visionary. So much of what he envisaged a couple of years ago when he was writing the piece has come to pass – a world of excess, dislocation, collapsing economies and lack of respect for each other. My character Sarah is the Lib Dem Minister for Climate Change in a coalition government. She has had to bring up her two younger sisters’ one of whom is pregnant and very distressed at bringing a child into such a world and the youngest sister is hurtling at breakneck speed into self-destruction via sex and drugs. Sarah is described as hard and cold but I feel for her. She has had to bring up two sisters as her own and make it in the back stabbing world of politics.
We are learning some complicated dance moves with the brilliant Scott Ambler and practising new songs in four-part harmony whilst also picking apart a very complicated text. Post rehearsals I get home and slip into mummy mode, make tea, do bathtime, a story, answer my emails, quick look at Twitter, do some script writing. Then I’ll crawl into bed learn lines, place the script under my pillow and pray for eight unbroken hours of sleep.

And you are..?

Tracy-Ann is probably best known to the masses for playing Chrissie Watts in EastEnders. To young people, she will be known for her role in Dr Who. However, Tracy-Ann is an accomplished stage actress too and has appeared in Boeing, Boeing and Loot, to name just two! She is also embarking on a writing career.
Earthquakes in London, written by Mike Bartlett and directed by Rupert Goold, opens at Theatre Royal Plymouth on September 22 and then goes on a national tour. For dates, visit