Actress Liane Grant shot by Michael Wharley
Over her 15-year distinguished career, acclaimed British actress Liane Grant has not only achieved great success starring in five theatrical productions celebrating the historical works of the great Bard, William Shakespeare, but to do so in the UK, USA and Japan is no small feat.
Grant, who has over thirty acting credits on stage and screen globally, has starred in several of the famous playwright’s works, such as “Twelfth Night,” “Richard II,” “Much Ado About Nothing,” “Romeo and Juliet,” as well as an infamous Roman emperor.
“Playing Julius Caesar in Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ was pretty special, largely because it was an all-female cast, and that, in itself, was just an incredible experience,” said Grant.
“It was such a powerhouse performance as a collective ensemble and we really felt that response from the audience as a result.”
Like the Bard, Grant is also a playwright, and also has her own production company, RoL’n Productions, which focuses on providing opportunities for women in the arts, no doubt inspired by her own lead performance as a female Caesar.
It was a decade ago, in 2010, that Grant had an amazing opportunity to showcase a specific work of Shakespeare, “Much Ado About Nothing,” in the Far East, when she starred in an acclaimed tour across Japan.
“It was an incredible experience for so many reasons: the Japanese people’s love of Shakespeare, the first time I’d toured, the different culture, the variation in sizes and styles of venues,” said Grant, about the tour which was produced by Pembroke Players in Cambridge, England.
Alice Malin, the director of “Much Ado About Nothing” and the Associate Director of the Actors Touring Company (ATC), whose plays have been seen by 100,000 people all over the world, says, “Liane added a unique comic sensibility to the roles she played in the Japanese tour of ‘Much Ado About Nothing.”
“The play was set in the Edwardian era [in England], and she managed to make the characters she played both uniquely of the period and timelessly accessible for a contemporary audience of young people and non-native English speakers, which is no mean feat.”
As Malin refers to, Grant performed as two characters, Margaret and Conrade, in “Much Ado About Nothing,” displaying the exceedingly rare talent to play different characters in the same production, as she also did in the play, “Duck,” in Cambridge, where she portrayed three characters.
“I’ve multi-rolled a few times and it’s definitely a challenge because you’ve got to make each character a whole person. So, it’s not just one character’s history, it’s two or three, multiple accents, different physicality for each one and gestures, not to mention, the practical side of things involving quick costume changes, plus hair and make-up changes,” Grant explains.
“It’s hard work and because you’re keeping so much in your head, it takes a lot of focus, but it is so much fun and so rewarding because you have to be more versatile, and you get to play a broader spectrum of emotions, often you get to play both comedic and dramatic roles, which was the case in ‘Duck’.”
Born in the sixteenth century, Shakespeare is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language, and the world’s greatest dramatist, and the skills and experience which Grant acquired in performing his works have, no doubt, helped her in her subsequent performances on stage.
Actress Liane Grant as Meredith in "Half Me, Half You"
Recently, Grant starred in the lead role of Meredith in the American play, “Half Me, Half You,” which she co-produced under RoL’n Productions with her production partner, Roxanne Lamendola.
However, it was for her playwriting skills as the author of “Half Me, Half You”, that Grant, like the Bard, won acclaim, scooping the Outstanding Playwright Award at the Fresh Fruit Festival in New York in July 2018.
“As an actor, we crave parts that allow us to show versatility, and they come along less often than you think,” said Grant, about her role as Meredith, whom she has described as an accomplished, career-driven woman who uses her drive to fight injustices.
“So, while I know I wrote the play, and I’m not trying to blow my own horn, I am an actor first and foremost, and I can’t help but write with actors in mind.”
There is a common theme which connects her work in Shakespeare’s “Julius Caesar,” to “Half Me, Half You” as well as her first co-production for RoL’n Productions, “Taken in Marriage,” in that Grant was at the center of all-female casts, but also where Grant has worked with her co-producer, Roxanne Lamendola.
“Liane's passion is unmatched by anyone I've ever met; her acting talent alone is mesmerizing, but combine that with a dedication and drive that won't quit, and it creates a powerhouse performer you can't take your eyes off of,” said Lamendola, who acted in “Taken in Marriage” alongside Grant.
“She is a giving scene partner and extremely generous with her time and talent, so it was easy to trust her; she truly brought out the best in my performance.”
Whilst her stage work credits are vast, her on-screen work will be at the forefront in 2020, as she stars in the new US television series “Emergency: LA” based around the fictional stories of the emergency services of Los Angeles’ fire, police and hospital services.
“Acting is so much more skilled and complex, and uses so much brain power as well as heart and soul power, more so than I think many people realize,” said Grant, who realized she wanted to be an actor when she was the tender age of 13.
“Actors can do so much to make people feel and think, and, sometimes, if we’re lucky, change their lives and I know this to be true from some of the responses I’ve had from audience members, and that definitely drives me.”