ANNABELLE DAVIS: WORKING ON THE DUMPING GROUND AND HOW I GOT INTO ACTING
When I was younger, I did attend a few Saturday acting and dance classes and was hoping to go to college or university to study performance as my school didn’t offer any performance-based subject options.
However, my school did allow me to do Panto for a few years, but I was still tutored whilst I was away. This was one of the best times of my life. Theatre teaches you discipline, it's live so you don’t get a chance for a re-take as you would on a film. Also, you get an immediate response from the audience, in TV you have to wait months for it to air.
As a kid, performing on a stage with your family around Christmas time is just magical, and when I say with my family, I literally mean, my Mum, Dad, Grandad and Auntie. A couple of years ago, my brother too joined us when one of the cast fell ill, and he did a weeks worth of performances and was incredible.
THE DUMPING GROUND
Whilst in my first year of A-Levels, I was asked by the BBC to join the cast of ‘The Dumping Ground’. Having watched the show as a kid, I couldn’t believe it. Three years prior to this audition I did try to put myself forward. The 13 year old me wrote an e-mail to the producer of the show, or so I thought. I got a reply a couple of days later explaining that they were in fact not the producer, but gave me an alternative e-mail address to try. I chickened out and the e-mail was never sent. It still sits in my drafts folder to this day.
One afternoon, having just come out of the second half of my 10-hour art exam, my Grandad called to tell me I had got the part! Initially, I wasn’t too pleased as I was convinced I had failed the exam, however an hour or so later I came to my senses and was ecstatic.
‘The Dumping Ground’ has been such an amazing learning experience for me. It was my first full-time job, my first experience living away from home and my first major acting role. The show became my version of going to university and it taught me a lot about living away and working in the industry. I learnt all of the basic things from learning lines to understanding a call sheet.
We film for around 6 months of the year with a small break in the middle. Whilst filming during the week, I stay in Newcastle and am able to come home every weekend, which I am very grateful for. Working and living very closely with your fellow cast and crew, you all become one big family.
THE ROYAL TELEVISION SOCIETY AWARD
This year, I was nominated for a Royal Television Society NETB award for Best Performance of the Year and I won! I still can’t quite believe it, for me it was an honour to be on a list of nominees including Brenda Blethyn and Martin Shaw. I was very proud to represent the show as I feel it is so important for kids today, as it teaches them about people and life. Each of the characters in the show have their own life going on and has its crazy moments, and also its heartbreaking ones too, just like real life. In my opinion, it teaches kids without asking them to grow up.
This week I start, my 5th year of working on the show and I’m very happy to be joining my ‘DG’ family again. We have some amazing storylines this year and I can’t wait to film them.