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My First Job: Sue Hodge – ‘I regret turning down an Equity card’

Sue Hodge. Photo: Keith Paddington Richards
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My first job was a pantomime production in 1972 at the Cliffs Pavilion, Southend-on-Sea. A producer by the name of Jerry Jerome came to the dance school I attended, saw me perform and offered me the job.

I don’t remember being nervous at all but I do remember being very excited to be part of a cast headed by Peter Glaze, who was a really big star of the time, having hosted the iconic children’s TV series Crackerjack.

I learned a lot, but would I have done anything differently? I wouldn’t change what I did on stage, but there is one career decision I would alter. I should definitely have accepted Mr Jerome’s offer of an Equity card instead of saying: ‘No, thank you.’ I didn’t know what an Equity card was at the time but, unlike today, where anyone can work in theatre and television, in those days you wouldn’t have been allowed through the door without an Equity card, and that card had to be earned.

I think being prepared for anything, whether it is an opportunity or a challenge, is definitely the lesson I took away from that first experience, and it is the advice I still give to young performers today. Although some things may have changed in the industry since the 1970s, if I was asked what performers aiming to launch their own careers in the current climate should keep in mind, I think ‘Keep your eyes and ears open, your mouth closed and your nose clean’ is an adage that will work for them just as well as it has worked for me.

CV: Sue Hodge

Age: 59
Theatre includes: Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads; A Midsummer Night’s Dream; The Merry Wives of Windsor; Jesus Christ Superstar; The Rocky Horror Show; Don’t Dress for Dinner, Annie (New Zealand tour); ’Allo ’Allo (stage show, national tour, London Palladium and Australia and New Zealand tour)
TV includes: The Dick Emery Show; The Bill; ’Allo ’Allo; Children in Need; The Generation Game; Celebrity Ready Steady Cook; Celebrity Bargain Hunt; Noel’s House Party
Other credits: Voice-overs for Jim Henson; director, A Chorus Line (Australia), Pantomime Director
Agent: Roberta Kanal Agency

Sue Hodge recently published Mimi’s Memoirs – ’Allo ’Allo, published by Pocket Dynamo. She was talking to John Byrne

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