In 2008, Georgia Henshaw played Rosie Barnes in Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, and was then cast as the regular role of Cassie in the final series of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and Madi Diamond in Waterloo Road from 2011, playing the character in Manchester and when they moved to Glasgow. Most recently, Georgia worked on the short film Annie Pannie as Kiki, and amongst her other roles, she has played Tina Atkins in Series 9 of Call the Midwife, had guest roles in Doctors and Casualty, and she played Rachel Grew in the two-part series The Crash. On stage, Georgia was part of the cast of BIRD for their world premiere at the Royal Exchange Theatre as Ava, and she played Clara in Donkey Heart. With voiceover experience, during COVID, Georgia recorded Heart of Darkness for BBC Radio 4. We chatted to Georgia about filming as Madi Diamond in Waterloo Road, playing Rosie Barnes in Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging and working on short films including her most recent, Annie Pannie.
Can you tell us about the 2022 short film Annie Pannie and your character Kiki, and what was the film like to be part of?
Kiki is a badass, there’s a lot more to her than at first sight… I can’t give too much away. She’s a dream character and I’d love to shoot a feature about her! It was awesome to film, we shot it in Tenerife, which I loved… more of that please.
Having worked on a number of other short films including Sugar and Peep Dish, what do you enjoy most about this type of project and can you say about some of the ones you’ve filmed?
I love working on shorts as they’re really great stories which can be shot and told really quickly so you’ve got loads of freedom on the job creatively. You want to set the scene fast and to have the story encapsulated so you’re transported into this other place without expatiating the background behind the story. You can make something really punchy.
In 2020, you played Tina Atkins in an episode of Series 9 of Call the Midwife, how was this?
I loved Tina! She was going through the wringer, bless her, but her attitude and spunk never wained. I like to play characters that are challenged, the ones that haven’t got it easy. I like raw stories about real down to earth people.
What is it like having guest roles in shows such as Doctors and Casualty and how is it returning to film as different characters?
Casualty was my first ever job and it was great. I loved returning and still keep in touch with a few of the team. Marcus, who does the most amazing special FX, is a legend. I still have a mould of my torso from when I was in the show once and we were shooting a scene where they were operating on my chest, it’s in my mum’s house and it’s really freaky. I want to paint it gold and hang it on the wall one day when I’m older, I think that’d be cool. Doctors is also great to work on, you feel like you’re part of a family there.
Can you tell us about your time playing Sophie in Series 3 of Trollied and Sian Moore in Cucumber/Banana, and what were they like to work on?
Sophie was hilarious, what a cheeky, stroppy girl. She was just mortified by her dad no matter what he said. It was fun to be able to be such a rude girl.
Banana and Cucumber are both fantastic shows and they were a pleasure to be a part of.
In the two-part BBC Three drama The Crash, you played Rachel Grew, was there anything that drew you to the character and what was it like telling the story?
Wow, this one was one of my favourite jobs ever. The cast were stellar, we all came from such different backgrounds which brought such a variety to the scenes. I learned a lot from everyone and it never felt like acting. We really lived it. I love them all.
You joined the cast of Waterloo Road in Series 7 in 2011 as Madi Diamond, how much did you know about the show before booking your role and what was Madi like to play?
I had watched Waterloo Road myself so I was already a fan of the show. What a wicked thing to be a part of. Madi didn’t really have many friends, mainly boy troubles. I was 17 when I got the role and moved straight to Manchester then Glasgow when the show relocated up there. What wonderful opportunities!
What do you remember most from playing the regular role of Cassie in the final series of Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps and how was it joining a popular comedy series?
Oh my god, I loooooooved this show so working on it was a dream. The cast welcomed me with open arms, they are just brilliant people. I would do it again in a heartbeat. The live studio audience takes it to the next level, each episode is filmed in three hours, which is a miracle in comparison to any other show I’ve worked on.
In 2010, you played Dani, one of the lead roles in the comedy series Shelfstackers, how did you find the experience filming the show?
We had loads of fun on this, one of my castmates Sean kept farting during takes. I nearly wet myself laughing. Gold.
Early in your career, you played Rosie Barnes in the 2008 feature film Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging, do you have any favourite memories from your time playing Rosie and working with the rest of the cast?
Well, the whole experience was fantastic, I feel really privileged to have been a part of such a cult classic. I had read the books so was already a massive fan and Rosie was definitely my favourite so to play her was perfect.
Do you remember how you felt finding out you’d booked the role of Rosie and how was it seeing the fan response to the film’s release?
I was in the car with my mum when my agent rang, I can’t tell you my exact response as it was mainly expletives… Can you imagine?!!!
I love people’s responses, so many of us could relate to those characters going through such a seminal time of their lives being teenagers with all the trials and tribulations.
You have also worked on stage in productions such as the world premiere of BIRD at the Royal Exchange Theatre as Ava and Donkey Heart as Clara, how was your time performing in these shows and what do you enjoy most about working in theatre?
Donkey Heart, for my first theatre show, the whole cast and crew were like a family to me and perfect people to start my theatre journey with. The director, Nina Reign, is one of the most thoughtful and intelligent people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with, she really brings out the best in people. I loved my character Clara as she was a right stroppy, dramatic girl, I love being able to play with that sass. She was a great bit of comic relief which I thoroughly enjoy bringing.
BIRD was a totally different kettle of fish, it was the challenge of my life thus far. My character Ava was just about to turn 16 and about to be moved from a care home into supported accommodation. She went through absolutely heartbreaking things in her life and in the show, even writing this nearly brings me to tears. It may sound crazy but I have cried for Ava since, of course I know it is fictional, but she was a huge part of me. Young, vulnerable people go through these things daily. Katherine Chandler has written something so incredibly powerful, I encourage you to read the play if you can.
As a voiceover artist, you have recorded for projects such as Heart of Darkness for BBC Radio 4, can you tell us about this?
This was an absolutely wonderful show to be a part of. We made it during lockdown in COVID so I recorded it in my wardrobe surrounded by as many fluffy things as possible to deaden the sound. That was a sweaty one, haha! What a treat to be transported to the Congo whilst being in a lockdown. It really was amazing, so enjoyable to make.
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you get into it?
I don’t know where it came from, I was just a happy and confident child who was up for trying anything. I went to a Saturday class called the Mark Jermin Stage School where you learn real audition techniques as opposed to just learning how to be a balloon or tree or some other nuts exercise.
Do you have any favourite films and TV shows to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from your career?
I love the series Succession, it’s genius. I loved Everything Everywhere All at Once. And finally, I watched Avatar 2 recently at a 4D cinema and it was an absolutely outstanding experience.
What are you hoping the upcoming year brings for you?
Health, wealth and happiness! Oh, and travel, a lot of travel!
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