life is about breaking boundaries for british actress gala gordon
Ahead of the launch of her new play Blueberry Toast, the actress and producer offers her notes on being a woman.
Photography Rebecca Reid
Gala Gordon grew up watching shows. She couldn’t get enough of them. The ballet, the theatre, the circus – she even remembers staying up very late one night to watch classically trained Spanish flamenco dancer, Joaquín Cortés leap his way across the stage at the Royal Albert Hall. The drama, the energy, the spectacle; it all captured her imagination. So she started producing plays in her mother’s bedroom, raiding her mother’s wardrobe for props and roping in a few unsuspecting school friends to play the lead male parts; the Harry to her Hermione, the Bugsy to her Tallulah. Even at a young age, Gala recognised the importance of playing strong female characters.
After honing her skills at Guildhall School of Music, Gala landed the lead role of Irina in Benedict Andrews’ critically acclaimed adaptation of Chekhov’s Three Sisters at the Young Vic. She spent the next few years bandying between the stage and the big and small screens with roles in The Blinding Light at The Jermyn Street Theatre, ITV’s Endeavour, Netflix’s The Crown, and the coming of age movie, Kids in Love opposite Cara Delevingne. “I just love being able to step into someone else’s shoes, escaping my own,” she tells i-D.
Changing gears a bit, last year she set up her very own theatre production company called Platform Presents, which shines a spotlight on British rising talent – actors, writers and directors, with a particular interest in female voices. Inspired by the culture of underground theatre in New York, where rising actors are encouraged to showcase their talent through play readings, Gala and her partner Isabella Macpherson launched their company with a series of live readings. “We aim to build a collaborative creative community alongside up-and-coming and established artists through readings and full productions. We want to find a new voice for theatre professionals,” she says. Earlier this year, she teamed up with director Polly Stenham and the charity Help Refugees to curate a night of poetry in an attempt to raise money for the refugee crisis as part of the CHOOSE LOVE campaign.
Her next project will be producing and starring in Mary Laws’ darkly comic play Blueberry Toast , which explores the shady underbelly of the American suburban dream. “The play exposes the cruelty humans are capable of and the descent from civility to savagery in the blink of an eye,” she says. “It reveals the darkness and unhappiness behind the veneer of the craved perfect marriage and the moment when it all crumbles down, shattering the innocence of children and presenting the potential horror of the adult world.”
Ahead of the play’s launch, here Gala offers her notes on being a woman.
The best thing about being a woman is being able to multitask. It’s a cliché but it’s true.
The hardest thing about being a woman are the boundaries you have to break just because you’re a woman.
The best advice someone has ever given me about human bodies is that we all come in different shapes and sizes. Celebrate what you’ve got.
The most unexpected things I’ve found about being a woman is that we're incredibly resilient.
When I was 16 I had the totally wrong idea about make-up. Less is definitely more!
Women I admire most are those who are using their voices, standing in solidarity and making a change.
The best thing about getting older is you stop caring about pointless things and are more confident to be yourself.
The biggest lie about getting older is that life gets easier. It doesn’t.
I feel most like a grown-up when parking and paying bills.
I’m happiest when on the road exploring a new place.
Love feels like butterflies in your tummy.
Aleksandra Orbeck Nilssen asks: Every woman is a goddess, what superpower would you choose to have? An invisibility cloak.
My next question for the woman doing this column is: If you could be another woman for a day, who would you choose to be?
Blueberry Toast will be showing at The Soho Theatre from 24th May - 30 June.