Mar 18 2018
LONDON — Each night, after performing “Yerma,” Billie Piper would face the emotional wreckage she’d caused, playing a woman driven insane by her inability to conceive a child.
“People would come over, in various states of trauma, depending on how it had affected them personally,” she said, recalling the two sold-out runs of the play, a modern version of Federico García Lorca’s 1934 tragedy adapted by Simon Stone. “Some people didn’t even really say anything, they just wanted to be close to us — they wanted to somehow physically connect.”
I certainly had a hard time leaving the Young Vic the night I saw the play, my way blocked by women in tears. And if all this sounds melodramatic, it was echoed in the visceral language British critics used to discuss Ms. Piper’s performance: “shatteringly powerful,” “earth-quaking,” “heart-rending.”
Feb 4 2018
It can’t be — but it is — almost 20 years since I last interviewed Billie Piper. In 1998, the builder’s daughter from Swindon was not yet 16, fresh out of Sylvia Young Theatre School, and the youngest artist ever to debut at No 1. “Why you gotta play that song so loud? Because we want to!” as that first megahit, the one with the spaceship video, went.
What a year 1998 was for earwormy girl-power pop, with the Spice Girls, B*witched, Cleopatra et al. Piper was the most precocious and prettiest pop star of them all. The details of that interview are hazy — it was such a long time ago — but I still remember thinking how sweet, adorable and enthusiastic she was, and at the same time what a curse fame can be when you are a child. A year or so later, we bumped into each other on a flight to LA (in economy class), and a while after that, pictures of her teetering out of the pub with her new husband, Chris Evans, started appearing in the tabloids.
Scroll forward to now, and here the two of us are again, sitting in a booth at the swanky Colony Grill, in Mayfair. Wearing glitter on her fingernails (courtesy, apparently, of her two sons by ex-husband Laurence Fox), a red check jacket from the Kooples and biker boots, Piper, now 35, has hardly aged at all.
Nov 16 2017
Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory has revealed its 2018 programming, a lineup that spans theatre, dance, and music. The season includes the North American premiere of Simon Stone’s acclaimed adaptation of Federico Garcia Lorca’s play Yerma, starring Billie Piper, as well as the U.S. debut of Ivo van Hove’s adaptation of The Damned.
The 2018 season will kick off in March with Yerma, marking the U.S. debuts of director Stone and Olivier Award winner Piper. Lorca’s 1934 tragedy is about a woman desperate to bear children. Set in the present day and staged inside a glass encasement, Stone’s contemporary staging examines the perils of a life lived online. The show arrives in the U.S. following an acclaimed debut at London’s Old Vic; performances will be in the Armory’s Wade Thomspon Drill Hall.
Mar 29 2017
She’s been a pop star, a sci-fi pin-up, a celebrated television actress, and has two Olivier nominations under her belt. There’s definitely no pigeonholing Billie Piper. InStyle chatted to her about her penchant for playing females she “loves to hate”, her love affair with London and why her latest co-star, Riz Ahmed, is a “triple threat”.
Billie is currently promoting her new film City Of Tiny Lights, in which she stars opposite man of the moment, Riz Ahmed. It’s a gritty West London-set thriller, which spoke to the city-loving actress enough to draw her back to the big screen after 12 years away.
That’s not to say she’s had any down time, following a string of roles in TV hits like Doctor Who, Secret Diary Of A Call Girl and Penny Dreadful, she completed a run of Yerma last year, and was lauded for her titular role as a woman driven to the unthinkable by her desperate desire to have a child. It’s a palpably draining role for anyone watching, but the fearless actress is going back for more, with a second sold out run set to start at The Young Vic in July.
Feb 1 2017
Billie Piper will reprise her award-winning turn in Simon Stone’s Yerma as part a new line-up of shows at the Young Vic, which also includes Brendan Cowell in Life of Galileo and Juliet Stevenson in the London premiere of an Arthur Kopit play.
Yerma, which earned Piper a best actress gong at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards, will return to the theatre in July, running from July 26 to August 31. It is directed by Stone.
The new season opens with Brecht’s Life of Galileo, which is directed by Joe Wright and runs from May 6 to June 24, with press night on May 16.
Nov 15 2016
After her performance in Yerma electrified the capital, on Sunday night Billie Piper scooped Best Actress at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards. She tells Nick Curtis about her life on the fast track.
Like many things in her life, Billie Piper embraced her triumph at Sunday night’s Evening Standard Theatre Awards wholeheartedly. “It feels GREAT,” laughs the 34-year-old, handling the statuette for the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress, which she won for her heartrending performance as Yerma at the Young Vic, in a production that turned Lorca’s barren Spanish villager into a modern London woman desperate for a child.
The applause from the starry crowd at the Old Vic, at an evening co-hosted by Sir Elton John and Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev, was as heartfelt and unanimous as the reviews lauding her performance.
Piper was “devastatingly good,” wrote the Standard’s Henry Hitchings. For the Times, her “full-blooded” performance marked the former teen pop star’s “transition into a major dramatic artist”. After the opening night a veteran producer and I, shaken and open-mouthed, agreed that we had seen the performance of the year. “Wow. Just wow,” said the producer.
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