...with Ellis Howard
A five minute Q&A with Ellis Howard and Mr Hicks
"It was everything you want school to be: hilarious, challenging and memorable." Ellis Howard 20020
When did you leave Archbishop Beck Catholic College?
I left in 2015, which somehow feels simultaneously like ten days and ten years ago.
What have you been doing since this time?
I left Liverpool and moved to London for Drama School / University straight away. I attended the Guildhall School and got a BA Hons in Acting. I’ve been living in London ever since although I’m regularly back in Liverpool creating theatre or doing some version of campaigning around topics that are close to my heart. In London, I’ve been lucky to manage both my political life and artistic life quite well. My first acting job after graduating was Catherine the Great (HBO / Sky Atlantic) with Helen Mirren and since that I’ve done a mix of theatre and radio work so I’ve been having a good old time.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m currently in rehearsals for Romeo & Juliet at the National Theatre (which is luckily still happening during lockdown 2.0) so my days are spent rehearsing 10am – 5pm. In the evenings I will usually write. I wrote a lot during my time at Archbishop Beck but it wasn’t until lockdown 1.0 that I started writing again. I’m glad I did because at the moment I’m writing a TV series so I can usually be found throwing sharpies at whiteboards and swimming through Post-It notes trying to create that.
What book is on your bedside table?
I’m just about to start a new book this evening! I bought Cash Carraway’s “Skint Estate” which is being developed for television. It’s apparently a rallying cry against the failures of our current Establishment… so right up my street.
However, a book I always return to is “A Little Life” by Hanya Yanagihara. It is an astonishing book and one that I think I will always re-read. (I hope the English department don’t go crazy that I haven’t said Wuthering Heights, Emily Bronte is still a legend)
What is your all-time favourite movie?
I have absolutely ZERO idea what my favourite movie is. I try to watch as many different things as possible. I tend to love movies that are socially and politically conscious like Moonlight, Parasite or anything Aaron Sorkin or Ken Loach does.
When you were younger what did you want to be?
I wanted to be a lawyer so I could cross examine someone the way Viola Davis does in “How to Get Away with Murder” or how every man does in every American courtroom drama ever.
Then I realised we had a very different judicial system in the United Kingdom and I decided I’d just try and play one on TV instead. Still got a few years left yet.
What advice would you give your teenage self?
I’d probably tell myself to relax. The world was LOUD when I was a teenager and it’s getting increasingly louder as we move into a more polemical and divisive political climate. Growing up, I’ve realised I and probably many more people work better when our minds are quiet. I would bounce around Archbishop Beck trying to do everything and be everywhere, and whilst I LOVED it, I think it’s important to counter that energy with restoration.
What do you hope to achieve within the next five years?
I would like my campaigning efforts to achieve some concrete and decisive political action on climate change and child poverty – that is what is most important to me at the moment. In terms of my career I’d love my TV series to air in the UK, I’d love to play a Scouser on TV and I’d like to do a play both on the West End and back home in Liverpool.
Finally, what is your fondest memory of your time in Archbishop Beck?
I have so many. I Loved debates in Miss Knott’s class. I loved history with Mrs Hannah and Mr White and I relished English with Miss Lally and Miss Fahy. I adored maths and Miss McMenamin. I used to love hosting Last Night of the Proms and debating in the English Speaking Union. There are far too many. My time at Archbishop Beck was incredible. It was everything you want school to be: hilarious, challenging and memorable. I owe so much of my development as an artist, as a thinker and as a human being to Archbishop Beck and I am sincerely grateful for the support and encouragement it gave me throughout my years there, especially from Mr Hicks and Mr Dickinson. I would have a short back and sides and go back there in a heartbeat!
Post Script: It has been a delight catching up with you again Ellis, we look forward to the coming year when we can welcome you back to the college campus. You are indeed a wonderful representative of Liverpool and all that comes out of this fantastic city. Stay safe.
"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one." John Lennon