Alison Steadman to speak at University of East London

Alison Steadman will speak at UEL on Wednesday (picture: PA)

Alison Steadman will speak at UEL on Wednesday (picture: PA) - Credit: PA ARCHIVE IMAGES

If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like working in the acting industry, then wonder no longer.

Actress Alison Steadman will be sharing stories of entertainment and nostalgia during a talk at the University of East London.

With a career that spans nearly half a century – she made her professional stage debut in 1968 – there is a lot to talk about.

“People usually know me for three things,” she said.

“I still get people coming up to me in the street and talk about Abigail’s Party, not just older people but younger people as well as it was on the A-level syllabus.

“When we were doing that we never realised 38 years later people would still know me for that.

“Another one is Pride and Prejudice, where I played Mrs Bennet in the 90s, and the third is Gavin and Stacey.

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“I often get asked if there’s going to be another series and the answer is no.”

Alison was born in Liverpool but moved to east London in the 1960s to train at East 15 Acting School, which is based in Loughton but takes its name from Theatre Royal Stratford East’s postcode district.

“I wanted to train there because of Joan Littlewood and the Theatre Workshop,” she explained.

Her time there would mean that in the 1990s, the University of East London, which was merged with the acting school for a while, recognised her with an honorary degree.

The talk, part of the university’s An Evening With series, will be the first time the 69-year-old has returned since then.

“I was at an event at the House of Commons last year and it was mentioned to me then about doing an evening,” Alison said.

“Now we’ve been able to make that happen.”

Over the past few years, Alison has taken part in public question and answer sessions around the country.

“I’ve done talks like this before, and the best bit is taking questions from the audience,” she said.

“I try and keep the bit at the start where I introduce myself quite short, because that’s not what people want to hear about.

“They want to know what it’s like behind the scenes on this show, what it’s like working with so-and-so, that sort of thing.”

The talk takes place at University Square, Stratford, from 5.30pm on Wednesday.

Free tickets are still available from, where you can also access a live stream.