Beth Eyre is a firm fan favourite for her wonderful Wireless performances in Windover, Drayton Trench and more. Multi award-winning Beth is perhaps most famous among audio comedy fans for her amazing performances as neurotic undertaker Antigone Funn in the superb Wooden Overcoats, but that role is just the tip of Beth’s audio iceberg, as we discovered…
“voice acting has been there for me in one form or another since I graduated”Beth Eyre
How did you first get involved in audio drama?
I’ve always loved audio drama. When I was growing up, I listened to it for hours on my Walkman. After drama school I was all fired up about the possibilities of audio drama – I even started my own company to produce audio plays! – and I took every opportunity to work in and around audio alongside my stage work (and several part time jobs).
While training at DSL I’d met Cherry Cookson, a brilliant radio director who helped me find a way in. I worked for Cherry as a runner and a production assistant, which meant I got to see some fantastic performers in action like Samantha Bond, Celia Imrie, and Sacha Dhawan. I even had a few uncredited lines myself (a small child, a woman being eaten by a tiger – that sort of thing). Cherry introduced me to Mariele and Wireless Theatre and cast me in my first role for them.
What was the first Wireless Theatre production you were involved with?
It was Windover by Brita Bradbury, directed by Cherry Cookson. It’s a ghost story with a fantastic cast, and one of my first encounters with foley. I remember acting out a drowning scene with Richard Reed by attacking a washing up bowl full of water! I was also in awe of Sean Baker, who I’d go on to work with many times in Wooden Overcoats. It’s a lovely thing in audio when you get to work with great people again. I also loved working on Drayton Trench a detective comedy by David K Barnes which we recorded for Wireless Theatre at The Museum of Comedy.
” You can be part of so many different stories without ever leaving the studio!”Beth Eyre
You work in screen, theatre and voice acting. Do you prefer one over the other?
Theatre is where I started out and I will always love it, and I’ve hugely enjoyed the screenwork I’ve done recently. I think it’s a very exciting time for screen. But voice acting has been there for me in one form or another since I graduated from drama school. Thanks to remote recording, I’ve met and worked with so many brilliant people across the globe. I’ve even been flown out to New York for an audio drama gig once, which was a great feeling! I love the variety in audio, the huge range of genres, set across the vast expanse of past, present, and future. You can be part of so many different stories without ever leaving the studio!
You have worked extensively in audio drama podcasts and radio plays. Do you have a stand out favourite production or character? What made it special?
This is tough, because I have been lucky to work on so many productions I feel passionately about. But… I have especially great respect for writers. And if an excellent writer creates a character with you in mind, that is a huge gift.
One day in 2014, I was cast to play a whole range of voices for a comedy detective series written by David K. Barnes. We only spoke a few times during the recording, but he recommended me for his next series Wooden Overcoats (which also starred Felix Trench and Tom Crowley, who were with me in that detective series!) It’s a podcast sitcom about rival funeral directors on a fictional Channel Island, and I play a frustrated mortician called Antigone Funn.
David enjoys writing with specific actors in mind and created Antigone for me to play. It was one of those moments in life where everything clicks, when you’re playing a role that you completely understand from the first time you read it. That it was also gently satirising me was fun, and playing a character that people were able to connect and relate to so much was a wonderful and humbling experience.
What has been your proudest professional moment so far?
Wooden Overcoats finding a passionate audience I think. When it began we had no idea if anybody would listen to it – and then it grew and grew, until it now has a global fanbase.
I’m especially happy with the seasons of live performances we did; it’s a rare treat to perform audio in front of a live audience, and to hear people respond in real time to our own radio comedy was amazing.
Those gigs began above a pub where the microphones kept breaking, until eventually we were at Kings Place and streaming internationally. We even took the show to Latitude – on the bill with Lana Del Rey! (Technically)
What are your top tips for aspiring actors?
Keep training and learning, go at your own pace, and most of all, look after yourself.
What do you enjoy most about acting as a profession? What do you find toughest?
What I enjoy most is the camaraderie with other actors, the variety, and telling stories that affect an audience. That’s what makes you glad to be an actor.
But the toughest things by far are maintaining a work / life balance, and making it work financially. If anybody has the secret to those little quandaries, let me know…
How do you feel the audio drama and voice acting world has changed, since the start of your career?
Remote recording has been a big change, especially over lockdown. I’ve embraced that, upgrading my home recording setup. What used to be the bottom shelf of a wardrobe where I was just a little bit bent into a hoop, is now an all singing all dancing professional session booth. Recording from home is so convenient, and it makes international recordings simpler too. But I do love doing audio work with a cast in person, and I’m lucky that I still get to do that sometimes.
Have you heard any great audio dramas, podcasts or audiobooks recently that you would like to recommend?
Audiobook: ‘The Woman In Black’ narrated by Paapa Essiedu and directed by Ella Watts. It’s a great listen and made me jump out of my skin several times whilst listening on the tube.
Audible’s The Jane Austen Collection. I’m a big Jane Austen fan, this is all six novels with full casts. I listened to the whole lot during lockdown and loved every second. And the independent podcast ‘The Ballad of Anne & Mary’ from Long Cat Media – it’s a 5-part musical pirate adventure!
What are you working on at present?
I’ve got some fantastic audiobooks coming out this year.
I’m playing Lucy in RE: Dracula ‘A bite-sized audio adaptation of the horror classic.’
How can listeners enjoy your work?
Wooden Overcoats– a sitcom about rival funeral directors, available everywhere podcasts are available
I star in Ghosted a five-part horror miniseries from Magenta Presents and Long Cat Media https://www.longcatmedia.com/magentapresents
I am also appearing in Cry Havoc a new dark-comedy set in Ancient Rome created by David K Barnes from Rusty Quill
Beth Eyre – audible for audiobooks
For those who want to contact me/follow me for updates:
And for those with Spotlight https://www.spotlight.com/7818-8977-4721
Photos of Beth:
Beth recording Wooden Overcoats in studio photo copyright Odinn Orn Hilmarsson 2023
The Wooden Overcoats live photo shows l-r Ciara Baxendale, Felix Trench, David K Barnes, Tom Crowley. Copyright Beth Eyre 2023
Recording Drayton Trench Live at the Museum of Comedy for Wireless Theatre – Alice Osmanski and Beth Eyre copyright Mike Garnell 2023
Stephen Critchlow, Beth Eyre and Peter Wicks copyright Mike Garnell 2023
Full cast of Wireless Theatre’s Drayton Trench at The Museum of Comedy . Cast l- r : Simon Kane, Beth Eyre, Stephen Critchlow, Alice Osmanski, Susan Casanove, Esmé Patey-Ford. Copyright Mike Garnell 2023
Beth Eyre Headshot copyright Wolf Marloh 2023