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Elena Hargreaves

April 2012

I WAS actually born in Norwich but only lived there for two years before the family moved on to Liverpool and then Nottingham when I was seven.
We moved around because of my dad’s work. He’s a scientist and also a lecturer at Nottingham Trent University. My mum is a paediatric nurse and she’s Columbian. They met while they were studying in Spain.
They settled in West Bridgford and I lived there until I went off to do an acting degree at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London.
After that I came back to Nottingham for a year, which is when I started to write music with a band.
I now live in London but I spent half my life in Nottingham. And I love Nottingham. I like the peace and quiet. I’ll usually hide away in places like the Malt Cross, Lee Rosy’s and Bell & Jerome in West Bridgford, where I used to work.
I moved to London because it’s where the work is. I have a paid residency in a bar, where I also work. I also teach acting and keep busy auditioning for acting jobs.
After graduating from drama school, I played Gladys in The Skin of Our Teeth in New York. It was an off-Broadway production at The Lee Strasberg Theatre. That’s where Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and Robert De Niro studied, so that was amazing. I went with a friend to the school to train and while we were there we got parts in their latest production. It was crazy and a little surreal, to be with all these hardcore theatre people for three months.
On the back of that I got the lead in a short feature film in Los Angeles. My character is a well-paid escort and it’s a love story of sorts but there’s no nudity in it. There aren’t even any kissing scenes. It’s a film noir; it’s very stylised. The director said he found the English accent was exotic enough. It’s not finished yet but he plans to screen it at all the major film festivals.
I’ve also appeared at the Palace Theatre in Mansfield in a play called In Manifest and The Merry Wives of Windsor at The New Red Lion Theatre in London with a company called Grassroots. I’ll be acting with them again in the summer at The Scoop Theatre in London. We’re currently rehearsing Much Ado About Nothing, which will go on an open-air tour, including Hyde Park.
I’m currently in rehearsals for the opening ceremony of the Olympics, which is being directed by Danny Boyle. I met him last weekend and he’s lovely. I felt like saying “I’m an actress!” but that wouldn’t have been too professional.
I actually auditioned to sing but I was recalled to dance, which is really cool.
I’m not allowed to give anything away about what we’re doing. We’re being told where to go on a need-to-know basis. He’s really worried about people finding out on Twitter and Facebook.
The singing started at the kitchen sink. My parents were really strict and made me and my sister, Stephanie, wash and dry the pots. And we’d start harmonising while we were doing it.
We do perform together as The Hargreaves but we also do our own thing. Whenever I have a big gig I get her to support me, which she’ll be doing at Nottingham Playhouse tonight.
We’ve an older brother, Alan, who is the most sensible out of all of us. He studied international business and runs his own company.
As well as my sister, I’ll be telling a few stories, screening a short film and a friend of mine has created a really nice set, so it’s going to be good. It won’t be your usual gig.

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