Will She Do?
by Eileen Atkins
Act One of a Life on Stage
Will She Do? is the story of a girl from a council estate in Tottenham, born in 1934 to an electric-meter reader and a seamstress, who was determined to be an actress. Candid and witty, this memoir takes her from her awkward performances in working-men’s clubs at six years of age as dancing ‘Baby Eileen’, through the war years in London, to her breakthrough at thirty-two on Broadway with The Killing of Sister George,for which she received the first of four Tony Award nominations.
She co-created Upstairs, Downstairs and wrote the screenplay for Mrs Dalloway (for which she won an Evening Standard Award) and at aged eighty-six, this is her first autobiographical work.
Characterised by an eye for the absurd, a terrific knack for storytelling and an insistence on honesty, Will She Do? is a wonderful raconteur’s tale about family, about class, about youthful ambition and big dreams and what really goes on behind the scenes.
Made a Dame in 1991, Eileen Atkins has been on American and British stage and screen since 1957 and has won an Emmy, a BAFTA and is a three-time Olivier Award winner; her theatre performances include The Height of the Storm, Ellen Terry, All that Fall and she has appeared in television and films ranging from Doc Martin to Cranford to The Crown.