Beerey is a one act play, based the true experiences of Sue and Elle during and since the arrest and wrongful conviction of Jon Beere, known as Beerey, Sue’s husband and Elle’s father. Beerey was arrested in 2011 part as part of Operation Disorient (one of the UK’s biggest international drugs smuggling busts) in 2011. Jon is serving 24 years in prison for a crime he maintains that he did not commit, and is fighting for his freedom alongside the rest of ‘The Freshwater Five’ (as they have become known).
The play tells the usually hidden story of the impact of a wrongful conviction on the family members left behind. Sue and Elle tell their stories with total honesty, candour, with no holds barred and often a great deal of humour… Their story makes you wonder, what would you do if your perfectly ordinary family was suddenly swept into the nightmare of a high profile drugs prosecution? If a member of your family is accused of a crime will everyone believe not just that that person is guilty, but that you’re all guilty?
Whether convictions are rightful or, as in this case, wrongful – this is the reality faced by thousands of families across the UK every single day. More children currently have a parent in prison than are ‘looked after’ children. More children currently have a parent in prison than are on the Child Protection or Child At Risk Register. There is currently no national system for these children to have any access to that parent, or to get support for everything they experience as a result of that parent serving time.
www.5men104years.com is the website set up to tell the full story of all the men and families involved.
Lois answers our questions for us here____
Honestly? I think at the moment it’s more that Actor Awareness are supporting me! Stage and screen are incredibly hard areas to find work (that pays a living wage) if you don’t have the privilege of wealth or connections – even with a lot of talent and luck it’s hard to get into a room with a casting director or agent. Actor Awareness has given me (and many others without those privileges) a chance to showcase what I can do as an actor.
Actor Awareness opens doors that otherwise stay closed for most ordinary people. It’s about an equality of access, that mostly doesn’t exist in this industry.
I’d love to reach a place in the future where I can give something back.
Probably money actually. The internet has levelled the playing field in terms of what you can access without an agent or top 5 drama school f/t training, but it costs a lot to get set-up. By the time you’ve done your professional head shots, showreel, set up on Spotlight, CCP, paid Equity you’re about £1k down before you’re even ready to look for work! It’s crazy. I don’t think people realise.
Actually being ‘older’ has made finding work easier for me. I’ve always been pretty ordinary looking and as younger women are mostly type-cast into ‘love interest’ or ‘romantic lead’ type roles, there’s a lot of pressure to be a size 6 (max) and look like a model. Once you’re past 30 you’re no longer cast that way – the type cast becomes being a ‘wife’ or a ‘mum’ and the beauty requirement gets dropped.
It’s still a totally reductive and non-representative box to be put into, as it still means a woman is only identified by her personal relationships (usually cis-hetro and with a white males); it just happens to be a box which I can squeeze myself into…
I can’t afford even outer London prices, I have no idea how anyone without significant savings can break this industry and live in London. I also have no idea how you break the industry without being in London as so much work and opportunity is here.
I’m actually lucky enough to have friends and family who let me sofa surf with them (I’m currently homeless), but there have been times where I’ve slept in rail stations after shows or acting class. Without my friends and family putting up with me crashing with them off-and-on I definitely wouldn’t be able to do this.
Relax, it’s going to be OK. Everything will work out if you let it.
Love what you do and enjoy every opportunity. An audition may not lead to a job, but it’s a chance to practice your trade in front of employers and experts, and a chance to connect with people who inspire you. Life is what you make it, so make it joyful.