Kerry Howard

Graduated BA (Hons) Drama - 2003

Current Profession Actress

KerryHoward006

“It wasn’t until I got to Edge Hill that I discovered my voice as an actor and met people who encouraged me and told me I was good enough. I learnt so much, about playing characters and about writing comedy, which has helped me get where I am today. It really was the best three years of my life.”

She’s known to millions as Laura, Becky’s highly strung younger sister in hit BBC Three comedy Him & Her, starred alongside Rafe Spall in her first feature film and has just finished recording the pilot of her very own sketch show.

But Kerry Howard, acclaimed comedy actress and star of Sky’s new sitcom, Give Out Girls, came to acting almost by chance.

“I wasn’t expected to get the grades to go to university but, much to everyone’s surprise – including mine – I did quite well in my A-Levels,” recalls Kerry. “I hadn’t even applied to university but suddenly everyone was talking about Clearing. I’d always been interested in drama, so my mum and my cousin got on the phone and started ringing round. I went out and by the time I came back I was enrolled on a Drama course at Edge Hill.”

Two weeks later, a slightly apprehensive Kerry travelled 200 miles from her home in Somerset to Ormskirk, a place she’d never heard of, to start a degree she didn’t know much about.

“I was quite conflicted because I’d never been away from home before,” says Kerry, “but Edge Hill was perfect for me. I’m a country girl at heart and I think a big metropolitan university would have completely overwhelmed me. Edge Hill felt manageable. You were near Manchester and Liverpool so you could experience a bit of city life – but you weren’t right in it.

“My parents were pleased I was getting a degree but I don’t think they thought acting was a serious career. My mum made costumes for the local Amateur Dramatic club, so me and my brothers always had bit parts in pantomimes, and I was in school plays, but I’d never had lead roles. No-one had ever picked me out as a future star or anything.

“It wasn’t until I got to Edge Hill that I discovered my voice as an actor and met people who encouraged me and told me I was good enough. I learnt so much, about playing characters and about writing comedy, which has helped me get where I am today. It really was the best three years of my life.”

After graduation Kerry moved to London to look for work. Like many aspiring actors, she took unpaid acting jobs, did open mic slots and worked as an extra to make ends meet and get her name known. Her big break came in 2009 when she was cast as Martin Clunes’ receptionist in Reggie Perrin.

“I’d grown up loving Men Behaving Badly so I was ridiculously overexcited to be working with Martin Clunes,” she recalls. “Every scene I had was with him so in rehearsals I was just bright red the whole time. I’ve been fortunate to work with some amazing actors and I always try and learn as much as I can from them; I’m like a limpet, stuck to their side taking it all in.”

After Reggie Perrin, Kerry was offered the role of Laura in BBC Three’s Him & Her, now on its fourth series. Since then she has appeared in Channel 4’s Comedy Showcase and Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps on BBC Two. She also recently made her movie debut in British comedy I Give it a Year, starring Rafe Spall, Minnie Driver and Stephen Merchant.

“Seeing my name up there on the big screen was an incredible, surreal moment,” says Kerry, “but the best thing was walking up the red carpet at the premiere. It was such an amazing experience. Even if I do nothing else in my life, I can say I’ve been photographed on the red carpet at a movie premiere!”

Give Out Girls is Kerry’s first leading role, and she believes there isn’t a better time to be a woman in comedy.

“There are some brilliantly funny female writers and actors around at the moment,” she says. “People like Lena Dunham (writer and star of controversial US comedy Girls) have really opened the door for actresses like me. She’s proved the ‘girl next door’ type, which is normally a supporting role, can carry a show – and I hope I can do the same in the UK.”

To find out more about studying this programme, please view full course information for BA (Hons) Drama.