An extremely strong dramatic actress she is conversely often cast in comedy character roles. Her versatility has earned her extensive experience in theatre, including with the RSC and Royal National Theatre, in productions such as Good (Aldwych Theatre and Broadway) and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Ambassadors Theatre) in which she played both the powerfully seductive Madame Merteuille and the caustic Madame Volanges; as well as Bartholomew Fair and The Shaughraun in the Olivier Theatre directed by Richard Eyre and Howard Davies respectively.
Kate has practical experience of Shakespeare, Ibsen and Ayckbourn amongst others, as well as plenty of new writing, newly-discovered writing and adaptations. She has worked at such venues as the Orange Tree, Chichester Festival Theatre, Derby Playhouse, Exeter Northcott, Plymouth Theatre Royal and Cheltenham Everyman Theatre. Her favourite challenge to date has been Nora in Ibsen’s The Doll’s House at Basingstoke’s Haymarket Theatre. More recent theatre includes various parts for Menagerie Theatre Company in Cambridge and at Theatre 503 (previously The Latchmere), including the leading part of Elizabeth the 1st in Frobisher’s Gold by RSC writer, Fraser Grace.
With TV experience ranging from soap (The Bill, EastEnders, Brookside) to drama to Greek tragedy (Oedipus at Colonus and Iphegenia at Aulis), Kate’s recent TV appearances include Dr Flynn in Down To Earth and Judy Quigley in Holby City, both for the BBC. Film work includes An Ungentlemanly Act, a drama set on the Falkland Islands in which she played Connie, wife to Ian McNeice’s army major, Natural Lies directed by Ben Bolt and To Be The Best with Anthony Hopkins.
Kate has recently played the leading part of Amanda in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich.
The Glass Menagerie – New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich
At the head of this one-parent family is Amanda. In Kate Spiro’s remarkable performance she is a luminous visionary within a world where a secretarial course or a gentleman caller are all her daughter can hope for. Amanda, with her lubricious monologues, is one of those pesky belles who resolutely refuse to fade. Kate Spiro gives a hint of what Broadway, with actresses like Laurette Taylor and Uta Hagen, must have been like. We will be lucky to see a better performance this year.
There’s the family matriarch Amanda (floridly and bitterly played – though not without comedy – by Kate Spiro). She, the deserted and faded Southern belle hating the St Louis tenement they live in, is caught between her illusions and often-repeated memories and the harsh, practical world with which she has to deal…For me this is one of those must-see plays. It gets a good treatment here.
East Anglian Daily Times
The Doll’s House – Haymarket Theatre Basingstoke
…success owes much to a splendid central performance of remarkable range by Kate Spiro. Her Nora is flamboyant, childish, courageous, unpredictable and eventually resolute, dignified and articulate. There is a marvellous ambiguity about much of her behaviour in the first two acts, which seems to be partly escapism, partly spontaneous enjoyment and partly unconscious rebellion. Spiro’s most obvious technical attribute is the ability to effect sudden convincing shifts in her character’s mood – exhilaration to fear, defiance to dismay. But there is also running through her interpretation the constant thread of Nora’s desire to establish her own worth, her need to “count”. And it is this above all that enables Spiro to succeed where many others have faltered, in making real dramatic sense of the crucial final scene.”
Mick Martin, The Guardian
Hobson’s Choice – Derby Playhouse
…Maggie his wife, played by Kate Spiro was brilliant. She delivered her performance, at once both severe and comic, with an unsurpassed understanding of the character.
Hard Times – Orange Tree
…Kate Spiro quite astonishingly conveys the doomed Louisa Gradgrind’s telescoped transition from girlhood to womanhood and the human breakdown induced by a life of inflexible logic.
Michael Billington, The Guardian
…But the evening belongs to Kate Spiro whose blistering portrayal of Louisa Gradgrind has forever banished my impression that all heroines in Dickens novels are simpering wimps.
Richmond and Twickenham Times
Hamlet, the First Quarto – Orange Tree
…Kate Spiro’s ‘Ofelia’ grows in substance. Her madness is ingenuous and very moving; everything has broken up inside her; the songs and riddles that burst from her mouth are splinters of what used to be a person.
Martin Cropper, The Times
A radiant Ofelia, Kate Spiro reveals a tuneful mezzo in her madness scene which she plays without the usually embarrassing whimsy or sexual abandon.
Richmond and Twickenham Times
Twelfth Night – Theatre Royal, Plymouth
…Kate Spiro in full mourning and of dignified presence as Olivia, giving a remarkable change of character in her translation from sorrow to joy.