Hello, I'm Esther

 

At the age of 40 my childhood dream came true and I found myself at Drama School on an MA in Acting.  

 

Unfortunately all dreams come to an end and we wake up, but when my amazing year came to an end, I realised that I wanted to make a life and living doing what I love: acting and writing.  There was no going back to my previous life in the City and it was time for a different kind of awakening.  It was time for me to find a way to grow up and get creative.

I experimented with various auditions and acting jobs and was lucky enough to be on a tour with my friends in Germany, playing Polonia in a production of Hamlet (my favourite play) in a medieval castle.  It should have been another dream come true.

But it wasn’t.  Not because of the acting, the play or the cast and crew.  They were amazing.  The trouble was me.  You see I have two children and, in between performances, I found myself on the phone to my inconsolable child in England.  My heart broke.

This was not the way for me.  I came home exhausted and unwell, my “money job” at a training company came to an end and Christmas loomed, while I persistently wished for a way to make a living doing what I love, while also being present for the people I love.

The following year that wish came true.  

At the start of the year I began my voice acting business.  At first there were many auditions, a great deal to learn about editing and recording, with little to show for it.

But then I went to an event for audiobook narrators.  I had longed to do this for many years, secretly envious of any friends who booked audiobook jobs.  As a lifelong lover of books and acting it felt like the perfect combination.

During the day I had the chance to read for an audiobook producer but there was a catch.  I would need to do an impression of Joanna Lumley, something I had never done before.  

Using my acting training and a bit of googling to watch a video of her I treated it as an acting exercise.  I went into the booth and had the best time I could have imagined.  I felt as if I was flying.  It was as thrilling as being on stage.  I was hooked.

That day I won a bottle of champagne for my performance and a few months later I was booked to narrate four Jill Mansell novels.  Fast forward four years and I have narrated on over 180 titles for producers and publishers in the UK and the US.  I have a studio at the bottom of my garden and I am at home for my children most of the time.

Audiobooks have given me a living as an actor but more than that they have allowed me to have the life I wanted but didn’t dare to dream I could have.  I am earning as much as my City salary in my previous life and I couldn’t be happier.  I even found myself back at Central School, the place my professional acting training began, giving my TEDx Talk, “Grow Up and Get Creative.” 

Now I want to share that joy with you.  As storytellers, actors and writers can gain a huge amount from audiobook narration, discovering new audiences and telling incredible stories in the most intimate of ways.  

Now I want to share that joy with you.  

 

Photography by Natalya Chagrin

 

 

As a listener and a narrator, audiobooks have changed my life in wonderful ways, could they do the same for you?

 

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