Profiling: Balvinder Sopal
Written by Richard McArtney
It is with great pride that one of Dick & Lottie’s regular performers has gone from strength to strength within the acting world. She was one of the original group that came on-board when the company was set up in 2004. The inaugural production was Alan Ayckbourn’s “Absent Friends” and Bal. created a memorable Evelyn, with gum chewing delight. As the company grew, so did Bal. and she became not only a huge supporter of Dick & Lottie, but we became a huge supporter of her work. She followed up, “Absent Friends” with a wonderful turn as Suzy’s mother in, “Mr A’s Amazing Maze Plays” our second production (who can forget her being so ‘philanthranthrapopical’). In 2006 she was the effervescent Ginny in Ayckbourn’s “Relatively Speaking”, Annie in “Table Manners”, part of Ayckbourn’s Norman Conquest plays in 2009 and her performance as Eva Jackson in “Absurd Person Singular” (2012) turned the entire Act 2, without a line of dialogue, into an audience favourite. It is difficult to forget the image of Bal. on her hands and knees trying to commit suicide with her head in a gas oven, as Jane tells her, “The oven can wait. You clean it later”.
On Sunday 11th February at 8pm, we finally got to see what a journey she has taken, as she made a guest appearance in “Call the Midwife” on BBC1 (season 7, episode 4). As Mumtaz Gani, Balvinder portrayed the co-owner of a factory in East London with her character’s husband, Saddiq. The two were brought together in an arranged marriage when they were only teenagers, but they have grown up together and developed a strong bond. Now Mumtaz, who has been unable to conceive a child, is shocked to find their families have arranged for him to bring his second wife to England, and she is pregnant.
We are proud to call Balvinder, not only a great friend, but a part of what Dick & Lottie is all about. We strive to not only create great theatre, but to nurture and realise great actors who can go on (and often return) to bigger things.
Balvinder graduated from the University of Huddersfield in 2001 with a degree in Theatre Studies with Media. Since graduating she has not only worked with ‘Dick & Lottie’ but has worked with a number of award winning theatre companies, nationally and internationally and has worked extensively within radio, film and television.
Theatre credits: “Sleepless” (Analogue Theatre), “Stowaway” (Analogue Theatre), “The Edge” (Transport Theatre), “Deranged Marriage” (Rifco Arts), “Our Glass House” (Common Wealth Theatre).
Radio credits: “Childrewn of the Somme” (BBC Radio Leeds), “Everyday Tales of Afghan Folk” (BBC Radio 4, series 1 to 4), “Granny Anne’s Joke World” (CeeBeebies, series 1), “Brief Lives” (BBC Radio 4), “Silver Street” (BBC Asian Network, 2004 to 2010) – series regular – Simran Kaur.
Television credits: “Coronation Street” (ITV) – recurring character – PC Marks, “Emmerdale” (ITV), Hollyoaks (Channel Four), the BAFTA award-winning “White Girl” (BBC), “Adha Cup” (Channel Four), “Waterloo Road”, “Honeycomb Lodge”, “Naachley London” (Aviary Films).
Balvinder plays Emma is Wireless Theatre’s, “Mr. Ten Days”.