Sara has had most success as a stage actress, mostly in comedy roles. It was after the 1990 production of Noel Coward's Private Lives at London's Aldwych Theatretheatre
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Sara Crowe was born in 1966, in Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, Scotland. She has two older sisters. Her father Alan's job in the oil industry meant that the family moved frequently, with Sara attending five different schools by the time she was six. The Crowe family then settled in Guildford, although they retained their home (a flat on the Ardrossan seafront) in Scotland, returning there for holidays and to visit family. Sara's grandparents owned a restaurant called The Rowan Tree in Ardrossan.
Sara was a shy child who grew to hate school. Before completing her O-levels, she left school and joined St Catherine's Drama Studio in Guildford. Finding something she was good at, she spent two years there, and formed a double-act with a fellow student, Ann Bryson. Known as The Flaming Hamster
Hamsters, they performed at the Comedy Store as well as on
on Rory Bremner's sketch show Now Something Else (1986-87) on BBC2.
Sara Crowe aged 20
Sara had already appeared in a commercial for Standard Fireworks in 1986, but an appearance
appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe in 1987 led to her, along with Ann Bryson auditioning for, and winning, the part of the two dippy secretaries in the long running Philadelphia cheese commercials. These were so successful that they were seen regularly on TV for more than a decade. Sara also appeared in a 1989 commercial for Red Mountain coffee.
Ann Bryson & Sara Crowe in a commercial
for Philadelphia Cheese
Sara advertises (left) Red Mountain coffee & (right) Philadelphia cheese
Theatre in which Sara played Sybil, that her career really took off. The play brought her widespread critical acclaim, not least for her out-acting Joan Collins! Sara received a clutch of prestigious awards - the Olivier Award for 'Best Supporting Actress', the Variety Club for 'Best Stage Actress' and the Critics' Circle Award for 'Most Promising Newcomer'.
Sara Crowe in Relative Values
Sara Crowe & Tony Gardner
Since then, she has regularly appeared on the West End stage, with credits that include Shakespeare's Twelfth Night (1991) at the Playhouse Theatre; Hay Fever (1992) at the Albery Theatre; Relative Values (1993) at the Savoy Theatre; Black Comedy (1998) at the Comedy Theatre; A Busy Day (2000) at thelyric
Sara Crowe as Sybil in Private Lives
in Black Comedy
Sara Crowe & Gary Waldhorn
in Bedroom Farce
Sara Crowe as Ruth in Calendar Girls
On tour, Sara Crowe has played Miss Babs in the touring version of Victoria Wood's Acorn Antiquess
Antiques the Musical (2007); Lady Driver in Michael Frayn's comedy Donkey's Years (2007) and Jane in Alan Ayckbourne's Absurd Person Singular (2008). In 2010, audiences saw her as Emma in the stage version of Lark Rise to Candleford (2010)
As Emma in Lark Rise to Candleford
Acorn Antiques the Musical
Sara Crowe & Ria Jones in
Sarah Ball, Chrisopher Villiers & Sara Crowe
in Life x3
Away from the theatre, Sara's work has mostly been in televis
television. She was a regular on The Rory Bremner Show (1988) and played Fanny Foulacre in the comedy series Haggard (1990) with Keith Barron. She appeared as Max in the short-lived comedy series Sometime, Never (1996) and as Margaret Johnson in the children's ITV series Big Meg, Little Meg (2001). There have been single appearances in other series like Born and Bred (2002); Casualty (2004); The Green, Green Grass (2005); Skins (2009) and Doctors (2010).
Sara Crowe & Honeysuckle Weeks in Alan Ayckbourn's
Absurd Person Singular at Nottingham's Theatre Royal
Sara Crowe played various characters in sketches from The Best of Rory Bremner
Sara Crowe's big-screen appearances are very few. Caught in the Act (1997) was considered so poor by the distributors that it went straight to video and Carry On Columbus (1992) is still thought by many people to be the worst of all of the
Carry On films. Sara has had one big film success though - as Laura, the bride in the first wedding of the Oscar-nominated Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994)(1994
Timothy Walker & Sara Crowe in
Four Weddings and a Funeral
Sara Crowe as Fatima in
Carry On Columbus
(1994) starring Hugh Grant. "It was just the best job ever to work on. It was like going to a wedding for a whole summer and getting paid for it," she says.
Sara signed my programme for
Absurd Person Singular
In real life, Sara Crowe has been married twice. She met her first husband, actor Toby Dale (Jim Dale's son), on the set of Carry On Columbus and they married within a month of meeting. They divorced six years
Sara has signed my Carry On book. She is pictured here
years later in 1998. Sara married her second husband, Sean Carson (nephew of the comedian Frank Carson) in 2003. They now live in West Sussex.
with her ex father-in-law Jim Dale in Carry On Columbus
the Lyric Theatre and The Constant Wife (2002) at the Apollo Theatre.
Theatre. In 2009, she was Ruth in the West End version of Tim Firth's Calendar Girls, and in 2010, she played Jan in Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce, directed
directed by Sir Peter Hall at the Duke of York's Theatre.
I met Sara Crowe after I had seen her in Alan Ayckbourn's comedy play Absurd Person Singular at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham in November 2008.
She signed my programme and also her page in my Carry On book.
I had heard that she can be a little shy at stage doors, but she was perfectly happy to pose with me for this photograph.