Karen Bryson is one of the UK’s leading actresses, whose career spans over two decades. This popular actress is best known for her award-winning portrayal of Avril in Channel 4’s Shameless. Recently she was awarded an MBE by HRH Prince Charles.
Karen says of her MBE: “I’m thrilled and honoured to receive this MBE. To have the hard work of myself and my parents’ belief in me recognised, is second to none. My father joined the British Army from Barbados with his cousin. They had 5 shirts between them when they arrived in England, which they rotated. So coming from such a disadvantaged background both he and my mum made us aware of the importance of always doing my absolute best, giving things my all and of taking advantage of every opportunity this country had to offer via education. Others aren’t so lucky…
“My mum encouraged and nurtured what I was good at, which for me, was drama. As I got older she knew it was my passion and worked two jobs to pay for my drama classes. It is so special to be able to share this time with my mum, my father sadly passed away 7 years ago, but I know he is with me in spirit feeling proud. I was brought up with a really strong work ethic, which I still hold dear today. I would like to inspire others, who might not have those influences spurring them on!”
As a well-versed actress, who trained at LAMDA, Karen performed in many of the country’s most respected theatres including The Barbican, The Globe, Manchester Royal Exchange, Stratford East and with the Royal Shakespeare Company in productions such as, A Winter’s Tale and The Comedy of Errors.
It was on her beloved stage whilst starring in Shoot to Win that Karen was spotted by a casting director to audition for the Channel 4 drama series Buried which went on to win a BAFTA. An abundance of Television work followed including a regular role in the RTS winner and BAFTA nominated drama series Bodies. This popular actress continued to win guest lead roles in shows such as Silent Witness, Torn. The Children, Between the Sheets, Coming down the Mountain, Sold and Apparitions to name but a few. Her film work includes The Longest Memory, Zulu 9, Time is Forever and a lead role in British Independent feature film The Carrier.
Bryson starred as Avril in Shameless for 4 seasons, the role saw Karen nominated for several awards including Best Comedy Performance and Best Actress at the 2013 MVISA awards. She won Best Actress in TV at the Screen Nation Awards in 2013.
Her latest work includes starring as Custody SGNT Melanie Pyke in the fast-paced police drama Cuffs for BBC1. Independent Feature film about a transgender youth Just Charlie. A Child in Time for TV. Karen is also one of the producers of TV pilot The Block A drama set on a Council Estate in London which recently had its first screening. Karen has just finished Harlan Coben’s 8-part drama, Safe for Netflix, airing globally in 2018. Bryson is about to start filming a gritty Independent film set in London called The Come Up