PAWS’ April meeting featured Lucy Allen who has been a professional stuntwoman for 27 years, 37 members attended and enjoyed her talk.
Watching Olga Korbut at the Munich Olympics inspired Lucy as a child to be daring. Training in gymnastics and acting she found that she was very good and wanted a career involving both regimes. She needed an Equity card to get employment and took the first job that she was offered in order to get this – this turned out to be nude gymnastics in Istanbul!
The next job was in a circus, spinning by her teeth on a high rope, which gave her a taste for the daredevil life she longed for. She applied for the Equity Stunt Register and started her career as a stuntwoman, first under supervision, then on her own and lastly arranging stunts for herself and others.
Lucy performs two types of fall from buildings or other high places; for very high and more dangerous falls she wears a harness attached by a wire to a crane. For others she free-falls onto an airbag to break her fall; timing and great skill are needed to ensure that she does actually land on it. Her highest wire dive was 100 feet and her highest free-fall was 65 feet. She is an accomplished rider of many types of motorbike, so is in demand to act as a double in films involving fast chases on bikes and in cars.
Lucy has to wear a lot of protective wear to avoid injury, like a back brace, joint supports and kneepads. Lucy covers herself in Zel Gel and wears Nomex fire-resistant underwear if she is being set on fire. She has doubled for many famous actors including Helen Mirren, Sophie Thompson and Julie Walters. She doubles for Julie Walters in the film ‘Mary Poppins Returns’.
Lucy is very enthusiastic about her work and says that she particularly likes parts where she has to act as well as perform stunts. There were lots of questions after the talk.
Our next get together is on May 23rd when Christine Beedle will give us a talk on “The Essex Scrubber”. Membership is currently full but visitors are very welcome at a cost of £5.00 which includes refreshments.
You can find details of all our meetings and speakers on the diary of the home page of this website. If you would like further information about P.A.W.S please ring either of the following committee members: