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Lexington's Lucille Sharp joins 'Downton Abbey' cast for season 3

by Melissa Chipman

Lucille Sharp as Reed in “Downton Abbey” from the Curtis Brown site

I absolutely adored “Downton Abbey” when it first premiered.

But somehow toward the end of Season 1, episodes got shuffled off of my TiVo or buried behind other addictive television shows.

And somewhere around Episode 6, I gave up trying to find the time to catch up and promised to watch it all “later.”

“Later” came on New Year’s Day this year.

My “Downton Abbey” marathon wasn’t a resolution fulfilled, though. In preparation for my role as “celebrity judge” for the KET “Fabby Abbey Premiere Party,” I mainlined ten episodes of the show in just two days.

Let me tell you, “Downton Abbey” dreams are pretty darned awesome.

And I’m even more excited about the show now that it has a Kentucky Connection.

Lexington-native Lucille Sharp joined the cast of “Downton Abbey” for Season 3. She plays Miss Reed, the inexperienced, teenaged and sassy lady’s maid of Cora’s fiery American mother, Martha Levinson, who is played by Shirley MacLaine.

Sharp attended the School for Creative and Performing Arts in Lexington and transferred to the Arts Academy High School at Interlochen in Michigan. Interlochen is best known for its highly competitive arts summer programs; the Arts Academy is a high school boarding program now in its 50th year.

The 21-year-old recently graduated from Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (formerly the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama) and is now living in London.

Sharp is represented by the Curtis Brown Agency in London, the same talent agency as “Abbey’s” Lady Edith (Laura Carmichael),  kitchen maid Daisy (Sophie McShera), and calculating lady’s maid O’Brien (Siobhan Finneran).

Sharp’s only other television role was as Edgar Allan Poe’s cousin/wife Virginia Clemm in a BBC production called “Edgar Allan Poe: Love, Death and Women.”

Sharp in Sweet Sorrow

Sharp’s acting curriculum vitae on the Curtis Brown website spotlights her performance as Abigail in Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible” at the Theatre Royal York in 2011 when she was still a student at the Royal Conservatoire.

Alfred Hickling of “The Guardian” says, “Lucille Sharp’s Abigail is a truly poisonous little snake.”

Sarah Freeman of “The Yorkshire Post” says, “there are some fine performances. Lucille Sharp as the witch hunt ring leader Abigail Williams has a superb innocent facade, hiding an evil heart.”

Sharp also had starring stage roles as Juliet in Lexington Summerfest’s “Romeo & Juliet” (billed as “Lucy”) and at Interlochen as Tzeitel in “Fiddler on the Roof.”

In Episode 1 of Season 3 of “Downton Abbey,” Sharp distinguished herself as a fine talent with good comedic timing.  In a pre-recorded interview aired during the “Fabby Abbey Preview Party,” Sharp said that she had returned to waitressing in London and frequently gets recognized as Reed (Season 3 of “Downton Abbey” aired in England in the fall).

What lies ahead for Miss Reed? She’ll only be around as long as Shirley MacLaine’s Martha will be, and that means only one more episode. Still, intrigue – and perhaps a love connection? – appear to be in Reed’s future.

Hopefully what lies ahead for Sharp is more acting and less waitressing.

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