Karen Bartke is a Scottish actor from Glasgow. Appearing on stage from an early age, Karen first found her feet as a member of Glasgow Schools Youth Theatre, before studying for a degree in archaeology. The lure of the stage was strong, however, and in recent years Karen has converted her long-held passion for performing into a successful stage and screen career.
Karen is probably best known as Desk Sgt Karen Ann Miller (Officer Karen) in BBC One mockumentary Scot Squad for the Comedy Unit, dealing with the trials and tribulations of persistent visitor Bobby. She was recently seen in Planet Hogmanay on BBC Scotland, contributing alongside Darren Connell, Billy Kirkwood, Alex Norton, Sanjeev Kohli and others to a festive celebration of New Year’s traditions around the globe. She has also appeared in Fakers for Aficionado Films; in a series of comedy sponsorship idents for the ITV talent search show Superstar and in Episode 1 of The Kronicles of Kirk, a series of Comedy Blaps for Channel 4 directed by Noddy Davidson, produced by the Comedy Unit and starring James Kirk.
Karen has featured in an impressive array of short films including In the Snack Bar, The Ambitious Potato, Stramash, Goldfish and Twelve, all of which were filmed in Scotland, and also appeared as Sadie Carter in Monarch of the Glen.
Karen’s stage credits have been wide and varied in recent years. In 2014, she originated the role of Suzy in Tamasha Theatre Company’s My Name Is…., written by Sudha Bhuchar and directed by Philip Osment. Karen was deeply honoured to be nominated for an Offie award for Best Female Performance for the original production at the Arcola Theatre in London and returned to the role for the subsequent UK tours, receiving a further nomination for an ACTA Award for Best Female Performance: Stage in the 2015 tour of My Name Is….
Karen most recently appeared as Avril in the Traverse Theatre Company’s production of Tracks of the Winter Bear by Stephen Greenhorn, directed by Zinnie Harris and again received excellent reviews for her nuanced performance.
Other roles include Aunt Belle in Selladoor Theatre/Mull Theatre’s UK tour of Arthur Miller’s The Man Who Had All The Luck, Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, Viola in Twelfth Night, Blanche DuBois in A Streetcar Named Desire and Beth in Janet Paisley’s The Refuge.
Karen also originated the role of Jane in No Time Has Passed In Hippoland with Sonic Boom Productions.
Header photo from Tracks of the Winter Bear, (c) 2015 Mihaela Bodlovic.
On radio, Karen reprised the role of Suzy for a BBC Radio 4 drama adaptation of My Name Is…. and was nominated for a BBC Audio Drama Award for Best Debut Performance. She followed this with a performance as Josie in Rachel’s Cousins, written by Ann Marie Di Mambro and directed by Bruce Young, again for BBC Radio 4.
In spring 2016, Karen was thrilled to be awarded the Norman Beaton Fellowship and joined the BBC Radio Drama Company for a 5 month contract. Karen showed her versatility, performing in over 30 productions during her tenure as (amongst other things) a Russian seagull, an Australian PE teacher, a pirate, Katherine Whitehorn, a professor of robotics and a prison guard on an egg in the middle of the ocean.
Productions included Stardust by Neil Gaiman, directed by Dirk Maggs and Heather Larmour; Wild Things by Charlotte Jones, directed by Liz Linden; Watership Down by Brian Sibley, directed by Marc Beeby; Blood, Sex & Money: Apocalypse by Martin Jamieson, directed by Gary Brown; Cooking in a Bedsitter by Sue Teddern, directed by Emma Harding; Incredible Women by Jeremy Front, directed by Claire Jones; The Mysteries of Udolpho and Northanger Abbey by Hattie Naylor, directed by Sally Avens; The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde by Neil Brand, directed by David Hunter; Inappropriate Relationships by Christopher Reason, directed by Sasha Yevtushenko; Romance is Dead by Ben Lewis, directed by Kirsty Williams and Somewhere in England by Caryl Phillips, directed by Gaynor MacFarlane.
Karen was also invited to perform in a number of productions for BBC Comedy for BBC Radio 4 including Life on Egg by Dan Maier, directed by Sam Michell; What Does the K Stand For by Jonathan Harvey, directed by Paul Sheehan and It’s Jocelyn by Jocelyn Jee Esien, directed by Suzy Grant.
Her voice has graced TV adverts for Silverburn Shopping Centre and People Make Glasgow, animated shorts for Digital Preservation Europe and many local and national radio adverts in her native Scotland.
Karen also performs as a member of Q Fusion Improv, as part of the sketch comedy shows Man vs. Woman and Alchemy and in her spare time Karen is quite literally a singer in a band with classic rock’n’roll party band The Sentinels.
You can view Karen’s credits and connect with her on the following sites:-
Karen is represented by:-
the narrow road company
Celebrating 30 Years 1986 – 2016
|Tel||020 7831 4450|
Alternatively, you can email Karen direct using the form below.
Powered by Fast Secure Contact Form