Matron Brannan


Mrs. Brannan is the formidable Irish matron who knows and sees all at Mansion House. With no clear job description, she does her best to manage the housekeeping while keeping an eye on the staff. Fearless, resilient, with a keen sense of humor, Brannan speaks her mind. She has even earned the grudging respect of Chief Summers, although he would never admit it. Seemingly tough, she harbors a secret vulnerability.

Suzanne on Matron Brannan:

I think she suffered quite a lot in her life, and I think she’s tough but has a heart. Yeah. She’s had a tough life, so she’s resilient, a survivor, but she has a good heart.

She is on the go all the time. Always up to a zillion different things. There were wounded and dead, and then there’s the politics of the hospital, which she observes. She knows everything that goes on. I wouldn’t say much misses her.

I mean, what Lisa Wolfinger, our executive producer and co-creator, said to me on the first day was that I had lost my husband and sons, and that Dorthea Dix would have placed me here. Now, the Irish were known for their nursing skills, and so I think my story was that my sister had been a nurse in Ireland. Nursing at this time was not formalized and Dix was trying to formalize it. She took pity on me. And I have a job.

Actor bio

Suzanne Bertish was born in London to a British father and American mother. Her work with The Royal Shakespeare Company includes "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby" (Olivier Award); "Masha in Three Sisters;" "Twelfth Night" (with Ian McKellen), directed by Trevor Nunn; and Desdemona in "Othello." Work in London includes "Les Liaisons Dangereuses;" "An Inspector Calls," directed by Stephen Daldry; "Taking Sides," directed by Harold Pinter; "Tango at the End of Winter" (with Alan Rickman), directed by Yukio Ninagowa; Ophelia in "Hamlet" (with Derek Jacobi), for which she won the Clarence Derwent Award; and "Gertrude" (with Paul Rhys).

Work with the National Theatre includes "King Lear" (with Antony Hopkins), directed by David Hare; Ibsen’s "Rosmersholm" (Evening Standard Award nomination); "Oedipus," directed by Peter Hall; and "The Cherry Orchard" (with Vanessa and Corin Redgrave), directed by Trevor Nunn. 

Work on stage in America includes "Machinal," directed by Lyndsey Turner; "Salome" (with Al Pacino), directed by Robert Allan Ackerman; "The Moliere Comedies," directed by Michael Langham (Tony nomination); "The Art of Success" (with Tim Curry), directed by Adrian Noble; "Wit" (with Cynthia Nixon), directed by Lynne Meadow; "Kin," directed by Sam Gold; "The Heir Apparent," for which she won the Joe A. Calloway award; "Skirmishes" (Theatre World Award); "Richard III" for The Public Theatre; "Antony and Cleopatra," directed by Michael Kahn; "Mrs. Warren’s Profession," directed by Emily Mann; and "Breakfast at Tiffany’s."

PBS credits include "The Life and Adventures of Nicholas nickleby," to "The Lighthouse," "Inspector Morese," "Mr. Bean," "Poirot," and "Rosemary and Thyme." Other TV and film includes “The Grid," “The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone,” “The Scarlet Pimpernel,” “The Secret Diary of a Call Girl,” “The Upside of Anger,” “Venice/Venice,” directed by Henry Jaglom, “W.E.,” directed by Madonna, “Ab Fab,”  “Rome,” "13th Warrior," "The Hunger," directed by Tony Scott, and "Hearts of Fire."

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