Miranda Richardson was born in Southport, Lancashire, England on March 3, 1958, to Marian Georgina (Townsend) and William Alan Richardson, a marketing executive. She has one sister, eight years her senior. Her parents and sister are not involved in the performing arts. At an early age she performed in school plays, having shown a talent and desire to turn herself into other people. She has referred to it as an emotional fusion; you think yourself into them. This mimicry could be of school friends or film stars. She left school (Southport High School for Girls) at the age of 17, and originally intended becoming a vet. She also considered studying English literature in college, but decided to concentrate on drama and enrolled at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School (as did many well-known British actors). After three years she graduated and moved into repertory theatre. She became affiliated with the Library Theatre in Manchester in 1979, where she became an assistant stage manager. She obtained her Equity card, and after several regional productions, first appeared on the London stage (Moving at Queens Theatre) in 1981. British television roles soon followed, and then film.