11 Questions with The Convert’s Jude Akuwudike

Jude Akuwudike in The Convert. Photography by Marc Brenner
Jude Akuwudike in The Convert. Photo by Marc Brenner.

Jude Akuwudike plays Uncle in The Convert which is currently running at the Young Vic until 26 Jan. We’ve posed him 11 Questions to find out more about him and his character:

1. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?  

I am usually playing music and going over some of my Shona.

2. What was it that first got you interested in theatre?

I first got interested in theatre by watching it.

3. Can you describe your character in The Convert in three words?

He feels disinherited.

4. What can the audience expect from this production that’s different to anything they may have seen before?

They should come in with open hearts, minds and spirits.

5. What language do you wish could speak? Or Do you speak any languages?

I would like to learn to speak many languages from my home country Nigeria. I would also like to speak at least three languages from North, East and Southern Africa.

6. What’s your favourite midnight snack?

I rarely eat late but I love avocado.

7. Who do you think must see this show before it ends its run?

Everyone should see it.

8. What play or film have you seen recently that has had a lasting emotional effect on you and why?

I saw Translations at the National Theatre. 

9. What’s the most memorable moment from working at the Young Vic?

The most memorable moment was realising my Shona was actually okay.

10. Which country would you like to visit and why?

I would like to visit China or India because I think both are great civilizations. 

11. If you could be an animal for one day, which animal would you be?

I would be a fish to experience the world from underwater.

The Convert is now playing at the Young Vic until January 26. Tickets are now sold out but returns may be available on the day of each performance. Speak to our Box Office for more information on 020 7922 2922.

11 Questions with The Convert’s Pamela Nomvete

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Pamela Nomvete in The Convert. Photo by Marc Brenner.

Pamela Nomvete plays Mai Tamba in The Convert which is currently running at the Young Vic until 26 Jan. We’ve posed 11 Questions to find out more about her and her character: 

1. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?  

I’m usually going over my Shona!

2. What was it that first got you interested in theatre?

When I was doing my A levels my best friend asked me to be her partner in a drama festival. Since then I was bitten by the bug of theatre!

3. Can you describe your character in The Convert in three words?

I would describe her as the – Mother of Zimbabwe.

4. What can the audience expect from this production that’s different to anything they may have seen before?

There is heart and soul in this production. Three generations from the African diaspora storytelling together.

5. What language do you wish could speak?

I would love to learn Swahili.

6. What’s your favourite midnight snack?

I am fast asleep at midnight. No snacks!  

7. Who do you think must see this show before it ends its run?

Everyone.

8. If your character had a catchphrase, what would it be?

Let’s move!

9. What’s the most memorable moment you’ve had at the Young Vic?

The Convert press night.

10. Which country would you like to visit and why?

I would like to visit Cuba.

11. If you could be an animal for one day, which animal would you be?

A unicorn. They seem to straddle the world of fantasy and reality for me.

The Convert is now playing at the Young Vic until January 26. Tickets are now sold out but returns may be available on the day of each performance. Speak to our Box Office for more information on 020 7922 2922.

11 Questions with The Convert’s Ivanno Jeremiah

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Ivanno Jeremiah in The Convert. Photo by Marc Brenner.

Ivanno Jeremiah plays Chancellor in The Convert which is currently running at the Young Vic until 26 Jan. We’ve posed him 11 Questions to find out more about him and his character: 

1. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?  

Something physical for example a workout or yoga. Then I would hide in a dark, quiet spot for a bit.

2. What was it that first got you interested in theatre?

Storytelling.

3. Can you describe your character in The Convert in three words?

Struggle, Lover and a man of faith.

4. What play or film have you seen recently that has had a lasting emotional effect on you and why?

I love what Charlie Brooker is doing with Black Mirror. The film Bird Box horrified me.

5. What language do you wish could speak? Or Do you speak any languages?

I speak fluent Acholi and currently working on my Shona. 

6. What’s your favourite midnight snack?

I like to eat anything and everything.

7. Who do you think must see this show before it ends its run?

The Obamas!

8. If your character had a catchphrase, what would it be?

Chancellor’s catch phrase would be “Savages” and “Comes, comes”.

9. What’s the most memorable moment from working at the Young Vic?

The family unit – working with all the cast and creatives as a team. 

10. Which country would you like to visit and why?

I would love to go to Zimbabwe to visit the ruins at Great Zimbabwe.

11. If you could be an animal for one day, which animal would you be?

A bird of pray because of the freedom.

The Convert is now playing at the Young Vic until January 26. Tickets are now sold out but returns may be available on the day of each performance. Speak to our Box Office for more information on 020 7922 2922. 

11 Questions with The Convert’s Rudolphe Mdlongwa

Rudolphe Mdlongwa in The Convert. Photo by Marc Brenner.

Rudolphe Mdlongwa plays the character of Tamba in The Convert which is currently running at the Young Vic until 26 Jan.

We’ve posed him 11 Questions to find out more about him and his character

1. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?  

I listen to music, stretch or play about to get me into a playful mood.

2. What was it that first got you interested in theatre?

Singing in the Rain, The Godfather which led to other influences. The need to live other parts of my life.

3. Can you describe your character in The Convert in three words?

He’s a Lover, Fighter and Guerilla freedom fighter.

4. What can the audience expect from this production that’s different to anything they may have seen before?

Don’t expect anything, just come in with an open mind.

5. What language do you wish could speak? Or Do you speak any languages?

Arabic.

6. What’s your favourite midnight snack?

Muesli.

7. Who do you think must see this show before it ends its run?

Anyone who still call Zimbabwe Rhodesia, and The Queen.

8. What play or film have you seen recently that has had a lasting emotional effect on you and why?

The Jungle.

9. What’s the most memorable moment from working at the Young Vic?

Standing on that stage.

10. Which country would you like to visit and why?

Zimbabwe – to learn more about my history and my people.

11. If you could be an animal for one day, which animal would you be?

A bird – flying would be amazing.

The Convert is now playing at the Young Vic until January 26. Tickets are now sold out but returns may be available on the day of each performance. Speak to our Box Office for more information on 020 7922 2922.

11 Questions with Melissa Allan from Twelfth Night

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Melissa Allan as Feste in Twelfth Night. Photo by Johan Persson.

Melissa Allan plays one of the lead characters in Kwame Kwei-Armah and Oskar Eustis’ Twelfth Night, as a forlorn but charming Feste – traditionally played as a fool, and now reinterpreted as a busker in modern-day Notting Hill.

We’ve posed her 11 Questions to find out more about her and her mysterious character –

1. Can you describe your character in Twelfth Night in three words?

Playful, charming and lonely.

2. What’s your favourite thing about working with Kwame and Oskar?

The love that was brought into the rehearsal room every single day and how safe they always made us feel.

3. What fictional family would you like to be a member of?

The Cullen family in Twilight.

4. What can the audience expect from this production that’s different to any other versions of Twelfth Night/ Shakespeare they may have seen before?

Shaina Taub’s score is awesome. It’s also an extremely accessible play and there are lots of little twists that are very different from other productions. Having the community chorus with us also makes this version really special.

5. What’s the strangest family tradition in your family?

My uncle gives me and my brother Brussels sprouts for our birthdays and Christmas every year. He’s a joker.

6. What is your favourite midnight snack?

Probably some dark chocolate!

7. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Backcombing my hair within an inch of its life.

8. Who is your ultimate hero and what would you say to them if you ever met them?

I know it’s very cheesy but mum and dad are definitely my ultimate heroes.

9. What was it that first got you interested in theatre?

I watched the movie version of Phantom of the Opera when I was about 12 and was obsessed. My mum and dad then took me to see it in London and I was beside myself.

10. What is your first memory of Shakespeare?

I think it would actually be watching the movie of Romeo and Juliet.

11. If your life were a movie, what genre would it be?

A Tim Burton movie.

 

Twelfth Night is now playing at the Young Vic until November 17. Tickets are sold out but returns may be available on the day of each performance. Speak to our Box Office for more information on 020 7922 2922.

11 Questions with Eleanor Kane | Fun Home

Eleanor Kane plays Medium Alison in our current Main House production Fun Home. These are her 11 Questions…

1. Can you describe your character in Fun Home in three words?

Brave, intuitive, hopeful.

2.  What’s your favourite thing about working with Sam Gold?

Providing a skeleton within which you have freedom to play and explore.

3. What can the audience expect from this production that’s different to anything else they are likely to have seen before?

A musical that is incredibly intelligent and delicate.

4. What invention do you think the world is lacking right now?

A PEACE MACHINE!

5. What is your favourite project you have worked on as an actor?

Fun Home!

6. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Lying on the floor, trying to focus on what lies ahead.

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Eleanor Kane as Medium Alison in Fun Home. Photo by Marc Brenner.

7. If you could travel anywhere in the universe, where would you go and why?
The top of Mount Everest so I could say I’ve been at the top of the world.

8. Who is your ultimate hero and what would you say to them if you ever met them?

No joke…it’s Aretha Franklin!! She’s always been my biggest inspiration. If I ever met her I’d just thank her for everything she’s helped me and so many others through by her art.

9. What was it that first got you interested in theatre?

Watched a production of David Greig’s Dunsinane and wanted to evoke that level of epic power on stage.

10. What is your favourite midnight snack?

Toast and hummus

11. If you could have been born in any era, which would it be and why?

The 60s, to live through the birth of rock’n’roll and major social change.

Fun Home runs until 1 Sept. Find out more about the production here. Tickets are sold out but you are welcome to queue for returns before each performance. 

Top image: Eleanor Kane and Cherrelle Skeete. Photo by Marc Brenner. 

11 Questions with the cast of The Jungle | Moein Ghobsheh

Moein Ghobsheh, also known as Milan among his friends, hails from Iran, and spent time living in the Calais “Jungle” before successfully making the boarder crossing to the UK. He plays the role of Omid in The Jungle and these are his 11 Questions…

1. Can you describe your character in The Jungle in three words?

Crazy, fighter, musical.

2.  What’s the most exciting thing about being part of this particular Young Vic production?

I really like it, because this is my story.

3. How do you think this show will make audiences feel?

I hope they will feel safe.

4. Did you do anything unusual to prepare for this role?

Well, I lived in the Calais “Jungle”.

5. What was it like working with Good Chance Theatre?

It’s been a good time working with Good Chance, both here and in the Calais “Jungle”.

6. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

I listen to music and tune my guitar.

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Back row: Mohammad Amiri, Mohamed Sarrar, Elham Ehsas, Moein Ghobsheh. Front Row: John Pfumojena. (Source: @FalsettoJohn ) 

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Anything Amy* says!

*Amy works for Good Chance and met Moein in Calais

8. Who is your ultimate hero and what would you say to them if you ever met them?

My Dad.

9. What is your favourite play (that you’ve seen / read / worked on)?

This is actually my first real experience of theatre, although I suppose I did see some in Calais.

10. What is the last thing that made you laugh out loud.

Years ago, back home in Iran – my friends would make me really laugh out loud.

11. Confession time. This is a safe space: tell us something that you’ve never told anyone before.

I’m in love!

The Jungle runs until 9 Jan. Find out more about the production here. Tickets are sold out but you are welcome to queue for returns before each performance. 

Top image: Mohamed Sarrar, Ben Turner, Moein Ghobsheh, Elham Ehsas. Photo by David Sandison. 

11 Questions with the cast of The Jungle | Mohamed Sarrar

We sat down with Mohamed Sarrar who plays Omar in  The Jungle here at the Young Vic. Mohamed, who is originally from Sudan, came through the Calais “Jungle” before successfully making the crossing to the UK. A drummer and singer, he took part in Good Chance Theatre’s programme while there and since coming to the UK has performed in The Welcoming Party at Manchester International Festival and Borderline at the Brighton fringe.

1. Can you describe your character in The Jungle in three words?

Musical, energetic, soulful.

2.  What’s the most exciting thing about being part of this particular Young Vic production?

Being on the Young Vic stage and being able to tell people about the refugee crisis.

3. How do you think this show will make audiences feel?

Hopefully audiences will feel closer to the crisis – and be inspired to help in their own small way.

4. Did you do anything unusual to prepare for this role?

I spent time in the Jungle camp so I didn’t need to prepare as I’d already lived there!

5. What was it like working with Good Chance Theatre?

I have always loved working with Good Chance Theatre, since the first time I found them. They treat refugees as humans. It’s an honour for me to work with them.

6. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Having a chat with the other performers and doing some humming as a vocal warm up.

Ammar Haj Ahmad (Safi) and Nahel Tzegai (Helene) in The Jungle at the Young Vic © Leon Puplett.jpg

Ammar Haj Ahmad (Safi) and Nahel Tzegai (Helene) in The Jungle at the Young Vic © Leon Puplett.

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Not to lose touch with anyone who was kind to you.

8. Who is your ultimate hero and what would you say to them if you ever met them?

I don’t have a specific one!

9. What is your favourite play (that you’ve seen / read / worked on)?

It’s actually a play I saw at the Young Vic – A Man of Good Hope.

10. What is the last thing that made you laugh out loud.

This really funny Arabic joke about a pen – I can’t tell you it.

11. Confession time. This is a safe space: tell us something that you’ve never told anyone before.

Back home in Sudan, I fell in love with my Chemistry teacher, so I deliberately left the answers blank on my exam so my family would get me tutoring with her. If my dad found out he’d be very angry!

The Jungle runs until 9 Jan. Find out more about the production here. Tickets are sold out but you are welcome to queue for returns on the day. 

11 Questions with the cast of The Jungle | Elham Ehsas

We sat down with Elham Ehsas who plays Muzamil (Maz) in critically acclaimed The Jungle here at the Young Vic. Elham, who is originally from Afghanistan, moved to the UK aged 10 with his family and is one of a truly global cast of actors, including many from refugee backgrounds, some of whom came through the Calais “Jungle” itself.

1. Can you describe your character in The Jungle in three words?

Brave, short-tempered, funny.

2. What’s the most exciting thing about being part of this particular Young Vic production?

The range of actors involved and their backgrounds.

3. How do you think this show will make audiences feel?

I think it will make audiences more aware of what’s happening in their own back gardens.

4. Did you do anything unusual to prepare for this role?

I went to the Calais “Jungle” a few times.

5. What was it like working with Good Chance Theatre?

Really good!

6. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Practicing the harmonica.

7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

“When going through hell, keep going.”

8. Who is your ultimate hero and what would you say to them if you ever met them? 

Elon Musk. I’d say – “How’s it going?”

9. What’s your favourite play that you’ve ever seen/read/worked on?

Skellig! I watched it on a school trip when I was really young and had just moved to England and could barely speak English – it was amazing.

10. What is the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

Milan (Moein Ghobsheh who plays Omid) has a line in the play where he says “Iran will resist too!” and the way he says it always makes me laugh so much.

11. Confession time. This is a safe space: tell us something you’ve never told anyone before. 

In Afghanistan, when I was small, I loved the smell of soil when it gets wet (I think there’s a name for this…*), and I always wanted to taste it. So I’d lick the walls (which are made out of mud) to try and get that taste!

The Jungle runs until 9 Jan. Find out more about the production here. Tickets are sold out but you are welcome to queue for returns on the day. 

* Editor’s note: Petrichor (/ˈpɛtrɪkɔːr/) is the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil. The word is constructed from Greek πέτρα petra, meaning “stone”, and ἰχώρ īchōr, the fluid that flows in the veins of the gods in Greek mythology.

11 Questions with the Vocal Coach of The Suppliant Women | Mary King

The “outstanding” (★★★★★ The Telegraph) The Suppliant Women has received wide-spread critical acclaim, not least for the power of the “choral power unleashed” (★★★★★ Whatsonstage) from the chorus of 27 young women recruited from local communities of South London who sing and dance their way through Aeschylus’ 2500 year old text. It seems fitting, therefore, that Mary King – Vocal Coach to finest of London’s musical theatre and opera stars, and who has coached these young women since their recruitment in September – should be in the hot seat for our 11 Questions today:

1. Can you describe your job in three words?

Fascinating, energising, varied!

2. What’s it like working with a community chorus of 50+ ?

All of the above (Answer 1) – stimulating and never dull

3. What was it that first got you interested in singing/music?

Been interested my whole life, but remember being absolutely awestruck by hearing Kathleen Ferrier on a recording singing Blow the wind Southerly – I must have been about 8, and I’d never heard anything like it

4. If you could have one super power, what would it be and why?

My super power would be the ability to get on a magic carpet at the end of a rehearsal / day’s work, and to be home in seconds…..(and a bonus if it could also be used for getting to work, or even making trips to seaside / countryside / parks and gardens…)

5. What are you usually doing 10 minutes before the show begins?

Either doing a vocal warm up with the cast, or sipping a dry white in the bar…

6. What is your favourite show you’ve seen, read or worked on?

Too many to mention, so it would change every day of the week – Bernstein’s Mass in 2010 was pretty amazing!

7. What’s the best thing about teaching?

Seeing / hearing people develop over a rehearsal period, and accomplish things which are a) amazing and b) that they didn’t necessarily know they could…

8. How do you think this show will make audiences feel?

Hopefully it will be thought provoking; touching and exciting

9. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

Stick in there… never give up

10. Who is your ultimate hero, and what would you say to them if you could meet them?

Not sure I have an ultimate hero / heroine… I met Bobby McFerrin once, (who would be on my list, if I had one) and could only mumble…

11. Confession time. This is a safe space: tell us something you’ve never told anyone before

I cannot change my new light bulbs….