Actress Jade Anouka has carved a solid career on stage, appearing in noted productions like The Donmar Warehouse’s Shakespeare Trilogy at Kings Cross, Chef (Soho Theatre/Edinburgh Festival), Love’s Labour’s Lost (Shakespeare’s Globe/US tour).
She also has worked on screen appearing in cult comedy Chewing Gum, and regular appearances in the BBC’s Shakespeare Uncovered, Doctor Who and Law & Order.
Making a return to the stage, Anouka will perform in new play Cover My Tracks currently showing at the Old Vic Theatre. #TBB10 caught up with her to find out more …
1# How long have you been a performer – is that how you describe yourself or are you an Actor specific – how best do you describe your talents?
I would probably say actor… Or artist. I think performer suggests I just do what someone tells me. I’d like to think I work in a more collaborative way; offer ideas and help with the creation of a piece. Artist also incorporates other aspects of what I do: writing, singing, maybe even the odd dance!
2# Name the who or what inspired you to become who you are in this industry…
Many people along the way have kept me going and inspired me to go further – Mrs Brookes my secondary school drama teacher helped me find a love for it, Miss Ford my drama teacher at Christ the King encouraged me and got me to do NYT [National Youth Theatre] where I learnt a career in acting was a thing that existed, Hilary Strong who used to run Greenwich theatre and gave me my first professional theatre job. All the brilliant Actors and directors I have had the absolute pleasure of working with and learning from – Phyllida Lloyd, Josette Bushell-Mingo, Dominic Dromgoole, Jenny Jules, Penny Downie, Martina Laird, Harriet Walter, Jason Pennycooke, Emma Pallant, Georgina Rich, Paterson Joseph the list goes on and on. They all have a hand in the actor I am today.
3# Tell about us this latest production, Cover My Tracks…
It’s a wonderful story about a songwriter who disappears and his friend who goes on a journey to find him. It’s written by David Grieg and Charlie Fink has written the songs which also help tell the story. Charlie and I perform together on stage, there’s music, there’s words, it’s storytelling in its purest form.
4# What was it about the script that made you say yes?
I read a very early version of some of the script and fell in love with it. It’s changed a lot since then but I think David is brilliant. I was immediately drawn to the writing. It’s a great story and one you’ve not heard before.
5# Tell us a bit about your character and how you found her / got in touch with who she is?
I was lucky enough to be brought in to the project quite early on. We (Charlie, David, Max and myself) did a few days R&D before rehearsals. There was a lot of tweaking and rewrites from that. It felt like the story and the characters have been formed not only with what David had in his head, but with myself and Charlie in mind. The story begins with my character attending the funeral of Charlie’s character but there’s no body and although everyone else has agreed where and when he died, my character (his closest friend/lover) knows otherwise. The play is the journey of her finding him.
6# Your character sings in this production, was this difficult for you? Are you a natural singer?
I love singing. I wouldn’t class myself as a singer per se. I know a lot of people who can saaaaang and I’m definitely not that, but I enjoy it and I’ve somehow done a lot of it in plays. I’m not a trained voice so I need to work with musicians who are sympathetic to my voice and range. Charlie is that guy, so I have a lot of fun singing in this.
7# Did you know much of Charlie Fink and his music before getting involved, and what about his music resonates with you?
No I didn’t (Don’t tell him). I’d heard of Noah and the Whale but I didn’t really know who he was. I really love the storytelling in his songs. I’m an actor so I love a story and his songs all tell beautiful stories.
8# Would Cover My Tracks be defined as a musical and how does this production differ from any you’ve been involved with before?
It is not a musical. I repeat Cover My Tracks is not a musical! I think musical theatre lovers will enjoy it though, in that, you get the story told through song and through speaking. I’ve done theatre with songs/music before or gig theatre but this is like nothing I’ve done before. Like nothing I’ve seen before.
9# After Cover My Tracks what’s in the pipeline for you?
I’m shooting a 3-part drama for ITV called ‘Trauma’. It’s very exciting. The cast is led by Adrian Lester and John Simm so I’m keeping pretty good company!
10# Cover My Tracks has a double meaning, so… tell us a time you’ve had to cover your tracks, and also give a song you’d love to cover and release…
Good question! Hmmm I love London. I’m born and bred. But sometimes I have to get out – even if it’s just a Sunday in the countryside. I like to cover my tracks, turn off my phone and make sure the real world can’t find me. Song I’d like to cover and release? Donnell Jones and Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes, U Know What’s Up. In fact, any song that Left Eye has ever featured on ever…. or a 5ive song. I know all the words to all of them and I’m not even ashamed of that.
Cover My Tracks is currently showing at The Old Vic Theatre until Saturday 17th June 2017. Find out more and book tickets here.
Keep up to date with Jade Anouka via her website here.