BAFTA Award-winning film director Joe Wright (Atonement, Pride and Prejudice) returns to the Young Vic after his celebrated production of A Season in the Congo, with Life of Galileo.

Life of Galileo tells the story of Galileo (Brendan Cowell) who makes an explosive discovery about the universe with his new invention – the telescope.

Alongside Ayesha Antoine (Dirty Great Love Story; The Suicide; Red Velvet) and Jason Barnett (Prime Time; Emil and the Detectives; Warhorse; Mogadishu), Anjana Vasan will be making her Young Vic debut in the play.

#TBB10 caught up with Anjan to discuss her career and latest role… 

1# Introduce yourself …  

I’m Singaporean but I was born in India to Tamil parents. Our family moved to Singapore when I was 4. I moved to the UK when I got into drama school here.

2# How long have you been acting?

Since 2012, when I graduated from Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama and moved to London.

3# Name the thing / person who inspired you to get into acting …

I can’t name a defining moment or single person. I do have vivid memories of running home from school to watch reruns of, I love Lucy. I also obsessively watched The Sound of Music on VHS till the tape spoilt. So maybe Lucille Ball and Julie Andrews had something to do with it!

4# What was your first casting, what did it mean to you, and how was your performance received? 

My first professional acting job was actually in Singapore. It was a production of Ionesco’s Rhinoceros and I was still in University when I got the gig. I put too much pressure on myself and I spent the entire rehearsal period being quietly terrified and overwhelmed. I second guessed all my instincts and let my nerves get the better of me. I got one mention in a review that was negative and that really hurt. However, I’m grateful for that experience. It also pushed me to professionally train, which was the best decision I could have made for myself.  If I ever get the chance though, I’d like another go at that play.

5# Tell us about Life of Galileo

It’s Brecht’s masterpiece. As much as it is a play about Galileo and the struggle between science and religious dogma in the 17th century, it very much speaks of the times we live in now. It’s scarily prescient. I don’t want to give too much away about our version, but it’s certainly going to dust a few cobwebs away from a play that’s more than 80 years old.

Joshua James and Anjana Vasan in Life of Galileo. Photo by Johan Persson

6# Tell us about your character and how she fits into the world of this play?

I play Galileo’s daughter Virginia, but Brecht’s take differs in many ways from what happened to Galileo’s real life daughter. I find her relationship with her father in the play fascinating. She’s a figure who associates herself strongly with the Church and her Faith, which further complicates her relationship with her father.

7# What was it about your character that made you say yes, and how does this character compare to other characters you’ve played – was it challenging?

Virginia goes through quite a journey and the play charts it very delicately and beautifully. Brecht’s characters are always making surprising and contradictory choices, which make them interesting to play. I also really wanted to work with Joe Wright who is inspiring, fun and a visionary.

8# What’s it like working in the space at Young Vic, how does it compare to other theatres you’ve worked at?

I’ve always wanted to work at the Young Vic. I think it might be my favourite theatre. The programming is always bold, risky and exciting. The audience is diverse and the space is effortlessly cool.

9# What do you hope audiences take away from this production? 

I hope they never look up at the night sky with indifference, but with a renewed sense of wonder and curiosity.

10# What’s next for you?

I’ll be at the Globe this summer, playing Cordelia in King Lear. I loved being at the Globe last year and I’m so excited to be coming back.

Life of Galileo runs at the Young Vic theatre 15 May 2017 – 1 Jul 2017. Find out more and book tickets here.