The live reenactment of The Passion of Jesus will be performed in Trafalgar Square, London this Good Friday 14 April (12 noon and 3:15pm) and Easter Saturday 15 April on Guildford High Street (12 noon and 2:30 pm).
Actor, David Olawale Ayinde will reprise his role as Thaddaeus. We caught up with him to find out more…
1# Tell us about this production of The Passion of Jesus?
The Passion of Jesus is returning for the 8th year; it has become a regular fixture of the Easter Weekend and it attracts thousands of spectators. The play is about the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ and is staged outdoors in London’s Trafalgar Square by Wintershall Players. There are two 90-minute live performances with over 100 actors and volunteers involved in the production. The event is also supported by the Mayor of London.
2# Which character do you play and how did you get the role?
I am reprising my role as Thaddaeus, one of Jesus Christ’s 12 Disciples. I got the role in May, 2016 when I turned up at Wintershall for a pre-read for The Life of Christ which was performed in June 2016. The director was impressed and gave me the part of, Balthazar and later asked me to also play, Thaddaeus .
3# Where are you rehearsing and what’s it like performing outside of a set?
I am rehearsing at the Rehearsal and Holly Barn which is on the Wintershall Estate, Guildford which is an open-air space with stunning countryside scenery. This is also where we performed The Life of Christ in 2016. I am looking forward to the day. It is a great experience performing in an open-space set with thousands of people watching. I also think it is no different to one performing to an audience at the National or Almeida Theatres. As an actor, if you can perform to an audience in open-space, be in ‘character’, and ‘stay in character’ , ‘take the audience on a journey’ with you; you will be able to act anywhere. This is why I think the actors at Wintershall are very good.
4# What are the things you have to be most conscious of when performing in an open-space?
What I have to be conscious about when performing in an open-space, is that I don’t (or any members of the cast) injure anyone or get injured while performing. Another thing, is that the spectators or audience can see and hear the actors audibly.
5# Why was this role important, are you religious yourself if so is it important / a relief to partake in a production which speaks to your faith? If you’re not religious is there any conflict partaking a production which speaks a practice you maybe don’t agree with or relate to, if so how do you overcome this?
This role is important to me because I love to act. I am a born again-Christian; so taking on the role of Thaddaeus (The Passion of Jesus) and Balthazar (The Life of Jesus Christ) was special. These things helped me not only to treat the characters I was playing in a reverend way, but to also get into method acting, which helps to bring out those sincere and emotional expressions when an actor taps into the character to bring it to the forefront.
6# Tell us a bit about your career and how you got into acting?
Before I got into acting, I used to work for the Civil Service as an administrator. When the government decided to make changes to the organisation, I left to pursue my acting ambitions. In 2002, I registered with some talent agents that put me forward for Film, TV, and Commercials. In 2004, I took a 3 year evening acting course, at Rose Bruford Theatre College. After Drama School, I registered with professional acting organisations, such as Spotlight (in the UK) and Actors Access (in America) and IMDB. I have been blessed, and it has been a pleasure to have been able to have worked alongside the likes of actors such as: Adrian Lester, Liam Neeson, Rachel Weiz, and James Burke-Dunsmore.
7# You’ve worked in America, what was that experience like, what’s to come of the pilot you auditioned for?
I have been in Los Angeles for Pilot Season where I have met and auditioned in front of casting directors. It was a good experience. They love British actors out there. It is definitely a bigger market in terms of getting lead, supporting, guest-star, and co-star roles. I also believe that it is a place where more Black and Asian British actors can tap into if they are more resourceful in their search for acting work. The pilot for, Killer Instinct that I recently auditioned for in Los Angeles has been picked up by the CBS Channel in America. I have contacted the casting director about future roles on the show if I am not selected for the pilot.
8# What do you think of the debate currently happening regarding British Black actors vs. African American actors?
It is an interesting topic. However, it is a shame that we are having this debate amongst ourselves when we should be celebrating one another’s success. Anytime I see a British Black actor or an African American actor land a role, or win a major award I am always happy and rejoicing in my heart for that person. When I saw the article online, I was disappointed but did not let it faze me. I went through something similar 5 years ago where I met up with a ‘brother’ in America. He felt threatened, and although he was in the position to help, instead he was scaremongering me. As Black British and African American actors we are going through enough already with how Hollywood is treating us. We don’t need a ‘stupid ass conflict’ with our fellow ‘African American brothers’ as John Boyega put it.
9# If you weren’t performing this Easter, how do you usually spend Easter?
I would be in church and visiting relatives and friends.
10# What’s next for you?
My agent is putting me for various roles in America while I am processing my Green Card Working Visa. I will be back in America in October for Episodic Season.
The live reenactment of The Passion of Jesus will be performed in Trafalgar Square, London this Good Friday 14 April (12 noon and 3:15pm) and Easter Saturday 15 April on Guildford High Street (12 noon and 2:30 pm). Find out more here.