Can you tell us about your character in Trying? How did you relate to her on a personal level?
Nikki absolutely has a special spot in my heart. She’s warm, funny, says immediately what comes into her head, throws herself into a task in hand even when it’s not necessarily well thought through – she’ll think about it later and then worry a lot about it later, but namely she’s just trying to figure out what it means to ‘grow up’ and navigate the complexity of being in your thirties. There was so much about her that I related to and recognised, even from the first read, but I think what struck me most was that all too familiar feeling of – how has everyone else got it all sorted out whilst I’m sat here with a huge question mark floating above my head? It felt comforting to read how Andy (the writer) saw Nikki, it suggested that maybe I’m not the only one that feels this way.
She seems a character written especially for you. Would you say that maybe some parts of you ended up there on the screen?
I think there’s definitely a bit of me in Nikki. There are so many things Nikki says that I absolutely could imagine myself saying, even how Nikki expresses phrases. I think the difference is though, I’ve maybe got a slightly better filter and I know when to keep things in my head – Nikki will just say them. Although, saying that, it’s a bit of a fine line. And I absolutely match Nikki on her levels of worry.
Also your on-screen chemistry with Rafe Spall is phenomenal. What was your relationship offscreen like?
He just really makes me laugh on and off screen, which is so lovely, the job is very full on so it would be an absolute nightmare if we didn’t get on. We have similar sensibilities when it comes to work and share a similar sense of humour – he’s just a bit bloody brilliant at it all isn’t he? Which inevitably makes the job easier. A real joy to work with him.
Season 2 will air on the 14th May, what can viewers expect to see?
Season 2 continues Nikki and Jason’s journey to find their kid, after they’ve been approved by panel from season 1. It’s not an easy road, with many painful bumps and obstacles in their way to try and get what they so desperately want, there’s competition from other parents looking to adopt etc. We also dig deeper into the world of some of the other characters to see how they’re navigating their own struggles. I’m really excited for people to see these stories unfold.
Fairview must have been a real intense piece to be part of?
I can’t believe I got to be part of ‘Fairview’ – such an exciting and essential piece of theatre. It was very intense and every night brought it’s own story because of the style of the piece. I learned a lot, and continue to learn a lot from it. I feel grateful to have been part of a piece of theatre that challenged it’s audience to take a bit of a look at themselves and their relationship with race, exposing some uncomfortable truths. It was a thrill to see that manifest nightly. It was at times intense and on the odd occasion scary – but the team we had around us were incredibly supportive and the cast just absolutely phenomenal. We’d all get together right at the end of show (because there was no curtain call) while audience members were still in the theatre, to check in with each other and have a big group hug. It’s rare to feel like you’re part of something that is provoking a change, or at least boldly and proudly making a statement. I really felt that with this job. It would be great to see this piece of theatre have another life, and then another and then another.
How did you feel becoming part of the Harry Potter universe when you were cast in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
Harry Potter. again, another job where the experience was completely unique. Firstly you’re part of this huge universe that’s very well established and loved world wide, so inevitably that carried with it a lot of weight and expectation. So there was a lot of responsibility to look after this next story, especially because it was being expressed through a different medium. I was a bit terrified to be honest. The response on the first preview was electric though, and that just carried on night after night. I felt incredibly humbled to have helped create that world for the stage. It was also a lot of people’s first experience of seeing a play, I found that incredibly humbling too. An absolute nightmare though to keep my mouth shut and not tell anyone I was a part of it.
Can you anticipate any plans for the future? Any potential foray into writing or directing?
My plans for the future are to continue working on unique and interesting projects, things that inspire me. I’m writing and developing my own bits and pieces too and I’m really enjoying using that part of my brain. It’s what I’ve tried to occupy my time with during lockdown.
How has lockdown and the past year been for you and what, if anything, do you think you’ve learned from the experience?
This last year is still something I’m trying to get my head around. There’s been a huge amount of change that we’ve all had to adapt to on different levels. Inevitably it’s made me see life differently. A lot of pausing, a lot of slowing down and a lot of reflecting. I was thankful that I got to work through some of the year, filming series 2 of Trying, and apart from the obvious measures that needed to be put in place to make the environment safe and secure, it felt like a nice bit of ‘normality’. I think a big take away from this year is that we’re far less in control than we like to think we are.
Interview by Lorenza Calamandrei
Photography by Andrea Vecchiato
Beauty by Justine Jenkins, using Murad Skin Care UK.
Hair by Rebecca Richards , using Living Proof UK.
Styling by Holly Elgeti.