Rosie Jane, an Actress recently thrust into the Whoverse (that's Doctor Who to the uninitiated), chats to us about joining the hit series, her time at the East 15 Acting School, the importance of networking - and meeting a certain festival director who needs better jokes.
Hello, Rosie! Thank you for taking the time to speak to us today, 'time' being something you must know a lot more about about since joining Doctor Who! Before I ask you about your experience there however, can you tell us where you’re from and what brought you to acting in the first place?
Hey Mark, my pleasure! Can’t make time, but sure can navigate through it! Let me take you back 10 years... picture a 13 year old Rosie, pig tails, goofing around... absolutely nothing has changed. I was born and raised in Bristol and came to the big city over a year ago.
I had two amazing drama teachers in my secondary school. They encouraged me to do the school plays and I was cast as the feisty Nancy in Oliver! and Crystal in Little Shop of Horrors. I was never hugely academic - although I loved English, Science and Geography - BUT when it came to DRAMA... I could happily dress up and pretend to be someone else for hours! I don’t think I was 100% sure I wanted to be an actress then, but it’s clear that my love for telling stories came from the love of doing these shows and drama GCSE. Throughout my education I kept going back to performance and storytelling then finally it all clicked and I needed to do something about it, hence East 15!
You studied Drama and English at the University of Bristol before moving to the East 15 Acting School in Essex. How did you find drama school, East 15, and is there any advice you’d offer new actors coming through?
It really was a truly amazing experience that I’ll hold dear to my heart for the rest of my life. I knew it was the right place for me as soon as I walked through the gates.
For those thinking of going to drama school, or who are currently applying, don’t be afraid to take the leap! Even if you’re not thinking about going to drama school and have chosen a different way of doing things - don’t do it halfheartedly and don’t be afraid to fail! Just do it. It is tough, so just be prepared to fail in order to succeed
You didn’t have to wait too long for a role in the phenomenon that is Doctor Who, playing the mother of character Bill Pott’s, played by Pearl Mackie. How did you come to join the cast?
I was still in drama school when someone in the production suggested me for the role. Drama schools can sometimes be a little strict when it comes to doing professional work during the course. I think it’s because training is so intensive you could miss out on a lot! However the course leader, Andrea Brooks, was hugely supportive of me during this time.
Becoming part of such a beloved canon of work, has understandably resulted in attention from fans and even attending film & TV conventions. What’s that experience been like?
I had no idea about conventions before doing the show. Just after Episode 8, The Lie of The Land, was aired I was invited to Swindon Comic Con by a good friend, actor and director Doug Kirby. Since then, I’ve had the amazing opportunity of traveling to places I always wanted to visit but never had the chance to. It’s been crazy! I did my first panel at Film & Comic Con Bournemouth actually for Doctor Who. I was a little nervous but I had the wonderful actress Debbie Chazen and Joseph Long on stage with me. And the audience was super lovely! I’m also a fan of sci-fi so it’s nice to talk with people with similar interests!
At my most recent event, a lovely lady called Gill knitted me a pair of cozy Tardis socks! She also knitted John Barrowman a pair!
Those are amazing! Assuming you're not also a big knitter, how do you like to keep yourself busy in between jobs?
I go to the theatre at least once a week. I find it so important to support others in their process. And I’m always taking away ideas and concepts that I can think about in my own personal time or apply to my own craft! I enjoy drawing and painting, skills that I re-discovered during my training actually!
Do you go to many filmmaker/networking events, where you might meet people with hilariously awkward stories about introducing themselves to others? (Cough). Is networking something you think is important to do?
Funny you should say that... I did meet this one writer and festival director, who tried to joke about his name being Mark, 'like the skid', but I heard he had the wrong audience - haha!
(You had to be there, readers. Probably best you weren't).
I have only been to a few events in London and so far I don’t think I’ve done or said anything too embarrassing - there might be others out there who disagree with me though! I think it’s really important to network when you’re a creative. That's why it's great to attend those hosted by creatives, such as actor Toby Osmond and filmmaker David Wilkinson - which is where we met! Having said that, networking doesn’t have to be at a specific event. You can do it anywhere. I’m a people person and get inspired by others and their projects. I love meeting new people and hearing about their passions. I can’t wait to attend Exit 6 in September and see some work!
And we can't wait to see you! In the meantime, what kind of projects are you keen to be part of next, and do you have any lined up? Do you watch many short films and are they something you’d consider getting involved with?
I studied Gothic literature whilst at university so I have a taste for horror, fantasy, sci-fi and just generally the weird and wonderful. I would love to get involved in a spooky project, play a Van Helsing of sorts! Or go back in time… And do a period piece! I watched a short the other day called Cautionary Tales by Chris Barrett and Luke Taylor, which was about these adults who got strange disfigurements due to things they did when they were younger. It also had some beautiful illustrations that went with it for each character in the film - just like a children’s fairy tale! It was awesome, funny and sweet.
A friend of mine who’s a director and choreographer, Sally Whippman has asked me to produce her show later on this year too! I had a go at it when I toured my own show after I finished drama school but I was obviously acting, directing and producing. I think it’s a great experience to see what other roles get up to in the industry. Makes you appreciate everyone involved in the industry.
And lastly, we have to ask - who’s your favourite Doctor?
Capaldi :) Closely followed by Tennant. For me, they both brought huge amounts of energy to the screen in different ways. I think everyone will always love their doctor, but he is super lovely, as are Pearl Mackie and Matt Lucas.
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