With his most recent production being West End’s Caroline, Or Change, Jeremiah Waysome can now be seen on stage at the Ambassadors Theatre in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole the Musical after being cast in the role of Nigel. Jeremiah has had many West End performances such as Young Lola in Kinky Boots and School of Rock last year, with his professional acting debut on an international theatre tour at the age of eight. Answering our questions, Jeremiah says more about playing Young Lola, performing on a West End stage and preparing for the role of Nigel in Adrian Mole the Musical.
How does it feel being cast in the West End production of The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole the Musical?
It feels amazing! It’s incredibly funny and it takes you on an emotional journey that everyone can relate to. I love everything about it and I’m really enjoying working with everyone. It’s such a fantastic production!
Had you seen the previous run at Menier Chocolate Factory and if not, what did you know about the production beforehand?
No, unfortunately I didn’t get to see it but I knew it had received lots of really good reviews.
Was there anything in particular that drew you to audition for the show?
Well, I really wanted to be in one more musical before I got too tall and my voice broke so my DMA acting coach, Dominique (Dominique Moore Arts) and I put together a three-month plan where we set goals and how to work towards achieving them so when the audition came through I was excited and determined to get a part especially as I’m at the start of my adolescent years and I felt like I could really relate and connect with the characters. I felt like there weren’t as many opportunities out there now that I’m older and taller so I was absolutely over the moon when I was offered a part.
Have you worked with any of the cast or crew in previous roles?
Yes, I recently worked with Aaron Gelkoff in the West End transfer of Caroline, Or Change which closed in March and I also worked with Jack Gale in School of Rock the Musical last year. We got on so well together and I’m really looking forward to sharing a new journey with them both as well as working with and getting to know the rest of the cast and crew.
What’s it like being directed by Luke Sheppard and have you seen any of his past work?
I am really enjoying working with Luke. He is incredibly creative, fun and just amazing. He is also serious and professional and I have learnt a lot from him in just a few weeks. He doesn’t have any favourites and treats us all equally which brings us together like a family. Luke was the Associate Director for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical which I saw a few years ago and loved. I feel honoured to work with him.
You are playing the role of Nigel, what’s it like getting into character?
I love getting into the character of Nigel because his personality is very similar to mine as we are both loud. I would say I am confident but I am not as overly confident and as outgoing as Nigel is. I’ve learnt amazing techniques through training at DMA that help in any role I play. It’s so much fun playing Nigel because I get to be a 10x bigger, funnier, louder and cheekier version of me. I love all of the songs Nigel sings and training at Sylvia Young Theatre School has really helped me improve my singing and vocal range.
How are you finding learning the script and choreography?
I have enjoyed learning the script and choreography and haven’t found them difficult. Even though I like to dance, I wouldn’t say it’s my strongest discipline but dancing different styles twice a week at Sylvia Young Theatre School has improved my general dancing and technique a lot.
Before I received the script, I read the book, the play and watched a few episodes of the series as part of my research and when I got the script I read it over and over again so I’m familiar. It would usually be the last thing I read before going to bed and I always have another read through when I’m having my breakfast. I find reading over my notes and using different coloured highlighters for my lines, stage directions and singing lines really helpful and I always use the same wall to perform to when I’m rehearsing in my bedroom. These are things I have learnt since receiving coaching at DMA and having been awarded a scholarship has really stretched my skills making a better performer which I am truly grateful for.
What was your first professional acting role and what drew you to the industry?
My first professional acting role was when I played Young Simba in The Lion King Zebra Tour in Basel, Switzerland when I was eight years old. I had no idea what it was going to be like but I loved how fun Simba’s character was. I remember having the best feeling of excitement every time I performed. It was sad when the tour ended but I knew I wanted to continue acting and pursue a professional career in the industry.
Can you say about the experience playing Young Lola in Kinky Boots and did you perform at any live events during your time in the show?
I had such a good time being in Kinky Boots, Young Lola is only seen in the beginning but he sets up the story for the big journey ahead for when we see the adult Lola and learn about his story. It was my first time wearing high heels so I had to get used to standing, skipping and dancing in them very early on. My mum doesn’t really wear high heels so I couldn’t practice wearing hers but fortunately, I was able to take my show shoes home. Let’s just say it wasn’t easy at first. Matt Henry who played Lola was truly amazing and I found the Angels inspiring too. They made dancing in stilettos look so easy!
I didn’t get to take part in any live events during my run but I really enjoyed working on the show. The chaperones, cast and crew were so welcoming; I couldn’t say no when I was offered a contract extension. I still keep in touch with the other Young Lolas and Young Charlies from my first contact and our parents try to arrange dates for us to meet up. We all went back to watch the final show in January. It was very special for us.
What do you feel you learnt from appearing in Caroline, Or Change and how was the run?
I learnt a lot about American history in the 1960s and the message of change is explored throughout the show in many clever ways. It was a different experience for me being in a show with very few lines as most of the dialogue was mainly sung but it meant that I was always singing practically the whole show whenever I rehearsed at home. It was my first time working with a double revolving stage which was a bit difficult to dance on at first but when it all came together it looked so cool. It was such a great show to be a part of and Sharon D. Clarke and the rest of the cast were absolutely phenomenal!
You’ve also had screen experience, what do you enjoy about this work?
Screen is very different to stage and I enjoy them both equally. I like to really nail a performance and what I love about working on screen is that you can perfect your performance because you have a chance to retake a few times. As filming isn’t shot in chronological order it’s always an exciting surprise to see the final edit especially if special effects have been added.
What do you find most rewarding performing on a West End stage?
Performing on a West End stage is just incredible! The set, lighting and sound make me feel like I’m in a different world and I love that I can draw the audience into the characters’ world. Receiving an immediate response like clapping, laughing or cheering from the audience is just a great feeling and it makes me feel like we’re doing a good job keeping the audience engaged and entertained.
Book to see ADRIAN MOLE THE MUSICAL at Ambassadors Theatre until 12th October 2019 www.adrianmolethemusical.com (child cast vary on performances)
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