Joe Ashman joins the line-up of Lambert Jackson’s New Year, New Favourites at The Other Palace with his first solo concert on Tuesday 21st January 2020 where he’ll be performing a range of songs from pop and musical theatre, and has recently filmed for upcoming TV series Get Even for BBC/Netflix. For his first regular role, Joe was cast as Callum in Series 2 of Free Rein and continued in the show for their third series released in July this year. We spoke to Joe about being cast in Free Rein, appearing in short film The Manor and his upcoming concert with Lambert Jackson.
What is Callum like to play in Free Rein and how would you describe him?
Callum was so much fun to play. Every scene I just get to be mischievous, stir the pot and cause drama, it’s great! Occasionally Callum’s conscience will kick in though, and we’ll see a softer side to him. He’s got a pretty big ego and likes to be the centre of attention, so it’s been really varied from day to day.
How did it feel joining the cast in Series 2 and how was it meeting them for the first time?
Everyone was lovely. When I was auditioning, I watched Series 1 and adored the show. I thought it was so warm, brilliantly written and shot, and something I so wanted to be a part of. Truth be told I was a little starstruck when I met everyone for the read-through…!
Do you remember how you felt when booking the role?
I went out with my dad to have a celebratory beer in the sunshine! It’s become a ritual that whenever I book a new job we celebrate with a pint. I was so happy, I may have even cried a little because I was so overwhelmed. It had been a really difficult first six months of the year, and that was the perfect start on a new path.
Free Rein is your first continuing role in a series, what have you enjoyed most about filming and what’s been the most challenging aspect?
I’ve enjoyed being on set every single day. I learnt so much from working with amazing people in each department. I love screen acting because you never get the same day twice. I also got taught how to horse ride! Without doubt, the hardest thing is the British weather. Pretending it’s warm when it’s actually -1°, you’re in a T-shirt and the tide is coming in too fast, making your ankle throb hahaha!
Is there anything you can say about filming for Get Even?
Get Even is a brand-new show which is a collaboration between BBC and Netflix. It’s been a total pleasure to film and I’m so excited to watch it in the new year. It was brilliant being part of an original, Series 1 cast.
Can you tell us about the short film you appeared in called The Manor?
The Manor was made with some friends of mine over four days in Bournemouth. It’s a WW2 action short film and we even won an RTSA for it. I’d never done any action before, so had to get some training on running with a gun, and getting shot etc. It was so different to anything I’d ever done and I completely loved it.
Another short film you’ve appeared in was released this year, can you say about Fine By Me?
Fine By Me was made by the same team as The Manor! We spent ten days in the freezing cold rain in the Lake District filming it. It was so tough but everyone chipped in and helped. I even did some sound recording on that film!
Can you tell us what Our House was like to be part of?
Our House is one of my favourite shows. I was brought up on the music of Madness and I saw Michael Jibson play Joe Casey when I was about nine and it made me want to be on stage. So, when the show rebooted in 2015, I knew I had to get a part in it! We had an awesome run in London and it was totally exhausting and brilliant.
How was your experience in Rent as Mark?
Rent, again, is one of my favourite shows. When I was unemployed, I used to deliver leaflets to continue to have an income. I’d always listen to the Rent soundtrack on my round, practising and planning how I’d play Mark. It was such a joy to play that part, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.
Can you tell us what the audience can expect from your upcoming New Year, New Favourites concert at The Other Palace?
This is a really new venture for me. I’ve never done anything like this and I’m very excited and nervous! I’m going to be accompanying myself on piano and guitar, and singing songs that have meant something to me in my life. To perform a solo concert in the West End is a pretty amazing thing to be offered, so I couldn’t turn down the opportunity. The line-up of acts is outstanding and I’m so chuffed to be part of it!
As this will be your first solo concert, what are you looking forward to for the evening?
I’m really looking forward to having a relationship with the audience. It’s going to be a really relaxed vibe and I have no doubt I will be making some awful dad jokes. It’s just my nature, I can’t help it! I’ll be doing a huge mix of pop and musical theatre through many decades, so I’m hoping there’ll be something for everyone.
Have you always had an interest in singing and what music do you enjoy listening to?
I’ve pretty much sung my whole life but I’m self-taught on piano and guitar. I don’t have a favourite genre of music as such, but I like when music takes me by surprise, be that an unexpected rhythm, or harmony or chord. I just love interesting music to the ear.
What led you to a screen and stage career?
To be honest, I never really wanted to be an actor when I was young. I always had a huge interest in football and I’m still waiting for a scout to offer me a trial at Man United… any offers? My first audition was for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in 2005. It was a huge open audition to play Jeremy. Not quite sure how, but I got it, and spent the next ten months flying around in a magical car. It was amazing and I never looked back since (unless I get that football call).
What upcoming career plans do you have apart from the concert with Lambert Jackson Productions?
I’m hoping to continue with screen work, I adore it, the attention to detail and how every day is different. On the flip of that, I’d really like to get back on stage. I haven’t done any live performances in years and I do miss it. Perhaps after the concert that’s an avenue I’ll start to re-explore. I’ve also spent some time back at my old school, Tring Park, recently working with the students, which has been such a pleasure.
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