📷 : Wolf Marloh
Starting in The Watsons at Chichester Festival Theatre as Bertie in 2018, Elander Moore reprised the role in the Menier Chocolate Factory transfer last year ahead of the West End run starting in May. After performing in Chichester, Elander joined the cast of Barber Shop Chronicles in the role of Ethan, and his first professional job since graduating from The Urdang Academy in 2016 was his West End debut in The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? at Theatre Royal Haymarket. We spoke to Elander about being in the cast of The Watsons, his time in Barber Shop Chronicles and training at Urdang.
How did you find your time at Chichester Festival Theatre in The Watsons?
Chichester is such a great venue to perform at, the way they nurture new work is really exciting and the staff from front of house to wigs and wardrobe were so welcoming. Off stage, the cast spent most of our time in this little pub called The Bell which is quite the spot! Many a game was played there for sure!
With the show transferring to the Menier Chocolate Factory, what’s the audience response been like to the London run?
Transferring The Watsons to the Menier was great, we worked so hard to bring Laura’s genius writing to life, so to have it go to London was really the icing on the cake. I’d say I’m more excited still for the upcoming West End transfer as I’m hoping we can reach a new audience demographic. I think the show is really going to fly when we put it in-front of a young, diverse audience and I hope we can work to attract new people to the theatre with this show. It definitely isn’t the bland Jane Austen it might first appear to be.
📷 : Manuel Harlan
How would you describe your character Bertie and what is he like to portray?
I play Captain Bertie Beresford in The Watsons, he is the officer of the militia guard and is always on the prowl for a young lady or two. He is so much fun to play and the costume is my favourite I’ve ever worn. He is a bit of a moron and doesn’t really have much on his mind other than copping off with the nearest eligible female. I’m also dance captain on the show so it’s my job to keep the cast feeling fit and healthy and keep the dance sections looking slick, I trained in musical theatre so it’s really great being able to move into the acting world and still utilise some of my dance skills.
Can you tell us about performing as Ethan in Barber Shop Chronicles?
Barber Shop Chronicles was such a special job for me! I first saw it at the National Theatre and it connected with me on a mad level, I’d never seen my own personal story present on stage like that before, so when the role came around and I got the chance to go in for it, I knew I had to get it. Ethan was literally me, watching it was like watching someone rip a page out of your life and place it on stage (a testament to Inua’s writing) so it really wasn’t hard to act or connect with the text, it felt natural.
📷 : Wolf Marloh
How did it feel graduating from The Urdang Academy and booking your first professional role?
I loved my time at The Urdang Academy, I trained there for three years on their musical theatre course. It’s one of those buildings that you walk into and instantly know it’s a special place! To see so much diversity, not only in the students, but in the teachers as well, I knew this was somewhere I would fit in.
Deciding I wanted to act in my third year wasn’t easy though, a lot of people, including teachers, sort of said it was very hard to go from musical theatre into acting and that it was likely I wouldn’t be successful but I knew I could do it. I spent about six months after graduation just grafting as much as I could and eventually I booked an understudy in a West End play, The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?, understudying my friend Archie Madekwe. It really was the perfect first job, big up to Nicole Charles who was our assistant director and who basically mentored me through, she obviously saw something in me and without her, I’m not sure I’d be doing what I’m doing now.
What drew you to an acting career?
It’s a proper cliché but I’d say acting kind of chose me. I always just wanted to play as a kid, just dress up and run around as someone else and I’m lucky enough to keep doing that as an adult. People love to say how hard it is to be an actor and how it’s only 1% who actually get to do it and that’s true, but don’t let that stop you from being in that 1% because if it’s what you love and you’re ready to work hard, you can absolutely do it.
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