Last year, Zaris-Angel Hator joined the all-female cast of [BLANK] at Donmar Warehouse, with the play running until November 30th, and the previous year, she was performing at The Old Vic as Fanny in Fanny & Alexander. In 2016, Zaris-Angel made her lead West End debut as Matilda in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical, where she also performed solo at West End Live with Naughty. Zaris-Angel has also worked in screen, with roles in Victoria, Endeavour and Black Earth Rising, and she played Sally in the David Walliams TV movie The Midnight Gang for BBC. Most recently, Zaris-Angel was on the line-up of the online concert Turn Up supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and raising money for The Bail Project, The Okra Project, The Black Curriculum and UK Black Pride. We spoke to Zaris-Angel about being cast in [BLANK] at Donmar Warehouse, playing the role of Matilda in the West End and filming as Sally in The Midnight Gang.
Last year, you made your Donmar Warehouse debut in [BLANK], how was this and can you tell us about your roles?
My debut at the Donmar was an amazing experience, [BLANK] was a very inspiring and powerful play to be a part of. I got on really well with the cast and made very good friends, especially as it was an all-female cast. I played a few characters who had problems with their families. My characters were fun and interesting to play as I switched between different characters with similar problems and stories.
Can you tell us about playing Fanny in Fanny & Alexander at The Old Vic?
Playing Fanny in Fanny & Alexander was very enjoyable I had to explore the emotions and life of a seven year old going through major changes and problems in her life and family. It taught me to really get into the character’s emotions in the moment, as on stage, in particular sad scenes, I managed to get really emotional and cry based on what Fanny was feeling.
How was the experience in the cast of Peter Pan: A Musical Adventure and performing at the Adelphi Theatre?
Peter Pan was my very first job and I was adjusting to my new life in the industry. There were a few ups and downs and some days were better than others, but over all, being on stage for the first time and seeing my family in the audience made everything worth it in the end.
You played Matilda in the West End production of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical, what was this role like to play?
Honestly, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical was one of the most exciting and amazing experiences I’ve had so far. I couldn’t believe it, I was only in my first year at my new school, Sylvia Young Theatre School. It was through their agency Sylvia Young Agency that I landed such a role! I was so shocked, especially due to the fact I wasn’t even auditioning for her to begin with. It came as a big and wonderful surprise and I had so much fun being able to portray my take on the character that I had loved since reading the book in primary school.
Can you tell us about any events you performed at whilst in the show?
During my run I performed at West End Live. I was so nervous before I went on stage because it was my first performance outside of the theatre. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to do it again once it was over.
In 2019, you appeared as Sandra Reynolds in an episode of Endeavour, can you tell us about this?
Endeavour was my first experience with a semi-exploding set. It was fun watching and experiencing that for the first time. The effects on set really helped me with my character as it made the situation Sandra was going through feel real.
How was it playing Sally in the David Walliams TV movie The Midnight Gang?
Playing Sally in The Midnight Gang was so great. It was one of my more challenging roles but also one of my favourites to portray. It was a new experience playing someone who is very ill and it was definitely different and interesting to see myself with no hair. But that really helped me get into character, as well as all the props that were used on set. I made some amazing friends and it was such great fun to be involved in an adaptation of a really good David Walliams book, which I hadn’t read prior to learning about the TV movie.
Can you say about playing Young Kate (Michaela Coel) in Black Earth Rising?
Playing Young Kate was also a very heavy role to play and I had a lot of fun doing it. I enjoyed going up in a helicopter in the studio and the special effects on my costume were really cool.
You played Sarah in an episode of Victoria, how was this?
I really enjoyed playing Sarah in Victoria because the gentleness and vulnerability of her were fun to explore. I also especially loved my costumes. I felt like a little princess in the beautiful, fancy dresses that were really big and fun to twirl in.
What inspired your acting career and had you always wanted to act?
When I was younger, I hadn’t always wanted to be an actress. I had my heart set on becoming a ballet dancer. I would always use YouTube and practice in my living room. One day, when I was on holiday in the hotel room, a TV show came on called School For Stars. This show made me want to go to a theatre school desperately and made me see there is more to the performing industry than I had ever imagined.
How do you like to spend your spare time?
In my free time I love to draw and animate on my iPad. I do like to get creative in different ways, whether it’s painting or drawing, or making videos with my dolls. I still love and collect dolls at sixteen and don’t think I’ll stop. I can express myself creatively in photography or stop motion animation videos.
You have a YouTube channel, what do you like to upload to this and what future upload plans do you have?
On my YouTube channel, most of the time, I don’t really have a scheme to the content I upload. I love to just have fun and be creative and mostly answer questions that I get on my social medias a lot. It’s a way for people to see who I am when I’m not acting or performing.
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