For her first series regular role, Priyasasha Kumari plays Samia in the return of BBC drama Waterloo Road, which released earlier this year, with the current episodes still available on BBC iPlayer, and future episodes to be released at a later date. Alongside her fellow cast member Adam Thomas (who reprised his role of Donte Charles from the original series), Priyasasha hosts Waterloo Road – The Official Podcast, which can be listened to on BBC Sounds. In 2021, Priyasasha toured in the Bill Kenwright production of The Cat and the Canary as Cicily, and after graduating, she directed at CYT (Central Youth Theatre). We found out from Priyasasha about playing Samia in the return of Waterloo Road on BBC, hosting Waterloo Road – The Official Podcast with Adam Thomas and her time touring in Bill Kenwright’s The Cat and the Canary.
Do you remember how you felt booking your role of Samia in the new series of Waterloo Road and was there anything that originally drew you to the return of the show?
It was a surreal moment! I’d just finished a long shift at Aldi and saw a missed call notification from my agent… I instantly knew it was THE call!! Ended up screaming in the car park once I heard the good news and called my mum straight away! From the moment I received the self tape, I was drawn to the character and believed it was meant for me.
Can you tell us about your character and what is she like to play?
Samia is an amazing character to play, she is bright, strong-willed and isn’t afraid to say what’s on her mind. I love that she has so many layers to her, we first meet her in Episode 1 and on the surface it’s clear she’s the popular girl dating the hottest boy in school. But as the series continues we see her evolve into someone who acknowledges her self worth and value. Samia is a force to be reckoned with, although sometimes her decisions may lead her to the head teacher’s office! My favourite part of playing Samia is the message her storyline portrays, she goes through an emotional journey and I hope a lot of young girls will be watching and can find at least one bit of her story to relate to and learn from.
What is it like on set of Waterloo Road and working with the rest of the cast?
The cast and crew are the most loveliest bunch! It’s always a good time when we’re all together. We have a lot of fun and laugh a lot! And that’s all you can really ask for, is an environment you feel safe in, which is full of love and support.
Have you had any stand-out highlights from your time in Waterloo Road so far that you can share?
A fun little fact, in Episode 1, we see Samia on the playground giving a speech to her fellow students. During rehearsals, the director, Jesse Quinones, gave me some character work to do and also the task of writing a monologue to help get everyone motivated before the scene. I didn’t realise until the premiere that some of my monologue made the cut! It was definitely a highlight to remember.
You host the Waterloo Road Podcast with your fellow cast member Adam Thomas, can you say about it?
It’s been a pleasure working with Adam on Waterloo Road – The Official Podcast. We’ve had so much fun, we take a look back at the series episode by episode giving you all the latest updates. We chat to the cast about their roles and you might hear some juicy gossip along the way, it’s a good insight to what goes on behind the scenes. If you haven’t tuned in already then you can catch it now on BBC Sounds.
Why would you recommend watching the return of Waterloo Road and who do you think would enjoy watching the series?
The new series of Waterloo Road is full of drama, action and excitement! It has the nostalgic feel of the original series but with a contemporary twist. The show is known for raising conversions and highlighting issues that reflect today’s society. It really is a show for everyone. Get watching now on BBC iPlayer!
In 2021, you toured as Cicily in The Cat and the Canary, how was your time on this project?
I’ll always have a love for theatre, there’s nothing quite like a live audience! Thoroughly enjoyed my time on the show and learnt a lot from fellow cast members, it was great to be part of a Bill Kenwright production. The best part about being on tour for me was travelling to cities I’d never visited before. I love exploring in a new city, it can get lonely on tour but you learn new ways to enjoy your own company.
Where does your love of acting come from and how did you get into the industry?
When I was eight years old, I played Tinkerbell in the school play… from that moment on, I knew I was born to perform, haha!! I’ve always been a little drama queen from when I was young, so I naturally gravitated towards performing and being creative. Since graduating, I then went on to direct at a youth theatre called CYT (Central Youth Theatre). They are a charity, based in my hometown, who provide opportunities to young people wanting to enter the industry and learn more about acting. I worked full time doing all sorts of jobs whilst learning the ins and outs of how the industry works, after signing with an agency, it’s pretty much persistence and discipline that keeps you focused. Asking for help along the way and gaining more knowledge from others in the industry was a massive advantage too.
How do you like to spend your time away from your career?
I’m a homebody so whenever I can, I like to spend time with my family. I’m also a big foodie, so you’ll definitely find me stuffing my face with some good food, haha!
Do you have any favourite films, TV and theatre shows to watch?
I recently binged The Handmaid’s Tale, and WOW!?! The acting, the writing, the directing, it had it all. I really appreciate a show/movie that excels in all areas, because quite often I find that people form their opinions solely through the acting but it actually takes all of those factors to coincide to create a memorable piece of art.
What are you hoping 2023 brings for you?
Honestly, I’m ready to just keep working hard at my craft. The key to doing that is networking and auditions. It’s important not to get too complacent and continue putting in the work. The more you put in, the more you will be rewarded. But most of all, enjoy the moments life brings to me and appreciate the time and energy I receive from loved ones.
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