Earlier this year, Peter Losasso finished his run as Frank Gardner in the UK Tour of the new production of Mrs Warren’s Profession, performing alongside Caroline Quentin and Rose Quentin, and being directed by Anthony Banks. In 2022, Peter was in the cast of Fighting Irish at Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, in which he played the role of writer Jamie McGough’s real-life father Jimmy McGough as a teenager, and he returned to theatre for the first time since the pandemic started with Wendy & Peter Pan at the Leeds Playhouse. After graduating from LAMDA, Peter has performed on stage in a number of shows including Trial by Laughter as George Cruikshank, The Wipers Times as Dodd (which included a West End transfer at the Arts Theatre), and Sheila Atim’s debut play Anguis at Edinburgh Fringe in 2019. Peter’s professional acting career started on screen in 2008, when he played co-lead character Jack Parker in Parents of the Band for BBC One, and he guest-starred in an episode of Tracy Beaker Returns as Ferris Lloyd for CBBC. Chatting to Peter, he answered our questions about playing Frank Gardner in Mrs Warren’s Profession, his time in the cast of Fighting Irish and training at LAMDA.
Recently, you played the role of Frank Gardner in the UK Tour of Mrs Warren’s Profession, was there anything that drew you to your character and how much did you know about the play before auditioning?
I didn’t know the play at all. When I got the audition I read it and loved it. It’s incredibly ahead of its time. Written 200 years ago, it still feels relevant. Frank is an enticing character. He’s irreverent and disarming. I was attracted to the challenge of trying to achieve this suave character (I’m pretty much the opposite!).
What was it like being part of the new production of the play directed by Anthony Banks, and how was it opening the show at Theatre Royal Bath last year?
It was a brilliant experience from start to finish. Anthony’s a really supportive director. I was excited and nervous to open but in the end, it was lovely to have an audience to share the story with.
Can you tell us about the show and your character and what is Frank like to play?
The show is funny, heart-wrenching and clever. Frank is immensely fun to play because he’s a law unto himself. It’s really enjoyable to play someone so steadfast and quick-witted.
How was it working alongside the rest of the cast, which includes Caroline Quentin as Mrs Warren and her real-life daughter Rose Quentin as Vivie Warren?
It was a privilege to work with such a brilliant group of actors. I had to keep pinching myself, being in such an incredible company. I learnt so much from them.
Last year, you played Jimmy McGough in Fighting Irish at Belgrade Theatre in Coventry, can you tell us about your time in the show?
It was a fun couple of months. The cast and creative team were fantastic. I loved working with The Belgrade’s new artistic director, Corey Campbell. He created a really dynamic, focused rehearsal room where we were challenged to be patient and brave, which I think showed in the work. I’m really proud to have been a part of it.
What did you enjoy most about playing Jimmy McGough and how was it telling the story?
The story was drawn for the brilliant Coventry writer, Jamie McGough’s own family history. I played his father when he was a teenager. It was amazing to be part of a show that meant so much to their family and the wider Irish community in Coventry. A real highlight was meeting the real Jimmy after the show on opening night.
What was it like returning to theatre for the first time since the pandemic started when you were cast in Wendy & Peter Pan at the Leeds Playhouse and how was it understudying the roles of Peter Pan, Martin the Cabin Boy, Slightly and Murt the Bat?
It was a relief to be back working again after the whole industry was shut down for a big chunk of time. And such a joy to be part of this epic, fun-filled family show. I loved being part of the team of ‘Shadows’, I learnt so many new skills, puppeteering and how to fly actors around the stage. Understudying was great too: a fun challenge to work on all the different characters.
In 2019, you performed at Edinburgh Fringe in Sheila Atim’s debut play Anguis, what was this like?
My character in Anguis was a sweet, kind of silly guy and brought some light relief to what was otherwise quite a serious and powerful play. I learnt so much in the rehearsal room. Sheila was there with us a fair bit – it was very cool to be able to ask her all about her ideas and intensions. The company and creative team were awesome. And the festival is an extremely cool place. We had a lot of fun.
Can you tell us about playing George Cruikshank in Trial by Laughter and Dodd in The Wipers Times, and how was it performing with The Wipers Times at the Arts Theatre in the West End?
I loved working on Ian Hislop and Nick Newman’s plays. Both were stories of unsung journalistic heroes, lovingly told by a couple of today’s most irreverent social critics. It was fascinating to dive into the history of each and felt really special to be a part of honouring the real people the plays were about. Both shows started at the Watermill – a great theatre in Berkshire that makes fantastic shows for its dedicated local audience – and toured extensively. We took the shows to some fantastic venues across the country and it was really exciting when Wipers got a transfer to the Arts Theatre. It was a really fun company to be a part of. I’ll always treasure my memories of it.
Was there anything that encouraged you to train at LAMDA and how was your time there?
I really enjoyed doing LAMDA exams growing up. I’d go up to London and do my exams at the school. It showed me that there were places you could go to train as an actor and made me keen to audition there when I left school. It took me three years of applying to many different schools but when I got in to LAMDA, I was over the moon. I loved my time there and learned so much from all the different classes. The best thing was just having this big chunk of time dedicated to trying different things – a safe space to make loads of mistakes and learn by doing.
Whilst at LAMDA, you performed in a number of shows including The Ritual Slaughter of Gorge Mastromas, POSH and Coriolanus, can you say about some of them?
We did lots of shows throughout the three years of training. In the final year, the shows are open to the public, and agents and casting directors are invited. Dennis Kelly’s Gorge Mastromas was one of the last shows we did. It’s a fantastic play that is part narrated and part dialogue. The narrated part was shared by most of the cast which made for a really fun ensemble feel to the show. I played Gorge and the rest of the cast would step out of the chorus to play different scenes with me. For me, the show felt like a mad roller coaster ride. I wish I could go back and ride it again!
On screen, you played Ferris Lloyd in an episode of Tracy Beaker Returns, what do you remember most from being part of the series?
I remember the people being really lovely and friendly and supportive. I was stepping into their company for a couple of days and they all made me feel really welcome.
At the start of your career, you played Jack Parker, one of the lead roles in the BBC One comedy series Parents of the Band, what are some of your favourite memories from playing the role?
This was quite a while ago now so it’s testing my memory! I remember early starts: being picked up by my driver – a sweet man who loved listening to classical music on the radio – and being driven to set with my lovely, very patient chaperone. I’d look over my sides on the way in and try and learn anything that had changed. Then I’d head to the catering truck for a butty. Amazing! And, again, I remember the company being a really lovely bunch of people. We were thrown together for an intensive couple of months of filming. I was very green so it was very formative. I learnt so much from the older and the younger company members alike.
How did you get into acting and was it something you always wanted to do?
When I was five, my mum took me along to a local drama class because I was quite a shy kid. I just loved it. I felt I’d finally found something I had a natural inclination for. It gave me a bit of confidence and a community. And it was just so fun! It was like a lesson where you got to be silly and make jokes and tell stories and rather than being told off, everyone clapped and laughed. I kept going to the same brilliant local drama club until I left to go to drama school when I was 20.
What are some of your favourite films, TV and theatre shows to watch and how do you like to spend your time away from your career?
There are so many, it’s hard to pick. Succession blew my mind. I love great British comedy/dramas like This is England, Tyrannosaur, Broadchurch, Line of Duty, The Thick of It and Peep Show. The UK Office is a real favourite. Ironically, my favourite shows of all time doesn’t feature a single actor: I’m obsessed with anything David Attenborough makes. Queer Eye is my go-to Sunday morning viewing. As for theatre, a few things that jump out: Andrew Scott’s Hamlet (highly recommend watching on YouTube), Jez Butterworth’s The Ferryman and Dennis Kelly’s Girls and Boys. Especially love more politically charged new writing like Caryl Phillips’ Strange Fruit, Ryan Calais Cameron’s For Black Boys and Katherine Soper’s Wish List. I also love physical theatre: Gecko’s shows and stuff like the NT’s The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which uses physical theatre elements. And I love a good musical! I saw Guys and Dolls at the Bridge at the weekend. So fun!
When I’m not working, I love to get outdoors: walking, camping, swimming in the sea, exploring wild places. I also love to dance and try to get to classes regularly.
What are you hoping 2023 brings for you?
Sorry, this question is almost out of date because I’ve been so slow getting this to you! Forgive me! No.1: I want to get better at replying to people promptly 😬. I want to keep growing as a person and an artist. I want to keep learning about myself and keep seeking out meaningful ways to engage with other people in creative ways that nurture and challenge. I’d love to do that through acting work, but am always looking for other opportunities to do it in my day-to-day life and by creating work.
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