ALRA’s 2010 Three Year Acting BA (Hons) graduate Megan McCormick recently spoke to us about her experiences. Following on from performing in the world premiere of 'Anita and Me' with The Birmingham Rep and Theatre Royal Stratford East in 2015, Megan will be playing Tracey again in the first UK Tour, going up north to Nottingham, Bradford, Blackpool and Edinburgh.
Megan also plays Debbie Kensit in 'London Fields', starring Billy Bob Thornton, Amber Heard, Johnny Depp and Jim Sturgess – due for release this year. As well as this, Megan has been kept busy playing Sasha Locke on BBC Radio 4's 'The Archers'.
Here’s what she told us about each of these projects:
ALRA: Hi Megan, thank you for taking the time to speak to us. We are excited to hear that, following its world premiere in 2015, you will once again be playing Tracey in Anita and Me for its first UK tour! Can you tell us a bit more about your role?
Megan McCormick: Tracey is the neglected little sister of Anita. She's about 10 years old and she comes from a very dysfunctional family and is starved of love and attention. Tracey is quite a feral and wild little thing and she attaches herself to anyone who shows her attention.
She is never happier than when she’s with her dog (who has quite an inappropriate name)! It’s also a lovely ensemble piece with lots of songs and dancing. I also play Sandy who is married to Hairy Neddy in the story. She is a lot of fun to play as well; she's very happy-go-lucky and I have a fantastic array of vintage 1970’s costume for her to wear.
ALRA: How did you prepare for it?
MM: I read the book several times, I had read it when I was younger and loved it - which was why I was so passionate about this role. I think there are lots in the text to help and Tanika’s adaptation is beautiful. I also did lots of research into the Black Country in the 1970’s and how the closing of the mines affected village life.
I also learned about partition in India which is something I’m ashamed to say I didn't know a lot about before doing this job. Meera Syal came in and talked to us about what the story meant to her and about what the yard was really like. She told us about how it was Meena’s playground and that was what we wanted to create.
ALRA: Did you find you had any similarities with the character you portrayed?
MM: I don't think so - I think I was a very different type of child! It’s been a lot of fun playing her though!
ALRA: We also know that you feature in the thriller film due for release this year, London Fields, in which you play Debbee Kensit alongside acting stars such as Johnny Depp, Billy Bob Thornton, Amber Heard and Jim Sturgess. What was it like working with such a star-studded cast?
MM: It was a brilliant job, I loved playing Debbee. It was a lovely experience working on that film with everybody both cast and crew.
ALRA: You are also currently playing the role of Sasha Locke on the much loved hit BBC Radio 4 show, The Archers. How would you describe your character?
MM: Sasha is a teenager dealing with the separation of her parents, I think she's quite sweet but with a bit of teenage moodiness creeping in.
ALRA: Tell us a bit more about your experience being a part of the world's longest-running radio soap opera.
MM: It’s a huge honour to be part of this cast.
ALRA: The roles we have discussed are varied across stage, film and radio - do you have a preference?
MM: I really do enjoy everything that I've been able to do in my career so far. I have loved working on the films I have done - I think they have been the biggest learning curves as I have been lucky enough to work with such wonderful film makers.
ALRA: What are your best memories of your time at ALRA, and in what way would you say your training has helped you as an actress in the industry?
MM: I have so many great memories of ALRA. I loved the first year and the third year, second year I found harder as I think that’s when you learn to use the things you learned in the first year independently and I think there can be a lot of self-doubt.
I trained at what is now ALRA South so I have loads of memories of being in The Royal Victoria Patriotic Building which is such a unique and quirky building. I have always really appreciated how well my training set me up for working on a film set because we had camera training from day one.
I think the voice and movement training at ALRA is superb and I’ve been glad to have it in my “toolbox”, particularly working at The REP.
ALRA: Finally, what would be your best advice to give to current drama students pursuing an acting career, based on your experiences?
MM: Work hard and be nice to everybody. And keep the faith.
We would like to thank Megan for taking the time to chat with us.
Keep up to date with what our graduates have been up to by visiting our dedicated alumni page.