Interview: Jeremy Ang Jones in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child
Jeremy Ang Jones studied at ALRA on our Three Year Acting BA (Hons) programme and is one of our 2015 graduates. He is currently appearing in the new West End stage play, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, a two-part production based on an original new story by famous author J.K. Rowling, director John Tiffany and playwright Jack Thorne.
This is Jeremy's West End debut and we had a chance to ask him a few questions about his involvement in this major production. Here's what he told us:
ALRA: How do you feel about being part of the cast and crew of the much anticipated production, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child?
Jeremy: Absolutely incredible. I feel lucky and honoured to be working with such an amazing cast and team and to be part of a world bigger than I can even imagine!
ALRA: How did this role come about?
Jeremy: When auditioning, I didn't really know what I was in for until the third round. In fact, a lot of things just fell into place to get me into the first pre-meet; when I met Julia Horan at my other half of year's 3rd year show at The Tristan Bates Theatre, not then knowing she would be casting Harry Potter, I plucked up the courage, introduced myself and gave her my business card like a classic drama school 'keen bean' with nothing to lose.
I didn't hear back from her until around November when I was brought in for the first pre-meet, I believe the casting bracket opened up a little and I fell in. She mentioned recognising me and so brought me in and I then met with Lotte Hines (Associate Casting Director) and Des Kennedy (Associate Director).
From there it was quiet until February when I was called in to meet with Julia herself. I was then asked to go in to read the scripts in Sonia Friedman's office the next day and then finally a movement call and a meeting with the big man himself John Tiffany took place.
ALRA: How did you prepare for the audition and how would you advise other young actors to prepare?
Jeremy: In the past year I learned to trust the preparation, work hard and be confident in what you do. I'm still getting my head around that but, at the very least, you should learn the lines and be on your toes!
ALRA: What do you think are the biggest differences between drama school auditions and West End ones?
Jeremy: Are you right for the part? Are you what they want to walk in through the door? That's probably the main difference. For me I'm quite cynical, I believe it's less about 'talent' and more about 'can you do the job?'.
You could be the best actor they've seen but if you're not right, you're not right. You should make sure that you are not someone they don't want to work with.
ALRA: What would you do again, what would you approach differently and what wouldn't you do if you were teenager again?
Jeremy: Thinking back, I've always had a confidence issue, it'd be great if I didn't. In this world a little confidence can be useful. No point splashing at the surface, just dive in and see what happens.
ALRA: What kind of roles do you prefer and why?
Jeremy: Grounded more naturalistic roles, but ultimately complex characters are always more fun to work on.
ALRA: Was it difficult for you to transform into your character for this play and, if so, why?
Jeremy: There's not much I can say, but ultimately no. Jack Thorne has a fantastically natural way of writing. Also, at this point in my career I don't see myself being cast if they didn't see a part of the character in me. With a new play like this that developed through rehearsals, the work develops with it.
ALRA: What do you love about this character?
Jeremy: Innocence and the will to do good.
ALRA: Can you tell us about a time when you had a really bad day, but had to perform no matter how bad your day had been?
Jeremy: I usually try to forget bad days, and performing usually helps. Separating yourself from you for a while can be therapeutic.
ALRA: What is the biggest audience you have ever had a performance in front of?
Jeremy: Off the top of my head, The Palace Theatre seems like a pretty good contender! I'm not sure exactly the amount but according to Google it sits 1,400 people. With the energy from the Harry Potter fans it feels more than double that.
ALRA: What sort of acting roles do you hope to perform in the future?
Jeremy: I still have many roles to tick off, it's still very early. Representation is something I've always had on my mind as an East Asian actor. I say representation because it's more than being a face of diversity, stories need to be told.
ALRA: Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us, we wish you the very best of luck with your career!