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Jamie ballard_tell us in 10

Tell Us In 10: Jamie Ballard from Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

Eleni Cashell

By Eleni Cashell First Published 1 July 2019, Last Updated 21 October 2021

In our profile series, Tell Us In 10, we ask cast members and creatives of top London shows to tell us all about themselves in just 10 questions. From how they got their big break and rules to live by, to what their cast members would say about them and their own West End idols, nothing is off topic.

Taking on the task this week is Jamie Ballard, who’s playing Harry Potter in Harry Potter And The Cursed Child.

1. My route into theatre was…

Michelle Gayle (Hermione Granger), Thomas Aldridge (Ron Weasley) and Jamie Ballard (Harry Potter) in the West End Production of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child (Photo: Manuel Harlan)Michelle Gayle (Hermione Granger), Thomas Aldridge (Ron Weasley) and Jamie Ballard (Harry Potter) in the West End Production of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

I grew up in the Middle East and opportunities for going to the theatre were sparse. However, I had a wonderful English teacher and parents who were HUGELY instrumental. I was PAINFULLY shy at school and so any notion of going down the acting route was not on my radar. However, in my final year, I played a character from The Royal Hunt of The Sun in a hot-seat session and it turned my life around. I told my parents that I wanted to go to drama school but they said to get a degree first. So, I thought I’d get a degree in something that could be useful as an actor… Japanese! At university, I joined the theatre club which I LOVED! We went to The Edinburgh Festival and had the most incredible time. After getting my degree, my parents beautifully and honourably supported my desire to go to drama school.  Luckily, I got a place at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and had the most magical two years, making lifelong friends and being totally immersed in the career I loved.

 

2. My West End idol is…

I don’t really have a West End idol… I have to say Mark Rylance’s performance in Jerusalem, which I saw at The Royal Court and in The West End, was mind-blowing, as was Tom Brooke’s. He is a friend and as he was doing his first speech having emerged from the sofa, I was overtaken with the most incredible wave of laughter and applause!! It was ABSOLUTE GENIUS. I don’t know how he did it. I was so proud of him. Just incredible. One of my life’s theatrical highlights.

 

3. My colleagues would describe me as…

Michelle Gayle (Hermione Granger), Jamie Ballard (Harry Potter) and Thomas Aldridge (Ron Weasley) in the West End Production of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child (Photo: Manuel Harlan)Michelle Gayle (Hermione Granger), Jamie Ballard (Harry Potter) and Thomas Aldridge (Ron Weasley) in the West End Production of Harry Potter And The Cursed Child (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

I would hope they thought of me as conscientious, committed and caring.

 

4. My favourite show present or past (that isn’t one I star in) is…

Jez Butterworth backstage at the 2018 Olivier AwardsJez Butterworth backstage at the 2018 Olivier Awards after winning the American Airlines Best New Play award

Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem.

 

5. The career moment I’m most proud of is…

Playing Hamlet was a momentous time for me but alongside that is playing Harry Potter.  To be performing this iconic role could not be more exciting.  It’s a huge undertaking and a massive responsibility and at each performance, I have to pinch myself!

 

6. The hardest part about my role is…

Revisiting my mum’s death 4 times a week.

 

7. If I didn’t work in theatre I would be…

If I’d got one more point in my International Baccalaureate, I probably would have become a doctor. Obstetrics like my Dad.

 

8. Something people don’t know about me is…

Jamie Ballard in Harry Potter And The Cursed Child (Photo: Manuel Harlan)

I speak Japanese.

 

9. The best piece of advice I’ve ever been given is…

Emotion doesn’t serve the words. The words serve the emotion.

 

10. The one thing I wish I could tell my younger self is…

Oh, lots of things!! I wish I’d told my mum I loved her more often. Don’t waste time and energy worrying about what might or might not happen. Just enjoy.

 

You can catch Jamie in Harry Potter And The Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre now!

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Harry Potter and the Cursed Child interview jamie ballard Tell us in 10

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