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Tell Us in 10: Jamie Ballard from Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

Tell Us in 10: Jamie Ballard from Harry Potter And The Cursed Child

Tell Us In 10: Jamie Ballard

Eleni Cashell

By Eleni Cashell First Published 1 July 2019, Last Updated 5 July 2019

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. And we’ve got some exclusive production pictures featuring the new cast too – take a look!

1. My route into theatre was…

Left to right – 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 credit 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 made literature, and especially Shakespeare, so thrilling to absorb. That was HUGELY instrumental.

From the age of about ten I was wanting to follow my parents into medicine, but failed to get into the medical school they had both trained at by one point on my International Baccalaureate. So I had to rethink my path.

I was PAINFULLY shy at school and so any notion of going down the acting route was not on my radar. However, a piece of English coursework in my final year, where I had to basically be a character from The Royal Hunt of the Sun in a hot-seat session turned my life around.

I told my parents that I wanted to go to Drama School and they said to get a degree first   So I thought I’d do a degree in something that could be useful as an actor, so I decided to do a language. To make use of my university time I decided to do a hard language and as I had a love of Japanese literature, I did Japanese. At university, I joined the theatre club and did a few productions which I LOVED! We went to the Edinburgh Festival with one of them 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 seen productions that have transferred to the West End from places like The Royal Court or the Royal Shakespeare Company.

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…

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 Awards

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.

 

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

I speak Japanese.

 

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

Emotion doesn’t aid the words. The words aid 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.

Why didn’t you kiss Nadia Haddadin on the basketball court aged 16 when you had the chance?!!

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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