Located in the heart of Putney, Group 64 is a dynamic Young People’s Community Theatre. We spoke to two of the company’s rising stars – Henry Mendoza and Katurah Morrish. Both young actors have been working with Group 64 for many years now and are practically seasoned thespians!
Watch our exclusive interview with Henry below – he discusses his plans for the future, how he became involved with Group 64 and what his dream role is (hint: it may involve a blue box that is bigger on the inside!)
Katurah Morrish has worked by Henry’s side in many-a-previous Group 64 production. We spoke to her for a different perspective on her time at the company as well as her views on the art of acting.
When and why did you decide to start acting?
I started acting when I was six years old and haven’t stopped since! I started acting because I have always had a strong desire to communicate and a love of storytelling – acting simultaneously fulfils both of these in a wholly unique and stimulating way.
How much time do you devote to honing your skills as an actor?
Between the hours I spend at Group 64, working in school, various projects I take part in or create myself and private reading, studying and practice I expect I spend around 8 hours a week honing my skills and broadening my understanding. However, in a busy season if I have a lot of shows or projects this can be anything up to 20/25 hours a week.
Do you have a specific process or method? How do you prepare for a production?
Much of the method to approaching a production comes from the director whose advice and process I attempt to follow as gospel! However, I always work into my character by first writing their biography with particular attention to the secrets they keep, as specific details give an insight to the character’s experiences; from this I begin to decide on my character’s characteristics and this allows me to discover and form a physicality. Once I feel I know my character I look to the text and decide on my character’s super-objective for the piece (what they want most.) This drives my character’s journey through the play.
What is your favourite role you have played so far?
Deciding on a favourite role is difficult as each one brings totally unique experiences and excitement for me. However, I would say that playing Mary in ‘Be My Baby’ at Putney Arts Theatre or Phoebe in ‘Moth to the Flame’ at the Unicorn were my most fulfilling roles. I adored the journey both of these characters went on in their respective plays and the intensity their story lines allowed me to explore.
Describe your perfect co-star
The most important factor for me in a co-star is chemistry. Feeling connected to cast members is imperative for the piece to connect to the audience. Beyond this though: diligence, determination and an open-minded attitude are also very important to me in fellow cast members.
What is your dream role and what production would you really like to be a part of?
There are so many shows I hope to one day be a part of but to play Titania in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, to be in ‘The 39 Steps’ or Blanche in ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ would all be an absolute fairy tale!
How did you become involved with Group 64?
I became involved with Group 64 when I was six years old. My Mum found it in response to me announcing one weekend that “I have to do more acting! It’s more fun than anything else in the world!”
What is your role in the company beyond acting in productions?
Beyond acting in the productions I work at group 64 as a teaching assistant several times a week. I’m a member of the youth council and I have taken on technical roles in the past (lighting/sound/stage management.) I’ve also directed and assistant-directed plays at Group 64.
How would you say Group 64 has helped you as an actor?
Group 64 has helped me as an actor in more ways than I can articulate. However, the opportunity to work with so many inspiring fellow young actors and the chance to play an arsenal of totally contrasting roles has been amazing and developed my versatility enormously. Moreover, Group 64 has opened up many opportunities to me that other young actors would not get, like performing at The Rose, The Lyric and The National Theatre, as well as Nicola (Group 64’s Youth Director) recommending me for roles outside of Group 64 that have given me the chance to work professionally.
What should we look out for in the near future at Group 64?
There is so much going on in the near future for group 64! We are entering the National Student Drama Festival this year as well as entering the New Connexions scheme for the third time – both of which are set to be exciting projects well worth checking out!
Have you ever had a particularly embarrassing experience on stage?
Whilst on stage at the National I smacked my forehead very hard on the top bar of a clothes rail during an elaborate movement sequence. Not only was I embarrassed but a little dazed for the proceeding fifteen seconds!
Who is your favourite actor of all time?
This question I always find impossible to answer, largely because my preference seems to change almost every day. However, if pushed I must say I have enormous respect for Sheridan Smith, Alex Kingston and Hattie Morahan – all of whom I find enormously inspiring.
What advice would you give to other young actors?
Don’t stop! My main advice to any other young actors is just to simply be involved with as much theatre and performance work as possible – we only get better with experience so its imperative to be as involved as possible all the time!
Where do you hope to be in the future and how will you get there?
I hope to become a professional actor specialising in theatre – my dream would be to perform in the West End or even Broadway! I’m not entirely sure what path I will be taking to get there but I know a major part of my journey has got to be totally unparalleled hard work and determination if it is to be successful.
Visit Group 64 for more details on how you can get involved and to find out about any new productions!