Alfred Enoch: 'Shakespeare gives you so much to play with'

Virgin Radio

21 Nov 2022, 09:39

Graham Norton and Alfred Enoch

The 'Harry Potter' star is heading back to the theatre.

Alfred Enoch, best known for his roles in the Harry Potter series and latterly the legal thriller television series How to Get Away with Murder, popped into The Graham Norton Radio Show with Waitrose this weekend to talk about his lead role in a new production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, which runs from December 6th to January 28th, 2023.

Directed by Josie Rourke, the production also stars Leah Harvey (The Wonderful World of Dissocia) as Rosalind, Rose Ayling-Ellis (EastEnders) as Celia, Alfred Enoch (Crave) as Orlando, Tom Mison (The Way Of The World) as Touchstone, with Martha Plimpton (Sweat) in the role of Jaques.

Alfred plays the lead role of Orlando in the production, which will appear in the newly built Soho Place, the first new build West End theatre to open in 50 years.

"It's not something that happens every day," he says. "It's a new purpose built theatre called @sohoplace, and it's been being developed for the last 12 years, I think. It's very intimate, but it's got scale. It's got about 600 seats, and our production is going to be in the round. So we're going to be in and amongst everyone, everyone's going to be in amongst us, it's going to be beautiful!"

This isn't Alfred's first rodeo when it comes to Shakespeare. He's filled roles created by The Bard many times prior.

"The first thing I ever remember seeing was a Shakespeare play in the theatre," he recalls. "My dad was an actor, and he was in the opening season at Shakespeare's Globe. I remember being about eight years old and going into see Henry V. I used to love history and be a bit of a geek as a kid. And as I walked into that space, it honestly felt like going into the past. When it started I was entranced. I said, 'That's what I want to do' and since then doing Shakespeare has always been one of my favourite things. I think it gives you so much to play with. There's so much plasticity in those in those texts."

He continues, "I was doing Romeo and Juliet last year, and I thought, 'How does he do it?' I find that people often say to me, 'It's such a great love story' and yet it finishes with a double teen suicide. To me, it's a play about mental health. I think the same thing with As You Like It, which is about gender identity in many ways, really. There's just so much in those texts you can explore..."

As You Like It runs from December 6th to January 28th, 2023, at @sohoplace. Tickets here.

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