ncn alumnus lands lead role in Playhouse production

ncn alumnus lands lead role in Playhouse production


Talented actor and former Nottingham student, Andre Squire, got the chance to perform back in his hometown after landing a lead role in the stage production of The Grapes of Wrath.

The Nuffield Southampton Theatre production kicked off its tour of the John Steinbeck and Pulitzer Prize-winning book, *The Grapes of Wrath, adapted by Frank Galati, at The Nottingham Playhouse in March and will end at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in June.

31-year-old Andre Squire grew up in Wollaton and realised his love for performing at an early age. “I auditioned for Nottingham’s Television Workshop when I was just nine or ten but I didn’t get in. I then joined a local drama school to gain more confidence and understanding of what drama is all about and thankfully I was accepted when I auditioned two years later.” 

Following his time at Fernwood Comprehensive School, Andre enrolled at New College Nottingham, or Clarendon College as it was known at the time, to gain a recognised qualification in Performing Arts. He speaks fondly of his time there: 

“I loved my two years at college; it gave me a safe playground to gain confidence in what I was being taught. In particular I remember Becky Matter and Jane Feasey who were both fantastic teachers that gave me so much support throughout my time there. I recall them both being on my case to push myself in productions and in voice and posture. They really helped to nurture my skills and confidence as an actor and I owe a lot to them.

“In my second year I had to direct my own piece of theatre so I self-devised a play called ‘Speechless’, which was a silent drama and went down really well. However, this turned out to be the first and last time I directed. After that I performed in ‘The Devil in Drag’, which was the first time I had the responsibility of being the lead in a show and I loved every moment of it.”

Andre’s career spans right across theatre, TV and film. Theatre shows include: ‘Lonely Cowboy’, ‘The Refugee Boy’ and ‘Our Style is Legendary’. For television: ‘The Vice’, ‘Jamie Johnson’, ‘West 10 LDN’; and for film, drama thriller ‘Bypass’.

Are there any standout moments during your career so far? “I would definitely say that The Grapes of Wrath is a highlight of my career so far, along with a youth drama I acted in for BBC Three a few years back called ‘West 10 LDN’.

“I've been lucky enough to have been involved in a lot of shows at the Playhouse but none on the same level as Grapes of Wrath. It has been a blessing and I’ve learnt so much. We had to hit the ground running with it being such a long play and with a limited time to rehearse. I felt the show got a chance to breathe in Nottingham and it's always such a pleasure to perform in my hometown.” 

When asked what he enjoyed about growing up in Nottingham, he said: “The community and warmth. Nottingham gets so much stick in the media, but I can tell you as a person that travels the UK a lot, there's so much going on for a small city.

What was it about this play that appealed to you? “It’s so relevant to what's happening right now regarding the refugee crisis and people being displaced, and I liked the honesty and naivety of my character Tom Joad. You see a growth in him throughout the journey in the play, and this was fantastic to get stuck into as an actor.”

Any words of advice for someone thinking of becoming an actor? “Don't ever be half-hearted in what you do, and when approaching a piece, trust your instincts, and if it doesn’t feel right to you, it’s likely that it won't feel right to anybody else.”

So, what’s next for Andre Squire? “I had a month off the show in April where I was able to audition for new productions, so fingers crossed something will go my way. The CBBC series ‘Jamie Johnson’ started over Easter and I play a series regular named Pete. Right now I’m back on the show until the final performance in June.”

*The Grapes of Wrath tells the story of the Joad family travelling 2000 miles from Oklahoma in 1939 to California. They travel across the desert and along the way face enormous difficulty, starvation and death, but they keep going because they believe that when they get to California they will find work and prosperity. 

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