An interview with Paapa Essiedu: part two

Paapa was a pupil at Forest from 1997 to 2008, and in this second part of the interview (click here to see the first), he provides acting tips, discusses his love of football and describes the time he bumped in to Dame Judi Dench

What advice would you give a pupil thinking about going into the world of acting?

Make sure you want to do it! Have a think about whether it’s something you really want. Watch loads of television, films and plays. Join the school or local theatre company. Do as much as you can to immerse yourself in to the world of it, and I think from that you will be able to know if it’s something you really want to do.

Do you think some people go into it for the wrong reasons?

I think so yes, especially with reality television these days. I would say don’t become an actor because you want to become famous. It’s a long and hard road.

What advice would you give to people about dealing with rejections from auditions?

Rejection from a part isn’t a rejection of you as a person. There’s so many variables when people are choosing the person they need. It could be down to your height or hair colour. It’s not always down to your ability as an actor so it’s important to remember that when you go for an audition.

During your time at Forest you took part in school productions of Macbeth and Othello, did this help you in your career?

Definitely, I remember studying Shakespeare in English and I wasn’t a fan, but by doing it and playing it and bringing it to life it helped me understand it more.

How have preparations for the BBC’s Shakespeare Live been going?

Yes it’s been going well, it’s good for the RSC to be celebrating all of Shakespeare’s work. I’m here now actually, I bumped into Dame Judi Dench and David Tennant about ten minutes ago.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Just the normal stuff really, I still love playing football, and of course seeing plays.

Have you been back to Forest since you left?

A few times, I came back three years ago to judge House Drama and that was great, lots of talented actors.

What are your plans after Hamlet?

It’s so far ahead in the future I’m just enjoying it now, but hopefully something exciting will come up.