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Josie Cerise

Performer, Writer and Theatre Maker.

What made you want to go into your career path? 


When I was young, I enjoyed attention, using my imagination and making up silly stories. I went to dancing school and we put on a show each year, I loved dressing up and pretending I was someone else. Then school took us to see a pantomime and it looked so much fun, I thought, 'I want to do that as a job!'.

Did you always think you’d go into this career? How does it compare to how you thought it would be? 


I didn't know this was going to be my career but I always wanted it to be, I still have to pinch myself when I get to go on stage!  It's not always easy, sometimes you get lots of jobs all at once and then none at all. But I've learnt different ways to make a living from using my acting and communication skills, I've had lots of different types of jobs. I also didn't realise I would end up wanting to produce my own theatre shows.

How was life at school?

At primary school I enjoyed being in school plays but when I auditioned for our high school play, I didn't get a part! Then when I went to pick GCSE subjects, my Mum said I wasn't allowed to do drama because I should be doing academic subjects. I never felt like I got to be very creative at school apart from Textiles and would get really bored in maths and science. So, when I went to college and I was allowed to pick Performance as an A-level, I was over the moon.

How did you get into your career? 

No-one in my family had ever been involved in theatre or performance, I had no idea how to make a career in the arts. But I got to go to university and did a performance degree. In my final year, one of my professors really believed in me and made me feel like it was possible to make a living from acting. He got me an audition for a pantomime and I got the part! I ended up turning it down because I got offered a place on a yearlong paid theatre training apprenticeship. We went on placements and got to be in different theatre shows and did masterclasses with awesome theatre companies then at the end, we made our own show. All this gave me the confidence to keep going, I got an agent and then started auditioning for roles.

What do you enjoy most about it?

Seeing live audiences engaging with an imaginary story on stage, either as a performer, an audience member or part of the creative team, I love being part of the collective theatre experience. There's scientific research that showed watching a live theatre performance can synchronise your heart beat with other people in the audience, regardless If you know them or not. I think that's pretty cool!

What are your ambitions?

Me and my friend run a theatre company together, last year was our first show and moving forward we will be producing more shows together. I'd like them to be performed around the world and inspire others to be creative and tell their stories. I also want to make a one-woman comedy show and win awards etc etc!

Tell us a fun story about your work  

I was once performing in an outdoor walkabout park show in Lancaster, it was a theatrical adaptation of 'The Hobbit'. There were lots of quick costumes changes as I played many different characters, a Troll, a Dwarf, Queen of the Wood-elves and Gollum. In one part of the show, I was Gollum then I had one minute to get changed, leg it to the next scene and jump into a silk hammock hanging from a tree for my entrance as Queen of the Wood-elves. I don't know what happened but somehow my foot got trapped in the hammock, when I went to jump out of the hammock I went flying. I did the whole scene hanging upside down by one foot! I had to stay there until all 500 people in the audience had walked to the next scene so stage management could help de-tangle me!

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