Natalie Edward Yesufu: ‘You will get to your destination if you pursue your passion with tenacity’
My first ever performance was in 2012 in New York in a play called Mae Jemison, performed in an elementary school. It was a colossal location, maybe the largest place I have ever performed in. Jemison was the first black female astronaut to go into space and I played her mother. We played to an auditorium of 500 children and adults. It was so empowering showing positive stories of women of colour. I had to wear my natural afro as some of the play was set in the 1960s, as well as doing an American accent that was good enough to convince a US audience.
I wish I could bottle that confidence and energy from the excitement of my first show in New York
I wish I could bottle that confidence and energy from the excitement of my first show in New York. As you grow as an actor, you become hyper-aware of who you are as a person. On this job, I realised the power of theatre, new writing and inclusive stories to shape cultural perceptions. Looking back, I think this it was subconsciously one of the building blocks of my inspiration for establishing Enter Stage Write, the new-writing event I launched last year, which aims to give a voice and an inclusive platform to both writers and actors. My goal this year is to get 200 people who have never experienced prestigious high-end theatre to see a performance. My second goal is to help four people – whether actors, writers or creatives – into tangible jobs.
Personally, I stopped and started in my career because a little negative voice in my head said being a successful actor does not happen for people like me. I have learned from my own journey that you will always get to your destination if you pursue your passion with tenacity. Most importantly, treat the people you meet on your journey kindly, because one day that same person might give you a job.
CV: Natalie Edward-Yesufu
Trained: Birmingham School of Acting, Identity Acting School
Theatre credits include: Silence, Roaring Trade, Figment, Mae Jamison, Swarm
TV credits include: Doctors
Other credits: Director, Transition Stage Company; creator of Enter Stage Write
Agent: Tracey Bell, Red Door Management
Natalie Edward-Yesufu was talking to John Byrne. For more details about Enter Stage Write, see: transitionstagecompany.com