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Actor Ayesha Casely-Hayford: ‘Only you know how far you’ve come’

Ayesha Casely-Hayford. Photo: Helen Murray

My first audition was in voice-over, a mobile exercise game company developed by Six to Start and author and games designer Naomi Alderman called Zombies, Run!.

I’ve always been passionate about voice. After drama school, I saved up for one-on-one studio time to make tracks for my voice. What I produced was not necessarily a good showcase of my voice. I had picked pieces I liked, but just because you like something doesn’t mean your voice suits it. However, it gave me a chance to create raw files that captured my voice and a bit of what I could do.

I could have felt embarrassed about the quality of my files and the voice coach told me not to upload them. But, I felt I should start somewhere. At the audition, I sat down with the director and another actor. The location was relaxed and had a creative, fun atmosphere. The director straight away said they loved my voice and that made me feel at ease.

I felt positive and comfortable. The director explained the purpose of the audition was to see how well I took direction, because they already knew they liked my voice. This helped me to feel focused and clear about what was expected. I just had to listen and try to understand what they wanted. Since that job there has been a lot more personal training and listening to my own voice. The depth of character creation required is the same as it is for stage and screen. What helped me in that first audition was being at ease.

Stay focused on learning as you go and be happy with what you’ve achieved. Only you know how far you’ve come.

CV: Ayesha Casely-Hayford

Age: Undisclosed

Training: Diploma in Speech and Drama from London Drama School. Prior to that, I qualified as a solicitor. I balance both careers.

Theatre includes: Where Will We Live? (Southwark Playhouse), We Dance We Work We Sing (Vault Festival and various UK venues), Adult Child Dead Child (Lost Theatre, London), With You Always (Old Fire Station, Oxford), Black Plays series (National Theatre, London)

Other credits includes: English narrator for The Story of Ebola (UN gold award-winning animation film directed by Yoni Goodman), voice actor for Zombies, Run!, Spectrum London web series

Agent: Shepperd-Fox Theatrical Agency

Ayesha Casely-Hayford was talking to John Byrne