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Kyla Frye: ‘We’re no different to kids playing dress-up in our bedrooms’

Kyla Frye. Photo: Kim Hardy Kyla Frye. Photo: Kim Hardy
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My first TV job was on BBC3 in March 2008. It was called West 10 LDN and it was based on a book called Society Within by Courttia Newland. My agent at the time called me about an audition for a new TV show from the team behind Kidulthood. I was already well aware of the work of Noel Clarke, the writer and star, and of Menhaj Huda, the director, so to be given the opportunity only a couple years after I started at Identity Drama was a dream come true.

It was a crazy time for me because we shot the show right in the middle of my freshers’ week at university. Where you would normally be getting drunk with other freshers in the student union bar, I found myself having 5.40am pick-up times.

I learned from the job that you have no time to mess around on a TV set. You block it, you run it, you shoot it. Due to time and budget constraints, you’ve got to be ready to go the moment the director says ‘action’. I also learned that some shows, despite how sought-after and representative of diverse communities they might be, may not actually get commissioned for a full series. We all had to manage our disappointment when West 10 LDN didn’t get picked up, but I have kept in touch with everyone I worked with, from the costume department to the lighting guys, because they were a wonderful team to be around and work with.

Whenever you get on a set my advice is to enjoy and absorb every single second. Speak to anyone and everyone. Find out about what it is they do and how they are contributing to the project. Each and every one of those people are stars in their own right. As actors, without the costume, hair and make-up, lighting, direction, writing, editing and so on, we’re no different to kids playing dress-up in our bedrooms. It’s collaborating with these individuals that makes us the professionals we always hoped we would be.

CV: Kyla Frye

Age: 30
Training: Identity Drama School
Theatre includes: Nina and Shaz (Brockley Jack Theatre)
TV and film includes: West 10 LDN, Double Cross, The Few, The Naked Poet, Zion
Other Credits: Frye’s Fridays – a weekly YouTube acting vlog
Agent: Michelle Sykes, Mondi Associates

Kyla Frye was talking to John Byrne

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