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Jojo Macari: ‘Being out in the world is a lot more exciting than training’

Jojo Macari. Photo: Chris Coulson Jojo Macari. Photo: Chris Coulson

The actor dropped out of A levels to take his first professional acting job and hasn’t looked back. He talks to Georgia Snow about his role in Desperate Measures, a musical adaptation of Shakespeare’s Measure for Measure.

How is this show different from the original play?

Obviously it’s such a classic story and I think a lot of people who come in will be able to see the Shakespeare coming through. We have kept the basic roots of the story, but other than that everything has really been lifted up to this 1960s scene in central London, it’s really cool. It works as a stand-alone story – I don’t think you even need to know the original plot. I think that if you know the story of Measure for Measure, it’s a nice added bonus to get the references.

Is musical theatre new territory for you?

It is very new territory. Musical theatre hasn’t been something I have done much of at all. I am an actor and also a musician, so it’s not too far out of the way. I am still trying to bridge that gap between acting and music though, being an actor-musician, I guess. It’s very new for me and something I have always wanted to do. I am playing guitar in the show, so I am combining the two strings of my bow, as it were.

Have you always wanted to perform in some way?

I suppose so; I think I have always been a bit of a show-off, whether it is playing the guitar, or acting, or generally making a fool of myself. I remember at school, for some reason, we were acting out the Cadbury’s advert with the gorilla and I came on stage and did this drum solo dressed as a gorilla. What a way to start my acting career. Things have gone uphill from there, I think.

I guess when I went to college for my A levels, I started focusing and thinking about what I wanted to do in my life, and taking it seriously. When I was doing a previous show at Jermyn Street, A Level Playing Field, I was doing my A levels at the time and dropped out. Being out there in the world is a lot more exciting.

Did you consider training?

The whole idea of training is something I am in two minds about, if I’m honest. I have got a deferred place to take actor musicianship at Rose Bruford College, but at the moment I am not sure if I want to take it or not. I quite like the idea of riding the wave and seeing where it takes me. I definitely think you have a different attitude if you have trained.

I don’t know if it’s better or worse, but you definitely approach things differently. Getting out there and doing plays, and acting with some people who are really, really great has been amazing. I have learned more since I’ve left college and started acting than I ever did taking drama A level, so I think this is what it’s all about.

CV: Jojo Macari

Training: None
First professional role: A Level Playing Field, Jermyn Street Theatre (2014)
Agent: Curtis Brown

Desperate Measures is running at the Jermyn Street Theatre, London, until December 20

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