Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures

School of Performance and Cultural Industries

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Ekow Quartey

EQ200pixCan you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

Born in London to Ghanaian parents. I went to St. George’s RC school for primary school and Dulwich College for secondary. Kind of broke the script profession wise, my mum and dad are in Healthcare and retail respectively, my sister is in law and half-­brother owns a bar in Ghana.

What are you fondest memories of your time at Leeds?

I have a few, a lot involving the friends I made whilst at Leeds but my fondest was hearing my name called out at the Carnegie stadium during my 1st year varsity 1st XV rugby match.

Can you tell us about your current projects?

I recently worked on Richard II at the Globe, directed by Simon Godwin. It was such a pleasure being part of an extremely talented, confident and playful cast.

What is your biggest achievement in your career so far?

I was extremely lucky to be nominated for an Ian Charleson for my portrayal of Hans in Anya Reiss’ adapted Spring Awakening. The Ian Charleson Awards are theatrical awards that reward the best classical stage performances in Britain by actors under age 30. The awards are named in memory of the renowned British actor Ian Charleson, and are run by the Sunday Times newspaper and the National Theatre.

How do you think your degree has helped you in your career? In particular, what skills did you learn and how do you use these in your job?

The degree like any other degree has modules you really buy into and fall for and for me that was physical theatre. It’s a degree that gives you an insight into as many aspects of the theatre industry, be it practitioners, history or business. Furthermore what the degree does focus on nearly across the whole board is an idea of group and collective, in many modules getting group marks, and in this day an age were more people are creating their own theatre companies straight out of university it’s a lesson you could pay attention to.

At PCI, amongst other roles, you performed Pylades in ORESTES. How did this help you in your acting career?

I’ve always enjoyed the Greeks, I mean Troy is a great film, but this was a real insight into the Greeks and really depend my love for these texts. In terms of the short career I’ve had so far playing Pylades really helped with beginning to know how to adapt a historical character into a modern world which was invaluable when doing Anya Reiss’ modern adaptation of Franz Wedekind’s Spring Awakening.

You were recently part of Headlong’s recent tour, the Shakespeare Globe and now at the National
Theatre. How different were these 3 experiences?

Well firstly, touring you’re moving to a new city every week, organising somewhere to stay, away from home comforts for months at a time and adjusting to new theatres, but also getting to see more of the world, learning new stage craft on differently configured regional theatres and playing to a completely new audience nearly every week.

The Globe on the other hand is like nothing I have ever experienced before, the audience are so visible
and so involved you can’t hide from them. You have a relationship with the audience that you can only get in an open air theatre, I think it’s what a lot of actors live for. On the National, I sadly haven’t start there yet but I’ll be sure to let you know.

What did you gain from it?

No one theatre, no one audience is the same, they didn’t see the really good performance you did on press night all they know is the story you have shared with them that night, therefore enjoy it and that hopefully means they will.

What are your plans for the future?

In short, to keep working hopefully. I count myself lucky, I get to do a job I love, so really my hope is that, that continues.

Finally, what one piece of advice would you give to students currently studying on the BA Theatre and Performance degree programme?

Test yourself, pick the electives and modules YOU want to do, be part of as many societies and sports as possible and mostly do everything you can to enjoy your time there.

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