Born in Willesden, actor and playwright and Noughts + Crosses star Paterson Joseph trained at LAMDA (London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) after a council grant from Brent. His acting career now spans over 30 years and has appeared on stage, film and TV, playing leading roles in major productions.
“I wrote about 40 letters and I got 40 rejections, and then finally Brent listened to my appeal and they gave me the grant. So I would have never gone to LAMDA. I might have become an actor, but I probably wouldn’t have done.”
This week two Blueprint Collective Members (Mehaira Abdelhamid and Kamiah Chae) talk to Paterson about doing rolly pollies in Willesden with his 5 siblings, attending an almost entirely Irish infant school and opening the door for younger Black actors coming up.
“That’s all I ever wanted and I still want that, is that each generation just bursts up that ‘glass ceiling’ even further so that more can come through.”
Paterson rubbishes the idea that, in dramatisations of the past, there are characters that have to be played by white actors. He shows how a fascination with history, a hunger for knowledge and his willingness to immerse himself in his character’s circumstances are what really matters.
”The history of things, normal things, it’s fascinating. Let alone the history of people, of migration, of why that person went there, why that city is bigger than that city.”
Books mentioned in the interview:
- Britain’s Black Past, edited by Gretchen H. Gerzinal
- Black England by Gretchen Gerzina
- Black and British by David Olusoga
How have Brent’s legends been coping during the ongoing pandemic, and what might it mean for their work and practice?
In this new video series, guest hosts from the Blueprint Collective catch up – in a socially distanced way, of course – with legendary musicians, artists, athletes and activists from across the borough to find out how they’ve been affected and perhaps even inspired by the COVID-19 crisis. Along the way, we dig deeper into our guests’ connections to Brent, discovering what they’ve been reading, watching, hearing and absorbing during this strange and frightening time – and hearing more about how they’re responding.
This forms part of Brent 2020 Unlocked.