Interview: Darren Raymond from Intermission Youth on Juliet & Romeo
We caught up with Intermission Youth Artistic Director Darren Raymond to talk about new show Juliet & Romeo.
Tell us about Intermission Youth. How did it start?
Intermission started back in 2008, I was a working actor, touring the UK with a production of Othello. I was troubled by the make-up of the audiences. There was no one like me. I knew I had to do my part to try and address that. Theatre is a powerful tool, it changes lives, it changed mine and I needed to extend the opportunity to young people coming from a similar background to me, to play and discover in safe space. So, with the blessing of Bishop Rob, the Creative Director of Intermission at the time, Intermission Youth was created and continues to support the voices of young people from inner-city London.
Juliet & Romeo is coming up in November at Chelsea Theatre. What should people coming to the show expect?
You should expect a vibrant piece of theatre, an ancient story re-told in unimaginable ways. You should expect to be wowed. You should expect to be opened up to a new way of seeing and hearing Shakespeare’s words and finally you should expect truth.
What advice would you give to someone who loves theatre but doesn’t necessarily have the cash to go to drama school etc.?
Drama school is great (I’m sure) but it isn’t the only route into the arts, I didn’t go to drama school, instead I threw myself into any free opportunity I could find and surrounded myself with like-minded people. My advice would be to try and join a Youth Theatre or acting company, create a network, make yourself available for opportunities. The great thing about acting is that the only thing you really need to be an actor is an audience.
People are your audience and people are everywhere, there is no excuse for us not to be honing our craft.
Also, I would advise you to challenge the government on drama school fees and also to campaign for more support for alternative arts organisation like Intermission Youth.
I’m very happy to help in anyway I can, I’m easily contactable and willing to offer any support I can to young people interested in acting.
Who or what are your inspirations for working in theatre?
My Nan (God rest her soul) was an amazing storyteller. I used to listen to her every Sunday around the domino table, telling the most incredible stories about her childhood in the Caribbean and struggle of relocating to the UK.
Rob Gillion, who co-founded the Youth Theatre with me, he was an actor then become ordained in the Church and that combination of theatre and faith is fascinating to me.
Mark Rylance is another one, not just for theatre but for life too, he is a great listener, which is a great skill for an actor to have.
And finally the young people I work with at Intermission, constantly inspire me with their amazing talent, their honesty and fearless approach to the work. I LOVE THEM
What are your favourite London haunts?
Ohh, so I’m a bit of a flirt when it comes to favourite haunts, I do not have a go to, instead I like to experience as many different places as I can. London has many hidden treasures, so I often go around digging.
The Chelsea Theatre is very cute, if you haven’t checked it out, you definitely should. There’s a great show opening on the 10th of Nov – Juliet and Romeo – by an amazing youth company!
Now my favourite place to eat is D-Connect, a Nigerian restaurant on John Ruskin Street South London. The food is terrific, and the atmosphere is great especially when football is on!