Jenni Wales on Acting in New York / by Declan Maloney Drummond


How did you get your start in theatre and what brought you to the US?

I got my start in theatre at the young age of nine when I begged my parents to let me audition for a production of Oliver, which would be performed in one of Glasgow's biggest and best known Theatre's (The Kings Theatre). I was successful in my audition and since then I have performed in over thirty productions in many theatre's up and down the country. It wasn't long before I branched out and started to explore working in television and commercials. America is somewhere I have always been drawn to, it is the fast paced city that never sleeps where so many have come to peruse their chosen career, and at the age of twenty three I decided I wanted to be a part of that and so auditioned and was accepted to attend The American Academy of Dramatic Arts (New York) from which I graduated last year.

What have you been up to since graduating?

Since graduating from The American Academy of Dramatic Arts I have been lucky enough to be a part of many play readings, theatre productions as well as short films with different companies some of which include Origin Theatre Company, PunchDrunk Theatre Company, Mind the Gap, The Pond Theatre Company. I am also keen to explore the education side of theatre, bringing theatre to young audiences.

Tell us about working on Pondlife McGurk.

Pondlife McGurk is a short play written by Rob Evans about two young boys, their friendship through primary school and how their decisions then impact their future. I played the role of Sharon (the school bully) who makes Martin's life difficult and who gives him the nickname “Pondlife McGurk” which haunts him for years to come. I enjoyed playing the school bully as the character is not only so far from me as a person, but different any character I’ve played, a challenging and rewarding experience.

What is it like working on international work for American audiences?

It was interesting working with an American audience, as I became very aware of the Scottish slang words and phrases that Rob had written and worried that the audience may not understand. I realized that It is my job as an actress to take the words written and translate it so the audience understand, which I feel myself and the rest of the wonderful cast did very successfully.

What are your plans now?

My plan is to continue to do what I love here in New York... to Entertain, Inspire and Create. To learn more about the arts community in American and in turn bring some of my culture and knowledge to create more theatre and film for all audiences.