For our “Ask The Star” feature we got to spend some time with Jonathan Chambers, an actor known for his theatre and TV work. Jonathan trained in acting at Arts Ed and Musical Theatre at the Royal Academy of Music.
He recently starred in The Unbuilt City, written by New York native Keith Bunin and co-staring Sandra Dickinson at the Kings Head Theatre.
How did you get into acting, was there a particular performance you saw that resonated with you?
I grew up in Jamaica and didn’t have huge access to the theatre, though I did do the occasional school play. When I went to University in Canada to study Marine Biology, I had the chance to do a musical (Chess!) and I fell in love with the whole thing. So I’ve been working since then at being an actor.
You recently starred in The Unbuilt City at The Kings Head, what it is like doing a shorter run of a show?
I’ve been lucky enough to do both shorter and longer runs and as long as you’re working with a lovely cast, both can be brilliant.
What has been your favourite role you have played and why?
It’s hard to pick just one, because you tend to do work that you respond to, but I did a play called The Lightning Child, by Che Walker at The Globe and I played a character called Ladyboy Herald. Che had adapted the part for my Jamaican accent. It was a huge, glorious part and I loved playing him. I’d be remiss if I didn’t also say the role I’m currently playing as well. Aspects of my character resonate so deeply with aspects of my own life.
Where has been your favourite place to perform on stage and why?
Shakespeare’s Globe. It’s an incredible place that still has a real ethos of a company building.
What is the most rewarding thing about your work?
Doing this play, people have come up to me afterwards and told me how much the play related with a particular part of their lives. Being able to move people is very powerful. I also love the company of actors.
What’s been a funny moment for you on stage? Any mishaps you want to share?
There have been a few times when either I or another actor in a scene have gone “off piste.” And you can see our eyes widen and we try desperately to get back on track. Those moments are terrifying while you live them, but very funny afterwards.
Are there any shows you recommend we should see on the West End/Broadway/Touring?
I loved Everybody’s Talking About Jamie in the West End.
What do you like to do in your free time?
I have two gorgeous nieces who I try see as often as I can. I also go to the theatre as often as I can. I try to keep fit enough to deal with the fact that I love food as well.
What’s your go to song for auditions or just singing in the shower?!
Hmm, I don’t really have a go to song for a musical, because you have to sing something appropriate for what your auditioning for.
Is there a role (regardless of gender) you would love to play in a musical/play?
I would love to play Richard II
Where can people see you next?
Not sure yet. I have a few projects in the pipeline for next year, but the next few months are woefully dry. But I have a big birthday this month so I’m taking some time out in August to go back to Jamaica to celebrate. So hopefully, something will come in after that!