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5 Qs with: Thuso Lekwape, third-year Acting student

We talk to third-year Acting student, Thuso Lekwape about changing countries to study at NIDA, tackling Shakespeare and his dream role.
Third-year Acting student Thuso Lekwape in 'In the Blood'. Photographer Mark Nolan What and/or who inspired you to apply to NIDA?

I was given the chance to come and study in Australia from South Africa in 2008 and my guardians were very supportive of my interest in drama. I was accepted into NIDA, VCA and WAAPA, but I knew from the audition day that NIDA was where I wanted to be. The rigour that Jennifer Hagen, Di Drew and Katerina Moraitis expected was challenging and invigorating.

What have you most enjoyed about your time at NIDA?

Working with Acting Lecturer Kristine Landon-Smith on a monologue about Nelson Mandela on Robben Island. Doing work that relates to your roots is really enriching. I also learned a lot from working with guest directors like Tom Wright and Dominic Mercer, and all the talented fellow students.

What has been the biggest challenge?

Having to explore heightened language. My first languages were South African, Tswana, Zulu and Venda and I only began learning English in detail in the last few years of high school. Adding Shakespearian English to my list of languages was a huge challenge and I was determined to succeed. Now I love Shakespeare and am keen to perform in as many of his roles as possible.

Where would you like to be five years from now?

Working as an established actor in theatre, film and television. I have a crazy dream where I am acting in a South African film, speaking in my home language, and my mum is glued to the television set watching to see what happens next.

What would be your ultimate role to play and why?

To be honest my dream role was recently played by Idres Elba in the film Long Walk to Freedom. I think it’s one of the things I love about this craft – you get to live and breathe and think the life of someone else. I couldn’t think of anyone else’s brain I would like to pick more than Nelson Mandela’s. But there are also many other amazing characters with stories waiting to be told.

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