JADE ANOUKA is about to make an impressive jump to TV with roles in two major ITV dramas - both boasting impressive casts - that are sure to catapult her to the spotlight. Her debut role will be as the daughter of a high-achieving trauma consultant who is blamed for the death of a patient by the boy's parents at a London Hospital. ‘Trauma’ will be a three-part television event, with Anouka starring alongside John Simm and Adrian Lester. Then later in the year, Jade will be seen in 'Clean Break' alongside BAFTA-winning actress Sheridan Smith. Coming from a background of extensive theatre work - from performing at Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre to the Donmar Warehouse - Anouka heads to television well-prepared with a breadth of acting experience.
AC: To me, the most interesting thing about your role in ‘Trauma’ is that this isn’t a perspective in a medical drama that we usually see on serialised TV. What kind of questions and dilemmas does this story raise?
Yeah it’s about family, grief, blame, what makes someone good, what happens when the institutions that are in place to help us let us down, trust and understanding. My character deals with living up to her parents expectations of her, and the realisation you get as you grow up that your parents may not always be right.
Did you audition for the role? What are some of the things you do personally to prepare for an audition?
Yes I did audition. I got the scene the day before, it was a long scene, a brilliant scene that I can’t tell you about without giving any spoilers. I did the scene in front of the producers and director and the casting director read with me. She gave me some tips in the lift on the way up. I’m playing younger than myself, so I needed to get into the mindset of a teenager. I wanted them to see me as young. I walked into the room and got over excited at the big windows (there was this incredible view from a room at the top of the ITV building) I think that helped them believe I could play young, endearing. [laughs] Maybe not but I got the gig so I guess I did something right!
You’re getting to work alongside actors like Adrian Lester and Sheridan Smith, for you what are some of the generous qualities that make co-stars great to work with in scenes?
Amazing right? ‘Trauma’ is my first regular TV role and although I was excited and ready when I stepped on set, I was also pretty nervous. Adrian [Lester] was great to learn from. He comes prepared, he likes a joke but can also switch it on in an instant. He took me under his wing a bit. I’m currently working with Sheridan [Smith] in a new six-parter for ITV, I’m constantly learning by her example. She’s a brilliant actor and we have such a laugh on set. I think having that balance is so important.
Who do you look up to right now in the world of acting?
Oh so many people: Sophie Okonedo, Viola Davis, Kerry Washington, Noma Dumezweni, Tanya Moodie. I’m doing what I do because of those that go before.
When you’re looking for inspiration, where do you go?
To the countryside. To the seaside. To the theatre. To the woods. To my friends. To New York.
Last movie you watched?
‘Three Billboards’ [Outside Ebbing Missouri]
Best show to binge-watch?
‘How To Get Away With Murder’
As a poet yourself, can you recite a line that you find inspiring?
“I am a woman, phenomenally, phenomenal woman, that’s me”.
What’s on your music playlist at the moment?
Grace Savage, Shura, Rhye, Solange, Ibeyi, Syd, Stormzy.
Every has like a cool app idea, what’s yours?
One that connects to your dog’s chip and translates what your dog is saying/feeling.
What is the nicest thing that anyone has ever said to you?
“I’m in love with you”.
Advice to your younger self?
It gets worse but then it gets way better. Push through the dark, the light is on the other side.
Is there one thing in particular that you’re really excited about for the future?
Do you have an aim or a target for the year ahead?
Another good screen job and a good piece of theatre.
Trauma premieres February 12 on ITV