Last evening, on the first Oliver Awards that she has ever attended, Sheila Atim took house the accolade for Greatest Supporting Actress In A Musical, minutes after giving a show-stopping efficiency from her newest function, which introduced a wet-eyed viewers to its toes.
Her award-winning half is, in fact, as Marianne in Conor McPherson’s Lady From The North Nation – the five-star play scored by a reimagining of Bob Dylan’s songbook. The present has united audiences – each Dylan followers and never – and critics in rapture, a response that the 26-year-old actress informed us forward of final evening’s ceremony means quite a bit, given the danger concerned in taking well-loved music and giving it a brand new spin. “The present was created with quite a lot of love, quite a lot of ardour, quite a lot of artistic generosity and so it is good to know that we’re getting that again,” she stated.
In a play providing quite a few stand-out performances (her co-star Shirley Henderson received Greatest Actress In A Musical final evening), Atim shone together with her heartbreaking rendition of Tight Connection To My Coronary heart. She takes the popularity that she has acquired for it in her stride.
“It is a function that has generated quite a lot of consideration and the track has generated quite a lot of consideration, and it is all good consideration which is beautiful,” she informed us. “The character of theatre is that it is on after which it is gone. And so I transfer on to one thing else and I’ll turn into another person and that is going to be one other chapter. It is all about wanting ahead and having fun with issues after they occur, but in addition not getting too caught up within the second.”
Recalling her first audition for what would transform a career-affirming half, Atim is characteristically laid-back. “It was fairly fast, simply actually nice and low key, and I left considering it was a pleasant audition however I did not assume ‘Oh yeah, I smashed it’.”
A yr on, her method to auditions is equally philosophical. “Generally if you go for one thing and also you really need it, inevitably there’s going to be that little voice in your head that goes ‘I actually must get this’. However I suppose that I used to be conscious very early that it’s important to throw issues away, you may’t go away an audition room and deal with it an excessive amount of.”
“I do know that there are such a lot of components out of my management. I simply must go in and do the perfect that I can on the day. And I couldn’t be proper for roles for X quantities of causes, in order that’s how I attempt to method every thing,” she continued. “Any type of performer, you are continually having to show your self, so it’s important to strive to not internalise every resolution an excessive amount of as a result of they will really feel like a judgment of you and, really, it is simply the enterprise.”
Requested who has been her greatest supply of inspiration within the business, Atim credit her early alternatives to her first mentor, Che Walker, a trainer at WAC Arts – the Belsize Park arts charity that provides inclusive performing arts programmes to younger individuals.
“He is very ‘what you see is what you get'” she stated. “In order that makes me really feel snug being precisely who I’m with out having to placed on something additional. I take into account myself a reasonably simple individual with no frills, so it is good to know that there’s someone who’s encouraging that, someone who sees that and appreciates that.”
It is not solely Atim who Walker and WAC has supported and impressed – Michaela Coel, Daniel Kaluuya, Danny Sapani and Marianne Jean-Baptiste are amongst her fellow alumni. Atim – together with different previous college students – has labored to fundraise for the initiative in recent times, after its funding was reduce. Accessibility to the humanities is a matter that Atim is keen about, and eager to advocate.
“It is completely very important, it is the identical as sport. I feel doing the humanities makes higher adults. It isn’t truthful if solely sure kids can entry that. Even simply giving them the prospect to see a present. My college was nice as a result of I received to see fairly a couple of full exhibits, however I do know that is not a typical factor. And I went to a state college as nicely. These few experiences actually modified the way in which I noticed issues.”
So what recommendation would Atim give to younger, aspiring actors?
“I might say, inside purpose, be a sure individual. Say sure to alternatives that is perhaps scary or attempt to put your self ahead for issues that will on the floor not look like ‘that is my large break’ or ‘that is going to make me a great deal of cash’ however you assume you are going to study one thing.”
“One other piece of recommendation is to try to create stuff,” she added. “I do know not everyone seems to be a author, not everyone seems to be a musician or a composer, however having just a little glimpse into one other facet of the business is admittedly essential. It broadens your thoughts, it broadens alternatives, and I feel that is very a lot the place the business goes today – lots of people are multi-talented.”
Openness and flexibility are attitudes that Atim applies to her personal work life. She does not have a dream function, as a result of her favorite jobs up to now have been those which have shocked her probably the most.
“There’s all the time a task that is available in and takes me off guard, which really as a black girl might be very uncommon since you might be put right into a field, as can many various teams of individuals,” she thought-about. “And that actually drew me to the writers and administrators I’ve labored with, as a result of they’re those who had the imaginative and prescient to write down a component for somebody like me or solid somebody like me, and we’d like extra individuals like that. I do not wish to second guess something, however I am hoping that extra roles maintain coming in and shocking me.”