The Railway Children set – ©Mark Dawson Photography
THE RAILWAY CHILDREN – JULY 31-AUGUST 5
Andrew Joshi is looking forward to a first-class week in Norwich as he stars in The Railway Children at Norwich Theatre Royal from July 31-August 5. He plays The Doctor and Father in this new stage adaptation of the classic novel by E Nesbit. Norwich Eye caught up for a chat.
Norwich Eye: What is it about the show and the story that attracted you to this project?
Andrew Joshi: There were a number of things really, the story, which was one I was very familiar with and had read as a boy and was keen to tell, and also to work with the director Paul Jepson. His passion for the story was such that I really wanted to be part of the process and was thankful he employed me.
Norwich Eye: Do you have any memories of either the book or the iconic Seventies movie with Jenny Agutter and Bernard Cribbins?
Andrew Joshi: I read the play as a boy as I mentioned so my memories of the story of stem from that which I prefer but I can honestly say (and please don’t judge me Jenny Agutter fans) but I haven’t watched it. I saw the later version in which Jenny plays mother and my friend Jemima Rooper plays Roberta. But I will endeavour to watch it after the tour finishes as a send off
Norwich Eye: Tell us a bit about you. How did you enter the acting world?
Andrew Joshi: Quite a strange way really and a bit of an accident. I never thought about ever becoming an actor. I enjoyed theatre and performing as a child at school and was involved in Choirs and Operatic Societies but Football was my dream. After that was cut short I looked at working within the theatre world but wasn’t sure of what I wanted to do. I attended college and was told I wasn’t good enough to become professional actor so intended to take a year out.
My then girlfriend had bought a copy of The Stage newspaper and The Central School of Speech and Drama (not yet acquired it’s Royal status) were advertising auditions for the upcoming year. I applied thinking it would all be just for experience. I was offered a place on the day and two weeks later the journey began.
Norwich Eye: And you have a bit of a footballing past as well. Tell us a bit about that.
Andrew Joshi: Well only a brief flirtation really. I was a school boy and youth player for Leicester City till I was nearly 16. I played for 4 years but suffered a leg break during a match and things for me as a footballer were never the same again. Mentally I couldn’t reach the levels needed to be a footballer which still saddens me today. Apart from performing and my family it is my one big love in life. I eat, drink, sleep football and am a mad Leicester City fan
Norwich Eye: Returning to theatre, do you enjoy touring and how do you cope being away from your family?
Andrew Joshi: I do enjoying touring yes, I toured with Breakfast at Tiffany’s last year which was a much longer tour than this, but being able to see the country and experience many different theatres and hopefully bringing joy to audiences is why we do it.
Touring isn’t for everyone though and you have to have a: supportive spouses b: a lot of patience and c: a sensitive and caring outlook. On tours you spend a lot of time with the same people and being sensitive to how they are feeling, what they require and also what you need for them is paramount. People can become very tired and homesick and being able to manage that and yourself can be tough. We do this job because we love it and sometimes due to scheduling the actors needs and feelings are forgotten.
Being away from family is probably the hardest part of any actors job. Touring can be a lonely place, but surrounding yourself with your theatre family helps and keeping busy during the days is a great help.
Norwich Eye: Finally, as well as plugging the show, plug your blog. Tell us what you can see on there as well as some amazing behind-the-scenes photos of your fellow cast-members
Andrew Joshi: The show is one for all the family to enjoy, it has something for everyone. We’ve had wonderful responses and comments thus far from our audiences and can only encourage people to introduce their children to this fabulous story and maybe relive memories of a simplistic time.
As for my blog, which can be found at www.andrewjoshi.com is my way (much like a diary) of detailing what I’m up to and informing people of what this business is like. I like to post pictures of everywhere I work and the odd behind the scenes snap. For those that do see the show please feel free to comment on my wall about your experience.
The Railway Children, Monday 31 July-Saturday 5 August at 7.30pm, and Wednesday and Saturday matinees at 2.30pm. Tickets £7-£21. Discounts for Friends, Corporate Club, Over-60s, Under-18s and Groups. Signed and audio-described performance on Saturday 5 August at 2.30pm.
To book, log onto www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk or call the box office on 01603 630000.