Growing up in Peckham as a self-confessed naughty kid at school, Sara Lessore never thought Shakespeare was for her.
But the actor, who is performing three plays with the Globe on Tour this summer, has been firmly proved wrong.
She said: “I’m a mixed race girl from Southeast London. In my head it was all white, middle-class, well-spoken sort of actors.”
It wasn’t until drama school that she began to change her mind. Asked to perform a speech by Juliet, Ms Lessore initially was reluctant.
She remembers saying: “I can’t do Juliet. Look at me, listen to me.”
But her teacher persuaded her to focus on the experiences she had shared with the character, such as being 16 or having a boyfriend that her parents disapproved of, rather than the differences.
Ms Lessore took the lesson to heart and has taken the same approach to her role as Miranda in The Tempest.
She said: “Miranda is this feisty teenager who’s having a go at her dad for raising a storm and potentially killing a whole bunch of people and then falling in love with the first man that she sees.
“Of course my dad hasn’t raised a sea storm and killed hundreds of people but I have been a 15-year-old girl who’s in love.
“I’ve experienced all those things, like being angry at your dad, falling in love, and finding excitement in the world.”
It was around the time when Ms Lessore was Miranda’s age that drama first piqued her interest.
In a Year 9 English class, the class acted out part of a play, and her teacher pulled her aside to recommend she take GCSE drama.
She said: “It’s only now in hindsight that I realised that she saw something in me and she’s the only teacher I’ve had that’s pushed me to do something and I’m so grateful that she did because now it’s my career.”
But the road was not a straightforward one. Ms Lessore took drama at GCSE but didn’t complete the course, and was kicked out of sixth form before she finished her A-levels.
She was on the verge of being kicked out of her BTEC course when she realised that acting was her true passion.
She went to drama school and then to perform around the country in a variety of different roles and plays. If she had the chance to give advice to a teenager like herself, Ms Lessore said she would encourage them to pursue creativity and have more faith in themselves.
She said: “I would 100 per cent encourage them to be more open to creativity, to being creative, and to being playful. And keep doing you. Have faith – you’ll get there.”
As well as Miranda, Ms Lessore is playing Duke Senior, Duke Frederick and Corin in As You Like It, as well as Helena and Starveling in A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
More information about the Globe on Tour can be found here: https://www.shakespearesglobe.com/seasons/globe-on-tour-2021/
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Former Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.