Interview: Samarge Hamilton, “The whole process has been a real joy”

Samarge Hamilton recently finished a run in the world première of Isley Lynn’s Albatross with represent., a theatre company for actors from a lower socioeconomic background, at The Playground Theatre. He returns to represent. with Interruptions, opening on 22 November at Jacksons Lane Theatre.

As the company geared up for opening night, we spoke with Samarge about working in rep, creating opportunities in the arts and the challenge of playing 7 roles.

Q&A with Samarge Hamilton

Hi Samarge – thanks for speaking with us. How has it been working with represent. over the past few months? 
The pleasure is all mine! It’s been great if I’m honest. The whole process has been a real joy; the long hours, rehearsals, performing, the after-show atmosphere buzz – it’s just been wonderful.
Tell us about your role in Interruptions?
I have 7 roles in Interruptions. In each scene I’m someone else and each one has a different occupation, motivation and reaction; they all experience the same event in contrasting ways. I think that’s going to be fun to explore and play that many characters in one evening. It’s definitely a challenge I’m looking forward to.
Is there anything that has surprised you about the roles?
Yes, instead of preparing for one character I have to do it seven more times so that has been a long journey and it has really pushed me. What has also surprised me is the physicality of the piece, there’s lots of movement, lifting and detailed choreography. There’s also singing! Not too many roles I’ve done in the past have required me to sing so it was a massive surprise to find I’m not that bad- I can hold a note!
You’ve just finished a run of Albatross and are quickly following that up with Interruptions with the same company – how have you found working in rep?
It has been intense to say the least. It has really stretched me; I’ve been working my mind and body all the time. It is 100% commitment all the time. The company is great, and everyone has helped each other in some way so we’re like a little family now because we’re together every day. Rep is exactly what I thought it would be, and I have learnt so much and I’m still discovering new things every day, which is great; no two days are the same.
Can you tell us about the work represent. are doing to redress the socioeconomic imbalance in the arts?
I think one way they’re doing this is by creating a path. It’s a way for people who wouldn’t normally be able to afford to do something like this, whether that be due to lack of opportunities or finances, to experience the arts. This changes the game because they are giving six actors the opportunity to learn, work and perform every single day and not to have to worry about financial problems.
Samarge Hamilton in Albatross. Photo: Hannah Ellison
Does that work feel even more important given the effects of the pandemic?
Absolutely! I’m sure there are places that have lost money and funding and may not be able to put on similar projects even though they had intended to. To be able to do things still in this current climate, post-pandemic, is incredible.
How did you find your way into theatre? Was being an actor something you had always wanted to do?
I found my way into theatre from a young age when I was in a school production and some people came to watch and they wanted me to be in their play, I think it was somewhere in Holborn. It was so long ago I don’t really remember it! My older cousin and aunty would take me and every night since then theatre has found me one way or another, whether it be school trips to the theatre or someone inviting me to watch something, and I suppose it becomes a habit of going so much that you want to be involved.
What can we expect from you next?
All these different roles, and the challenges they’ve brought, have really developed my confidence and made me open to a myriad of roles I might not have typically gone for. I want to keep honing my skills so you might just see me where you least expect to. Watch this space!
Finally, how would you describe Interruptions to someone considering buying a ticket for the show?
Interruptions is a world in which there’s always some sort of disturbance. The play launches you into seven thought-provoking scenarios encountered in a country facing a crisis. It’s a highly physical piece and the singing elevates it! It has a bit of everything.
Interruptions is at Jacksons Lane Theatre until 4 December.