How to be an Actor with Emmanuel Kojo

Actor Emmanuel Kojo has appeared in Scottsboro Boys, Kiss Me, Kate, Show Boat and Twelfth Night at the National Theatre, London. Emmanuel tells us how he got into acting, how he earns money in between acting jobs and advice on how to stay positive.

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Hi, my name is Emmanuel Kojo. I'm 27 and I am an Actor, and I was born in Ghana. I then moved to Manchester and I think Manchester is probably where I came into myself and what I wanted out of life. My first job was called Scottsboro Boys after that I did Kiss Me, Kate, and Show Boat. I did Twelfth Night at the National [Theatre] which was one of the most important things I wanted to do. I wanted to do a Shakespeare [play].
I think for me in between acting jobs I think it's very important to have something that one, I will earn money but also it's gonna make me happy, and I'm working in a gym because I think my fitness is very important to me and I want to learn more about nutrition and health in general. So my first theatre experience was performing in Child Soldiers which we did at the Library Theatre in Manchester. I then went on to Pendleton (Sixth Form College) through that and Pendleton is in Salford, and that was when I really decided I wanted to be an Actor. So then the drama schools ArtsEd (Schools London) and GSA (Guildford School of Acting) came and auditioned at Pendleton. I then went for my recalls, I didn't get in in the first year. I then re-auditioned in the second year and I went to ArtsEd, and financially I couldn't have gone without the Andrew Lloyd Webber scholarship.
The first time I told my mum I wanted to be an Actor she said to me 'no, I want you to be a Doctor'. And I've kind of said 'Mum, it's not gonna happen I want to be an Actor' and it took me going to ArtsEd, getting the Andrew Lloyd Webber scholarship, getting Scottsboro Boys, and Show Boat. I think Show Boat was also the first time she came to the theatre to watch me and that was a huge deal. I think one of the biggest obstacles for myself is not being able to go to the bank of Mum and Dad, and kind of having to rely on myself to support my dream, and getting a job that is gonna pay the bills and pay the debts that I have to pay off and kind of in-between whilst I am waiting for something that will elevate me or take me to the next level where I'd like to be. It is so important to have a job that is gonna, like I said, pay the bills if Mum and Dad can't. I think the advice I would give myself if I was 14: stop doubting yourself. You are unique for a reason, no one is like you, there are people who are similar but believe in yourself.
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Published: 12 March 2019

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