Former Five Ways Student Makes TV Debut
We caught up with former Five Ways student Nathaniel Dass, now starring in the new CBBC show ‘Almost Never’. The comedy-drama series follows band ‘The Wonderland’ as they follow their dream to try and make it big in the music industry.
Nathaniel stars alongside Fleur East and Emily Atack – fully recovered following their stint in the jungle. Watch the preview here.
- How did you get into acting?
I joined a theatre school when I was 14. They are called the ‘Theatre Workshop in Birmingham. I learnt various skills here to include singing, dance and drama. I was involved in various shows and supported some musicals at Birmingham Hippodrome.
- How did this opportunity come about?
My sister has been acting for about 5 years and one of the casting sites she is signed up to sent my Mum an email looking for teenagers who wanted to be in a ‘Boy Band’. My Mum sent my details without telling me! I was then asked to sing a song, play an instrument and read an acting script and send it on a self-tape online. Within 24 hours they contacted my Mum and we had to shoot to London. This was all about a week before my GCSE’s! It was a full day of auditioning in front of a large panel of directors, producers, script writers and the manager of ‘The Vamps’ music band. They had auditioned thousands of boys over a 6 month period so I was lucky to only have to do the last audition and then one final one the following day for the Head of the BBC for children’s TV. I was told I had been given the lead part just a few days before the GCSE’s started so it was a challenge to focus!
- At what point in school did you think acting might be a career to pursue?
To be honest not until I started filming in Cardiff where I had to move away to for 5 months. However I’m also interested in the music side and developing the band ‘The Wonderland’ There are various options I could look at but I also want to take my A levels at some point. This industry can be challenging and I think my education is still important. It’s all going really well at the moment and there are lots of plans for the show and the band. An American TV company has bought the rights to the show so if we are lucky enough it may go global. I guess it depends on the success of the show here in the UK first.
- How did Five Ways help you realise your potential?
Five Ways has been a great school for me. I’ve had some great supportive teachers. Obviously studying drama at GCSE level really helped and gave me some of the confidence I needed to perform. I had a great drama teacher! I also received a solid education and have a great group of friends. I should actually be sitting my ‘A’ levels right now with my friends but I was given a great opportunity so had to pursue that.
- What would you advise current students to do, who are considering a similar route?
I’d recommend joining a theatre or acting school but also develop your own skills. I started playing the piano and guitar aged 7 and without those skills I wouldn’t have been able to audition. I’d also recommend learning a form of dance and if it’s singing you’re interested in then singing lessons too. There were plenty of times throughout growing up that I wanted to give us some of the lessons and practice, it’s not always easy and you have to be committed. However I had quite a pushy Mum! The more skills you have the better but I’d definitely advise on taking drama and possibly music at Five Ways as GCSE’s.
Best of luck Nathaniel!