Harry Potter star makes Chichester debut

Alfred Enoch – known to millions still as Dean Thomas across seven Harry Potter films – makes his Chichester Festival Theatre debut in extraordinary times.
Alfred EnochAlfred Enoch
Alfred Enoch

And in an extraordinary play.

Originally due to play in the Spiegeltent this autumn, Sarah Kane’s Crave will be staged to a live, socially distanced audience in the Festival Theatre and – in a first for Chichester – simultaneously live-streamed to global digital audiences.

Alfred is delighted to be joining the cast – and not simply because it is great to be on stage again.

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“To work again is no small thing, but on a deeper level this play seems to represent an opportunity to do what I wanted to do and what I needed to do which was to speak to this collective and also individual experience that we have all been having.

“That’s one of the attractions of Crave for me. I think it can really speak to this moment.”

In a damaged world, four characters search for the light. Angry, funny, defiant, kind and cruel, Crave comes promised as a deeply personal meditation on the meaning of love.

“We have had this seemingly collective experience but really it has been so different for everybody and people have all experienced it so differently.

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“They have been forced to spend a lot of time by themselves or just with their partner, but certainly in a reduced world, and I think that puts a focus on yourself, on your own psychology which we just don’t have in our normal lives.

“And I think the mental health challenges of the last few months have been huge.

“And here is a play that speaks to our psychological life and the struggle of being an individual trapped in your own body and in your own mind.

“Potentially there is hope. I do think there is hope in the play.

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“That does not mean that there isn’t also despair in it, and I am not saying that the hope wins. The play is in that tension between hope and despair, between life and death.”

Alfred was rehearsing to play Romeo in Romeo & Juliet when lockdown struck: “We had got to the end of the second week or rehearsals.

“And week three was interrupted because our director had to isolate. That was the situation. It was not clear if it was going to go ahead.

“We were trying to carry on as best we could, but we were thinking was it really going to happen, were we really going to be able to be on that stage at The Globe in front of 1,500 people. And of course we didn’t.”

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But Alfred is clear: he had a fortunate lockdown “certainly compared to people across the country and around the world who were having a terrible time.

“I was just wanting to try to find a way to respond to it personally.”

Since his Harry Potter days, Alfred is delighted to have enjoyed a varied career.

His theatre credits include Coriolanus and Timon of Athens; his television work includes Sherlock and How To Get Away With Murder – all after a remarkably normal childhood.

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“I had fallen in love with the Harry Potter books, and to me Harry Potter was a huge thing.

“Perhaps naively I thought it was huge because it was huge to me. And it was wonderful to stumble into it.”

A long journey across a number of years and seven films: “There were so many talented people.

““They had high expectations of themselves and others and what they were trying to do, and that was a huge part of it.

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People were working as a team and understood what they were doing. You feel that with a play in rehearsals. Hopefully by the end of rehearsals, you understand it.”

And yet it remained a normal childhood.

“I went to school. I went to university.

“The whole thing happened. It was just that there were experiences that I had that other people didn’t have as a result of it.

“But for the most part, it was a normal childhood which was punctuated by going off to shoot these massive films.

“But it didn’t feel like it stopped me from doing anything else, all the usual things you would want to do.”

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Crave by Sarah Kane, directed by Tinuke Craig, Festival Theatre, runs from October 29- November 7; live stream, October 31-November 7.

Crave contains strong language and is recommended for ages 16+.

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