60 seconds with... Danielle Jam
Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Danielle Jam, who will star as Anne in James IV: Queen of the Fight, which premieres in Edinburgh this September before heading out on a national tour.
What drew you to James IV: Queen of the Fight?
It’s such an epic story – and Ellen was a real person. I had no idea that she existed! She goes on an incredible journey from when she first arrives in Scotland to where she ends up and it's admirable. I just want to do her justice, honestly.
What do you think the importance of this story is, especially in a modern setting?
Well, it's about outsiders coming to the UK - people who look different from the majority of Scots at that time - and how they're treated. So there are plenty of parallels with today. I think it's a story about how you make your way in a completely new environment.
What do you love about being on stage?
Well, you have a lot more time to rehearse! There’s a lot more time to discuss your character and where you want to go with them. Also, we rehearse in a linear fashion as opposed to TV and film, which can be random bits. So it's more helpful for your brain to go on one straight path rather than pulling from every different section that doesn't really line up.
How would you describe this show to someone?
It's an epic history play about our country and a story that has literally not been told before. People that were hidden under the carpet in history and now we’re bringing it to the surface. So why wouldn't you want to come and see that?
Rona Munro is a bit of a living legend – how do you feel about working with her?
I’m so excited! We’re both from similar neck of the woods actually, so I'm honoured. You don't often get to work with writers from there, and it's really exciting for me being a Northeast Quine as well.
How do you prepare for a role like this?
I think that it's going to be a deep dive into her psyche. Ellen goes through a lot, and I want to honour that journey, especially as I know that she was a real person. Working with Laura and Dan will just be about building our relationships up, which is what the rehearsal process is for. Leading up to that, just… reading the script over and over! See how many lines I can cram into my head before we start.
Speaking of the language, how are you feeling about the language transition which happens during the play? (Laura and Danielle’s characters speak Spanish, French and ultimately Scots throughout the show)
It's really interesting. I've lived in Scotland my whole life, I've only ever spoken English, and Scots as well. But people don’t always expect a Scottish accent from a person that looks like me.
I think it’s fascinating that she learns more as she goes on. And it'll be interesting to see what she keeps from her North African and Spanish roots by the end of the play. I don't know yet how much - if she's thrown all that away or if it's still in her.
What excites you the most about this production?
The James plays are really powerful stories about our country and that's all I want to see. I've always been a fan of stories gone before and history, and. It’s also a big cast. The scale of it is very, very exciting.
All images shot in the Festival Theatre on the day we also shot the main promotional image (below).