A* drama student
Daisy Edgar-Jones' TV career continues to soar as she appears in the BBC's Silent
Witness this week. Over the holidays we saw her in the Christmas episode of
Outnumbered, and before that as a main character in the latest series of
Daisy came to
Woodhouse from The Mount School for Girls and lives in Muswell Hill. She left us last summer with an A*AB in drama and theatre studies, English language and
She is also the face of Drama in our current
2017 prospectus, and when she returned to us for a photo shoot last Autumn, she
talked to us about what acting means to her and how Woodhouse fitted into her
Daisy... on her acting
"When I was young at primary school, I was very average at subjects, I wasn’t really ‘good’
at anything, just in the middle - and quite shy.
Then, when I was
in year five, we did a school play - and that was the first time I
remember people saying “wow that was really good” and I thought ‘Oh… I’m good
at something!’ It seemed acting was just the thing that I was best at.
We were studying
the Tudors and Henry VIII, and my
teacher had made a script up that was like a Jeremy Kyle type
show with Henry and all his wives coming on. I was Anne Boleyn and strutted on
stage with a fake head under my arm and gave it all this ‘sass’, and everyone
thought it was really funny - and I thought ‘I really love this’. Then, in year seven I played Alice
in Alice in Wonderland and Peter in Peter Pan, and just found that this (acting)
is where I excelled most… so I pursued it.
“A lot of girls
from my old school came to Woodhouse and I’d heard good things about it. When I
came to see for myself on open day I just loved it, it was such a change from school.
When I first
started here it seemed like a big place with so many people, but I’d had
experience of meeting lots of new people at the National Youth Theatre so I
wasn’t too scared and everyone was really nice.
What I like about
Woodhouse is that everyone is starting afresh. You’re not going into a place
that’s already full of friendship groups and cliques - everyone just
wants to meet each other.
I found Woodhouse to be very friendly and a
great environment to learn in. The staff are so helpful, but they also encourage you to do things for
yourself. I think it’s incredibly important to learn to work independently
before you go to university because that’s going to be a big step up.
Daisy and friend at the Woodhouse Prom
I loved the drama
course here, it was brilliant. Unlike a lot of other schools, it focuses on
the practical. At my old school, we were just given a play and we put it on, we
didn’t get to study practitioners and rehearsal techniques.
I love that we did
drama games at Woodhouse like ‘zip zap boing’. Making a fool of yourself in the
games unites you as a company -
and that’s how it felt at Woodhouse - that we were a drama company not a class.
We all worked together and were comfortable with each other. You build trust,
which is important because when your acting alongside someone you need the
trust that you’ll make each other look good. It’s all about team work. It
reminded me of my experiences at the NYT.
During the course,
we went to quite a few plays - Othello by Frantic Assembly and Macbeth at the Young
Vic were very good. I hung out with my drama mates a lot because we all bonded and got to know each other
with the National Youth Theatre
"Any drama student
who is seriously ‘into drama' should audition for the National Youth Theatre
because it’s the best company.
I joined when I
was 14 (which is the youngest age you can join) and it was difficult to get in
because they only want the best in the whole country, but I auditioned and made
Once you are a
part of the company you get so much acting experience – it’s one of the main reasons
I can begin to act professionally now.
When I was 15, I went on a two week induction course with all of these enthusiastic
young people who love drama and we lived in student accommodation and worked
together for two weeks. It was crazy, but for me it felt like the first time I really ‘fitted in’ as I was with people that were
just as passionate about drama as me.
Since then I’ve performed at the welcoming ceremony for the 2014 Commonwealth
Games in Glasgow, welcoming the athletes into the village - which was brilliant.
Then I worked on a show called Home Grown which was a quite controversial show
about islamophobia in Britain - I met some amazing people there.
Last summer, I took
part in the NYT Diamond Gala Show and performed at the Shaftsbury Theatre. It
was an unbelievable experience that I will never forget. We had three weeks to
put on this massive show, and they had NYT alumni there too - Matt Smith (former Dr Who) was there, and
Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig, Timothy Dalton, Orlando Bloom… big, big names.
We had one scene where we were all
on stage for a festival in tents, it was a production based on A Midsummer
Night’s Dream and we did little sections from the play. Matt smith was in it and
my friend Billy and I had to hide in a tent with him. Billy asked Matt if we
could get a photo, so we took a selfie with Matt Smith, in a tent, on the stage
of the Shaftsbury Theatre - it was the weirdest experience… it was really cool.
The Diamond Gala cast
I can’t find the words
to express my appreciation for those opportunities and the stuff I’ve learnt
through NYT and their contacts… I met Kate Buffery - who’s an amazing Shakespearian performer - and she ran a workshop
with us about the language of Shakespeare. That helped me at Woodhouse when
I studied English because I’d already covered a lot about the performance side
of scripts. I also got my agent through NYT - and that’s how I got my
first paid job - so NYT is such a great start because professional acting is a
very hard career to pursue..."
"I had the best
time filming Cold Feet. I play one of the grown-up twins from the previous
series, so I’m there to support the five main cast members. The writer Mike Bullen wanted to make sure that the story lines were focussed on
those original five characters, so the only real view of the kids was through the eyes
of the parents. Hopefully, if it goes to another series there might be a bit more focus on the kids.
Working with James Nesbitt and the rest of the cast was great
and I gained lots of experience. Although some days I’d have to come in and
literally say one line - spending all
day saying the same line from different angles - and it doesn’t feel like I’m
acting anymore because the editor becomes the performer when they are putting
the scene together - I’m just saying
one line again and again… and then they pick the one you were worst in because
it fits with the edit.
It wasn’t a huge role,
but for my first TV part I’m kind of glad because it’s a big show and I’d had
no experience of film or TV - or even professional theatre. I’d have found a bigger part more pressured and
quite hard, but this one meant I could still do my A levels and I travelled
back from Manchester to go to college during the week. Woodhouse were great
about giving me time out to go and shoot and helped me keep up with my course work.
Scene from Silent Witness - Season 20, Episodes 5 and 6 - Discovery
I’ve a bigger part
and a lot more airtime in the Silent Witness episodes I shot and I’m glad that
happened after Cold Feet because by then I was a bit more aware of how things work
on set. That said, the camera crew would still say “Can you just ‘banana’ around
the set?” and I’m like ‘What!?’
To learn all the
tricks of the trade when acting on camera (that you can’t pick up in a school
environment) you need real experience, and it’s
great that I’m getting that now."
"I think that drama
is one of the most valuable things you can learn because it teaches you a lot about
life, how to communicate, and how to understand texts written through the ages.
I don’t think its appreciated enough as a subject. It’s increased my awareness
of art and that helps me to understand other cultures and how we can connect as
humans by appreciating theatre together.
I saw King Lear at the National Theatre
by Simon Russell Beale, all performed in Shakespearian English - and then I
watched a production at the Young Vic by the Belarus Free Theatre (who are
banned in their own country because their content is deemed too provocative)
and the whole thing was done in Belarusian and I didn’t understand a word - but
I got the same messages of the loss of power and the fear of aging that are
prevalent in King Lear from both plays. It showed me what a universal thing
drama is, it’s all about the human condition.
...on the future...
I’m still applying
to go to university. People often go on to drama schools like RADA so that they
can get an agent, but I’m lucky enough to
have one already. I want to go to uni because it can feel a bit like living in a
drama bubble otherwise, and I want to interact with lots of different types of
people and keep on learning.
I spent a lot of time in Manchester
filming Cold Feet and really like the city, so I’ll apply for a BA there, I
like the look of the drama course at Manchester University because it gives you
options to study other routes into the industry - be it director, writer or
editor - because I’m interested in the
whole creative arts world, not just performing.
airs in January and for now (I’m on a gap year) I’m just auditioning for stuff
that I probably won’t get. Acting work is sporadic so I’m also applying for a job at John Lewis to tide me over - but I’m just happy
that I got my first paid acting job - Cold Feet - and that I’ve got my agent
something. Hopefully it will lead to a second series for me. Fingers crossed.
Ultimately, I’d love to become a member of the Royal
Shakespeare Company and do Shakespeare properly - to perform at The Globe would
be amazing. But I think to be a working actor is good enough for me - just to
make a living at it, because it’s what I love - so to be able to do it as a career is my
ambition, even it’s just little parts here and there on radio or whatever… we’ll
Since our interview Daisy did get a call back from an audition and had a main role in the Christmas episode of Outnumbered as Kate, Jakes current (or not so current) girlfriend.
We wish Daisy continued success in her acting career and also her applications for university.