Interview with BBC CBeebies star Danielle Jam
It’s been almost two years since we last spoke with Danielle, who graduated from QMU in 2018 with a BA (Hons) Acting for Stage and Screen. She’s best known for her role as Daisy in the CBeebies hit TV show ‘Molly and Mack’.
Danielle took a break from filming the third series of the children’s family drama to chat to us.
What’s happened since your last interview with us?
I filmed the second series of the CBeebies show Molly and Mack; starred in my first pantomime; toured Sonnet Youth's theatre production of ‘thick skin, elastic heart’; and shot the BBC drama short, ‘Dash’.
What sparked your interest in acting?
When I was ten, I went to see my friend play one of the ugly sisters in the pantomime, ‘Cinderella’ at our local drama group. It looked like he was having so much fun; smiling and laughing. I was really drawn to the creativity and sense of play.
I then joined the same drama group and became ‘hooked’ on performing. I also became a member of Aberdeen Youth Music Theatre. All of the amateur dramatic shows and school productions really intensified my passion for acting.
What was your first ever acting role?
I played an orphan, a pick pocket and a milkmaid in an amateur dramatics production of ‘Oliver’. My first professional role was Daisy in the CBeebies show Molly and Mack.
Why did you choose to apply to QMU and what attracted you to the course?
I knew I could apply to the Acting for Stage & Screen programme after completing my HND at college and it seemed like the natural progression.
But, it was the audition process at QMU that was the deciding factor. The highlight was creating a devised piece; this was the first time that I had to write an individual theatrical piece.
I also felt a strong connection with the QMU lecturers, and I liked what the programme had to offer; there were a lot of aspects which were new and exciting for me.
And, I can’t pretend the opportunity to live in the beautiful city of Edinburgh wasn’t a draw!
Name one thing that you enjoyed from your degree course?
I loved studying Shakespearean, Greek and Restoration plays. It encouraged me to think about classical theatre in a different way and revealed a new way of acting.
What is your fondest memory of QMU?
Living away from home for the first time in a new city. I loved the independence, living on campus with new people. It helped me grow as an individual.
What’s been critical in preparing you for an acting career?
Preparing a business plan. At QMU, we were tasked with setting career goals and exploring alternative/co-existing work options to support ourselves between acting jobs.
The business plan, head shots, monologues and portfolio have been essential for the transition between student life and professional career. The QMU course taught me how to be an actor, not just how to act!
What three words best describe your time at QMU?
Transforming. Fun. Independence.
What's been your favourite role or production?
My graduate scheme production of Dundee Rep’s ‘The Snow Queen’ - that was very special.
It was such a big, full-scale, professional production. I adored being on stage, surrounded by incredibly talented people, creating a beautiful piece of drama.
Which role would you love to play and why?
I’d love to play Rosalind from Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ again. I performed the role in a student production at QMU but I’d like to play her with a fresh perspective; she’s my favourite Shakespearean character. Rosalind’s confident, head strong, resilient and witty. And, she doesn’t seem to worry about being typically feminine.
What's the best advice you’ve been given?
Taking care of my mental health and wellbeing is so important. It comes before everything.
Which do you prefer - stage or screen?
Stage – there’s more time for the rehearsal process!
They’re both so different, but with stage you’re allowed more time to get into character and practise your performance. Sometimes with screen, it’s so fast-paced that you may only have time to choose one or two options and go with it.
If you’d chosen an alternative career, what would it have been?
Something involving English or Literature. I love story-telling so maybe an English teacher or a novelist.
What are your hopes for the future?
More representation within the industry. It’s one of the things that drives me as an actress.
As a mixed-raced Scottish girl, it was deeply affecting to see other people who looked like me on stage and screen, someone who I could identify with. I wish more of our industry would bear in mind, when writing and casting, the people who we don’t see represented enough.