Meet the Cast – Jessie Jane Knowles (Part 1)

As we’ll be talking about our actors in most of our posts we thought we’d let you hear about their time with Entita in their own words.

Starting with Jessie Jane Knowles – our longest standing ensemble member who has worked with us on all but one of our shows. If you have any questions you’d like to ask Jessie, feel free to comment below and they might feature in Part 2!

Let’s get started:

So Jessie, how did you first get involved with Entita?

Way back when! I suppose the long of it all started with a lack of physical theatre on our course at university – so a society was created and out of that Entita was born. I loved it from the beginning and have stuck with it ever since, really, within many facets; performing, devising, sourcing, costume and being a general ear and sometimes shoulder to cry on as, lets face it, the road to success is not always easy.

Do you have a favourite or most challenging project from Entita?

It is honestly very difficult to pin point my favorite project and I’m not just saying that! Maybe a good piece to tie favorite and most challenging together would be ‘Turbulence’ which we worked on in 2013. (That took a lot of Facebook photo scrolling to work out!) Favorite because the initial devising of chorography stands out in my memory as being super fun and having some of those big ensemble movement sections that Entitia is known for. ‘Most challenging’ as performance week didn’t go as smoothly as it deserved to through some lacklustre reviews. However, the company took this in their stride and used it as a learning curve to discover new determination. 4 years on I honestly don’t think Entita would be what it is today without this show. To use someone more eloquent than myself, “Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty…” (Theodore Roosevelt)

Jessie performing in Curtain’d Sleep during its debut run at Basic Space Festival, 2016

What was your attitude towards Shakespeare through school & before working with Entita?

To put my response bluntly: I hated it! To me it might as well have been a foreign language and why we were made to dissect every single painstaking word of each line baffles me. No joy was found for me as an adolescent with Shakespeare.

How about now?

Well well well, quite the opposite. I do still struggle with the language, it hasn’t shown itself to me simply yet, however, at my own reading pace, in a quiet room, I have been known to enjoy Shakespeare’s prose! Working with Entita has allowed me to almost think outside the box with his plays and, in doing so, find beauty within them, embodying his words or phrases as with our current play ‘Curtain’d Sleep’.

How do you think attitudes towards Shakespeare can be improved?

By changing your initial mind set. As with everything if you begin with any negative feelings it’s going to be an uphill battle. So instead find something positive and enjoyable in the work.

Jessie performing as Ophelia in Curtain’d Sleep in 2016

Do you have a favourite Shakespeare character?

Katherine from The Taming of the Shrew for sure! She has such a fiery personality and strength within her which can be uncommon for Shakespeare’s heroines.

How do you feel the movement language has developed in the company through the last 5 years?

Attention to details, questioning and re-questioning the meaning behind movement so its not done because it looks pretty or cool but for the direction of the piece and it’s vision. This has moved the company on to professional and more succinct movement as the directors have become more knowledgeable and passionate. That has instilled us as performers with fresh inspiration and purpose.

What Shakespeare would you love to tackle next?

Might have to stick with Taming of the Shrew there – who doesn’t want to spit those words between Katherine and Petruchio in Act 2 Scene 1 “No cock of mine. You crow too like a craven.”

Although I do think it would be cool for Entita to reinvent Romeo and Juliet and give the play a new lease of life with some original twists.

– – – – – –

We aren’t quite finished with Jessie yet – post up any questions you may have for her and we will add them to ours for Part 2 coming soon…

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