Rasheeda’s big stage role

RASHEEDA ALI, a young ac­tress who was a for­mer mem­ber of Brid­gend Youth The­atre, has just com­pleted play­ing the lead role in a West End mu­si­cal.

Glamorgan Gazette - - Front Page - KATIE GUPWELL katie.gupwell@waleson­line.co.uk

IT is a renowned role in Asian the­atre.

With all the ro­mance, tragedy and heart­break of Romeo and Juliet, Ishq The Mu­si­cal: Leg­end of Heer and Ran­jha has a spe­cial place on the stage.

Now, an ac­tress from Brid­gend has taken the lead role of Heer – the equiv­a­lent of Juliet – in the show in Lon­don’s West End.

Rasheeda Ali, 26, born in Merthyr Tyd­fil and brought up in Brid­gend, is liv­ing her dream af­ter years of train­ing in act­ing school.

Rasheeda said: “The story holds the same place in lit­er­a­ture in Asia as Romeo and Juliet does in the West.

“We per­formed on one of Lon­don’s most prom­i­nent stages – Sadler’s Wells.

“It was my first time play­ing a lead role and I was so ex­cited about it.”

As far as Rasheeda is aware, it was the first time the show had been per­formed in English in the UK.

It was put into pro­duc­tion to cel­e­brate the 70th an­niver­sary of Pak­istan’s in­de­pen­dence.

As Rasheeda is of mixed race, she is re­ally pas­sion­ate about merg­ing cul­tures and bring­ing two very im­por­tant parts of her life to­gether.

She said: “I of­ten think be­ing mixed race makes it harder for some­one to fit into a cul­tural stereo­type.

“For ex­am­ple, I’ve never been to Pak­istan but I’ve only ever been to one Bri­tish wed­ding.

“So my idea of a typ­i­cal wed­ding, for ex­am­ple, is dif­fer­ent. But then I was born and bred in Wales.”

Rasheeda was a mem­ber of Brid­gend Youth The­atre and trained at Gor­seinon Col­lege Per­form­ing Arts sixth form be­fore train­ing pro­fes­sion­ally at An­drew Lloyd Web­ber’s drama school, Art­sEd.

It was here that Rasheeda was re­ally able to de­velop her skills and, af­ter­wards, she bagged her­self an agent who helps her get reg­u­lar au­di­tions.

But at the heart of her pas­sion for act­ing is a love for old Hol­ly­wood movies.

Her mum used to watch old films when she was grow­ing up and she be­came fond of much-loved clas­sics star­ring ac­tors such as Gene Kelly and Frank Si­na­tra.

“I love to work in Wales when I get the op­por­tu­nity,” added Rasheeda.

“It means I get to spend time with my fam­ily and friends.

“But I’ve been in­volved in some ex­cit­ing projects else­where too. Af­ter I grad­u­ated I was asked to ap­pear in a few Bol­ly­wood films, but I wasn’t trained as a Bol­ly­wood dancer so I had to take lessons.

“Since learn­ing the dance I’ve been in about three or four Bol­ly­wood films.”

Rasheeda was able to learn a lot about the in­dus­try when she filmed on big­ger sets.

She said the Bol­ly­wood in­dus­try is very dif­fer­ent to the the­atre as, in Asia, the film and mu­sic in­dus­tries are more closely linked.

If she filmed for a movie, she of­ten ended up in a mu­sic video be­cause the songs are so well-liked.

Even though Rasheeda’s busy week of per­for­mances have come to an end, she hopes Wales will get to see a lot more of her on stage in the fu­ture.

Rasheeda Ali still classes Wales as her home

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