Wales On Sunday - - NEWS - KATIE GUPWELL Re­porter katieann.gupwell@waleson­line.co.uk

IT IS a renowned Asian theatre. With all the ro­mance, tragedy and heart­break of Romeo and Juliet, Ishq The Musi- cal: Le­gend of Heer and Ran­jhaa has a spe­cial place on the stage. Now, an ac­tress from Wales s has taken the lead role of Heer – the equiv­a­lent of Juliet – in the show in London’s West t End. Rasheeda Ali, 26, born in n Merthyr Tyd­fil and brought upp in Brid­gend, is liv­ing her dreamm af­ter years of train­ing in act­ingg 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 role in some­one to 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 fit into a cul­tural and, af­ter­wards, she bagged her­self an agent who helps her get reg­u­lar au­di­tions. But, at the heart of her pas­sion f for act­ing, is a love for old H Hol­ly­wood movies.

Her mum used to watch old films when she was grow­ing up and she became fond of muchlovedlo clas­sics star­ring ac­tors suchsu as Gene Kelly and Frank Si­na­tra.S

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

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

“But I’ve been in­volved in someso ex­cit­ing projects else­where too.to

“Af­ter I grad­u­ated I was asked to ap­pear in a few Bol­ly­wood films,film but I wasn’t trained as a Bol­ly­woodBo dancer so I had to take­tak 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 ex­plained 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 well­liked.

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.

Welsh ac­tress Rasheeda Ali

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