"I am ready to share my story," says Jada Blagrove about her graduation performance My Name at the School of Acting in Arnhem. "For my final performance, I chose to create a solo piece. I felt it was time to make my own voice heard. I want to address subjects without explicitly naming them so that everyone can relate freely."
"I have never been able to place a certain feeling. Why were certain questions directed at me and not at others? What made me often the only one addressed in a group? The accumulation of these things led to my unplaced feeling evolving into frustration. I have never been able to express this, and as a woman of colour, I have always been busy explaining and adapting myself as best as I could so that only my skin colour still felt 'out of place'. Now it's time to let my voice be heard."
A creating player
The solo with which Jada graduates from the School of Acting is called My Name. "In this performance, I share my personal story through music, dance, singing, and self-written texts", she explains. "I am a creating player who deals with societal issues. I believe it's important to share new stories and engage in emancipation." Symbolism plays a significant role in Jada’s work, where she hopes people understand the message.
This is my story, my voice. It's important that I tell it, and I am ready to let my voice be heard."
The process of creating My Name began in the third year of the School of Acting. In that year, all students write a graduation plan, outlining how they want to shape their graduation program. "I worked from intuition, and I translated personal experiences into words and theatrical images," says Jada. “I found support and inspiration in conversations with my mother (my best friend!), friends of colour, and my final director Priscilla Vaudelle.”
"I have a great connection with Priscilla. We have the same way of working. The crafting process went smoothly. I felt safe and could share personal things that I haven't even shared with others. Priscilla gave me invaluable advice, and I am very happy to have found her. It may sound cliché, but she feels like family."
Becoming an actor
Jada knew one thing for sure at a young age: she wanted to become an actor. "I always performed at home during birthdays," remembers Jada, with a nostalgic smile. “I started theatre at the age of seven at Jeugdtheater Rabarber in The Hague and later went to vocational education (mbo) in Rotterdam.” After her time in Rotterdam, Jada decided to audition at various schools of acting. "Eventually, I found the right match at the School of Acting in Arnhem."
When I auditioned at the School of Acting, I just knew that this was where I needed to be. It felt so warm and engaging. They really worked with the students."
The time at the School of Acting was confronting and transformative for Jada. "I became aware of my identity as a woman of colour and sometimes felt like I was attending two courses at the same time," she says, “because I was growing both as an actor and as an individual.”
After graduating, I will continue to set goals for myself."
Dreams come true
Like most School of Acting students, Jada already has job security. "At least until 2025, I have work lined up." Jada appears in "Goede Tijden, Slechte Tijden" and is part of the theatre company Bonte Hond in Almere, with which she will perform in the play "De Zijlijn" – about women's football and emancipation.
"After graduating, I will continue to set goals for myself," says Jada determinedly. "With a dream of acting in international films or series and portraying a character where my identity as a woman of colour is not central." Jada’s dream role? “A character where being a woman of colour is there, but not necessarily the focus. And preferably in an action film, or a beautiful (film) adaptation of a novel.”
More than learning a craft
With an ArtEZ course like the School of Acting, you learn a craft and you are guided through your personal development. The School of Acting's curriculum is focused on growth towards independence so that you, together with others, can shape the field of work.