Interview With… Raphael Akuwudike

The actor chatted to LLLC about being in The Jumper Factory at the  Young Vic Theatre. 

Hi Raphael, what can you tell me about ‘The Jumper Factory’? The Jumper Factory is a new play written by Luke Barnes in collaboration with prisoners at HMP Wandsworth. It explores many prisoners’ stories through a single character.

What was it that initially made you want to be involved with the production? I was looking for stage experience and was very excited when I saw that The Jumper Factory was a new play for and by people in prison.

Could you tell me a bit more about your role in the show? I play an unnamed prisoner who is being confronted with his place in prison but also in wider society. All of the actors in the production play the same character in different points of his prison journey. My part is mostly reflective and displays the character’s inner battle with violent confrontation.

What were your first impressions of Luke Barnes’ play when you first read it? It was nice to see such an important story represented so honestly. The writing makes you feel vulnerable because it is from a very real world. The play makes you think about the isolation experienced by young men. It makes you consider the logistics of surviving prison and because of the input of the prisoners, it becomes less of an emotional problem and more of a primal survival issue.

What can audiences expect from the production? It is low-tech and high energy. It presents a tightly-knit group of actors who have grown together in the last six months. It’s a detailed exploration of prison life which is shown through humorous and poignant storytelling.

How do you feel about being part of the show’s run at the Young Vic? I am so excited to be part of this run. We started performing this play to youth theatre companies last July and for it to come this far, this quickly is a great moment for us and the whole team.

By Emma Clarendon

The Jumper Factory will play at the Young Vic Theatre from the  27th February until the 9th March. 

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