PUBLISHED: 12:00 03 August 2015
Proving there's more than one way to the big time, Jack Bannon has gone from Norwich Theatre Royal arts courses to roles in top films such as The Imitation Game. He tells Judith Palmer how Norfolk will always be home.
After having attended the acclaimed Norwich Theatre Royal arts courses for over a decade, young Jack Bannon felt despondent when he was turned down for a place at drama school two years in a row. But it was then that the former Notre Dame High School student decided to take things into his own hands. “I thought there must be another way,” remembers Jack. “I had done some TV as a kid (having been spotted while on the arts course) so I got in contact with one of the producers from that, and ultimately, over a lot of coffees, she put me in touch with my now agent.”
All that coffee clearly paid off, as in 2013 Jack landed the role of Sam Thursday in the ITV series Endeavour. “Sam is great fun,” says Jack. “He is usually always eating, which is good for me. One morning we were filming a dinner scene and I ate four tins of Heinz beef stew!”
Last year Jack moved to the big screen, taking on roles in Brad Pitt’s war movie Fury and multi-award-winning The Imitation Game starring Benedict Cumberbatch. Jack plays the schoolboy best friend of Alan Turing, Christopher Morcom, and says the part was “a great honour”.
“It was very surreal playing someone who influenced Alan Turing, and inadvertently has influenced all our lives so much,” Jack recalls. “When we were filming, I actually sat in the same place in the school chapel that Christopher used to sit in. I just hope we did Christopher and Alan proud.”
Jack is currently awaiting the release of his latest film, Kids in Love starring supermodel Cara Delevingne, which is due in cinemas later this year. Talking of the role he says: “It was so much fun and I made some great friends doing it. Cara and I don’t have any scenes together but we do share an agent and friends, so I see her around.”
When asked how his time at the Theatre Royal Youth Company prepared him for these big roles Jack remembers some of his favourite performances: “Stand-outs for me would be Dodger! and The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents,” he says. “But I also enjoyed Days of Significance directed by Daniel Burgess (also an alumnus of the Youth Company), Titus directed by Asa Cannell, and Vernon God Little directed by Jo Reil.” He gives special mention to Miche Montague who he worked with extensively and says they all “constantly pushed for perfection in a professional environment, which was the best prep for me”.
Now living in Peckham, Jack is hoping to return to his home city of Norwich this summer to watch his little sister Alexandra perform as Tinkerbelle in the Youth Theatre Company’s staging of Peter Pan Return to Neverland. “It’s great to see Bugs (what we call Alexandra) follow in my footsteps, I never had any doubt she would,” says Jack. “She dances too, so she’s a triple threat - much more talented than me!”
Speaking of his childhood in Norfolk, Jack says he loves the open space and even the flatness of our county. “Living in Peckham, there’s quite a large concentration of young people from Norwich. I live down the road from some of best friends from school, so we reminisce about Norfolk lots – it’s my home!”
Peter Pan Return to Neverland is at the Norwich Theatre Royal from July 29 to August 1. Tickets, priced £7 to £9, from the box office; 01603 630000.