From PMB to Hollywood

2016-07-13 06:00
Amy Letcher, in a scene from the U.S. film, ‘Reckoning’. PHOTO: supplied

Amy Letcher, in a scene from the U.S. film, ‘Reckoning’. PHOTO: supplied

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RAISED in Pietermaritzburg, actress Amy Letcher has taken her stage and screen acting to Hollywood.

The 22-year-old has already featured in a number of local and international stage productions and films, including Keeping Up Appearances (2012), which was filmed in South Africa.

In the U.S. she’s starred Reckoning (2014), Goblin Queen (2014), web-series Goody Two’s (2015), Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been? (2015), and is currently appearing in the theatre production Princess Freckles and the Forever Kingdom, which she also wrote.

The play, which is Letcher’s autobiographical one-woman production about growing up in Zimbabwe and South Africa, hit the festival circuit in the U.S. last year and has seen incredible success since its Los Angeles debut.

It was accepted into the Whitefire Solo Theatre Festival in February, and will be at the United Solo Theatre Festival in October.

Princess Freckles and the Forever Kingdom has been invited to the United Solo Theatre Festival - the largest solo theatre festival in the world - in New York in October. In the past, Academy Award winners have showcased work there, so I’m very excited about the opportunity,” said Letcher.

“I’ve also been on Black Sails playing Lydia, and worked on Hooten and the Lady and Killer Instincts with Chris Hansen, which are international TV series being shot in the Cape.”

The fourth season of the internationally acclaimed pirate drama series Black Sails is currently filming in Cape Town. The second season of Black Sails is aired on History (DStv channel 186) on Tuesdays at 8.30pm.

The actress, who attended schools in Pietermaritzburg­ including The Wykham Collegiate and St John’s Diocesan, started acting from age six, role-playing at every opportunity.

“The family had to endure numerous ‘Amy Productions’ at home - as did guests and their children who were roped in.”

She spent her senior school years at St Anne’s Diocesan College in Hilton, having moved there at her insistence because of its reputation for drama studies.

Her first major role was when she starred as Roxy Hart in the musical production Chicago, directed and produced by Lynn Chemaly, theatre director at St Anne’s Diocesan College.

Letcher took a gap year after school and worked for Scripture Union Independent Schools before enrolling at film school Afda in Cape Town.

In her first year, she won a lead role in a graduation film that was nominated for a Safda award and was chosen for the Durban International Film festival and the Shnit International Short Film Festival - a festival that takes place simultaneously on five continents.

“After a year at Afda, I was encouraged by my acting lecturer to audition for a place at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Hollywood. I auditioned, was accepted with two scholarships, and spent the next 18 months training,” said Letcher.

Reckoning was my first notable role that grew my screen-time and led to other roles,” said Letcher, who recently starred in Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?, a psychological drama hoping to hit the festival circuit.

Another festival film she starred in, Goblin Queen, was accepted into the 2016 Science Fiction + Fantasy Short Film Festival in Seattle.

She also performed in the AMTC Shine Talent Convention in Florida with over 900 other performers, where she won Best Overall Adult Actress.

“Living in LA has been a huge culture shock, and a bigger adventure than I could ever have imagined. To think I used to dream of this place when I was six years old … It’s kind of surreal - acting is such an all-or-nothing industry, and the American culture is very different to the South African one.”

“I miss home, but I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be, or anything I’d rather be doing. When you find what makes you come alive, the homesickness, the strangeness, saying goodbye and the daily mental self-pep talks - they’re all worth it.”

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