Northampton's own Tiwalade takes first steps to become West End star - but she needs your help

A future West End star from Northampton has taken another step to becoming an international name in acting.

Thursday, 25th April 2019, 12:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 25th April 2019, 4:28 pm
Tiwalade's journey has taken her from Northampton to New York and now to the West End.

Tiwalade Ibirogba Olulode, 24, has been hand picked from over a thousand to become one of only 16 young actors for the National Youth Theatre REP Company.

The course's graduates have been launched into international careers in the past, and include Ellise Chappell (2015) who plays Morwenna in BBC One’s Poldark and Lauren Lyle (2015) who stars as Marsali in the Amazon Prime drama series Outlander.

But to survive the intensive nine-month course, Tiwalade needs Northampton's help.

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Northampton's-own Tiwalade Ibirogba Olulode is on her way to becoming a West End star. Photo from 'The Good Landlord', directed by Cat Robey.

The course is the culmination of Tiwalade's life-long love for acting. Her journey has seen taken her from performing with Northampton's Royal and Derngate Drama Group the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York for three years.

Tiwalade even fought through contracting Malaria twice during a year in Nigeria until her health brought her home to London.

But while recovering, she took a shot at the NYT REP Company auditions to rebuild her confidence.

She said: "I didn't tell my parents or anyone. I kept quiet about it because I wanted to see where it would go.

Tiwalade on stage in New york for Mud, River, Stone by Lynn Nottage at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, directed by Dennis Reid.

"Every time I got an email saying I got through to the next round I had to keep it to myself.

"Then one day I was waiting at a bus stop when I got the phone call saying they wanted me to join. I couldn't believe it."

Now, Tiwalade is set to start the course on May 6 - in less than two weeks time.

The nine month course ends with three solid months of performing on the West End, where Tiwalade and her group will be taught by some of top producers, directors and writers in theatre.

Now, the 24-year-old needs Northampton's help to get her through the nine-month Rep course on her journey to become a West End star.

But the course leaves almost no room for the actors to work shifts or take jobs - which is where Northampton can help.

Tiwalade said: "The course is a full-time commitment in London, where living expenses are already so high.

"I'm saving up to pay my bills during the course. When even £1 can buy a pot noodle it feels like every little helps."

Since setting up the donation page two weeks ago, Tiwalade has already raised over £1,400 from people who want to help her succeed.

She said: "There's a lot of anonymous donations who I can't even thank personally. I'm just so grateful that people have shown they believe in me.

"I want to say thank you to my family who have been my backbone, but especially my mum who has always told me to go for what I have a passion for."

For more information on Tiwalade's journey or to make a donation, visit her Crowdfunder page. Follow her progress on Instagram and Twitter at @TheTiwalade.