Interview with Emil Marwa

HCAC is excited to introduce a new instructor: Emil Marwa. Marwa has been involved in the entertainment industry for 25 years as an actor in both theatre and film. Some of his work include the role of Muneer Khan in BAFTA winning movie, ‘East is East’ and Norwegian hit, ‘Izzat’ in which he played the lead role where he was nominated for best actor at the AMANDAs. With his expansive and growing body of work, we know we will have alot to learn from Emil Marwa in the Acting on Camera 101 Workshop. But first, let’s get to know him on a more personal level.

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1. Tell us a little about yourself.

I am Anglo Indian, born in Norway and brought up in London. I trained at Rose Bruford College of Speech and Drama from 1993-96 and have been in over 30 films and lots of UK TV shows. I’ve also worked in the west end several times. My wife, Jude, is a teacher at Dulwich College Singapore and I have 2 children, Maia and Silas. My wife always wanted to work abroad and Singapore is a great place to bring up children, thats why I’m here! I still have my agent in London and go on tape for UK and US productions. I have just finished filming a new sitcom here in Singapore for HBO Asia as a series regular and am very excited about teaching this workshop!

2. What is one thing that we don’t know just by looking at you?

I speak fluent Norwegian.

3. How old were you when you first started getting involved with theatre?

I was 8 years old when I played Peter in Peter and The Wolf in a school production. I realised then I loved story telling and wanted to be an actor.

4. Tell us your favourite memory as a performer.

My first job when I graduated was a play called East is East. We did a national studio tour and sold out everywhere and got a transfer to The Duke of Yorks Theatre in St. Martins Lane. I remember the press night and getting a standing ovation, doing 3 curtain calls and just thinking this is it!!! I love what I do.

5. Who is your favourite theatre practitioner?

Bertolt Brecht is by far my favourite theatre practitioner. Controversial and revolutionary, his aim was not to purge the audience’s emotions but to awaken the spectators’ minds and communicate truth to them. In order to achieve this end, drama must not hypnotize or entrance the audience but must continually remind them that what they are watching is not real, but merely a representation, a vehicle for an idea or a fact.

6. What do you teach?

I am teaching film and TV acting technique.

7. What is your teaching philosophy?

I believe optimum learning takes place when students are actively and rigorously engaged in the learning process.

8. What skills, values or mindset do you most want to impart to your students?

As an actor, there are fundamental techniques that can be utilised to enhance a performance for camera.

9. Tell us your favorite memory as a teacher.

My favourite memory as a teacher is teaching/directing a group of refugees from Myanmar for a week leading to a performance piece.

10. What do you wish you’d known before you started your journey as a theatre maker?

To enjoy it more.

11. What do you hope for the future of theatre to be like?

Here in Singapore as in most countries, theatre should be accessible to all walks of life, not just the bourgeoisie and should be free to make comments on current politics.