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News > Life After Yarm > Yazdan's Journey in Theatre and Film

Yazdan's Journey in Theatre and Film

Former pupil, Yazdan Qafouri, has appeared both on stage and on screen since leaving Yarm and is currently touring the UK with Kite Runner.

Yazdan joined Yarm in 2010 and quickly found his place performing on stage in productions and musicals. He studied Maths, Further Maths, Physics and Theatre Studies but ended up leaving just before his A Level exams when he was selected to be part of Gary Barlow’s The Band after a gruelling live audition process on BBC1.

During his time at Yarm, Yazdan took advantage of all the opportunities the Princess Alexandra Auditorium offered and performed in Duologues, House Drama, Dance Showcase, music concerts and school musicals featuring in Bugsy, Grease, Fame and Guys & Dolls. 

We caught up with Yazdan to find out about his life post Yarm…

Can you tell us a bit about 'The Band' and how it felt to be part of an audition process on TV and then a high profile musical?

’The Band’ was life-changing and a bit of a whirlwind. It’s been a long time since the show and due to the intensity of the experience, I find that I don’t remember as much as I thought I would. I remember the stress, the long hours working and rehearsing, and the pressure. But I also remember many amazing things, the support from Yarm and the wider community, performing on incredible stages and living my dreams for the first time in my life. 

Do you think you would have gone into an acting career regardless of 'The Band’?

Yes, at the time of auditioning for the BBC Show, I was also auditioning for drama school. I remember I was at the final round for Guildhall and Oxford school of drama. I would have liked to have studied at Guildhall. 

Can you tell us a little about your roles so far and the highlight of your career so far?

Since the band I have been a part of many productions. Plays, Shakespeares, Musicals and a Netflix film. I couldn’t name one that was a highlight, it’s genuinely a joy every time I’m given the opportunity to work. 

Why are you proud to get the role as Hassan/Sohrab in The Kite Runner tour?

I’m proud because it’s a show I’ve always wanted to do. I remember watching the show in the West End in 2017 and wishing I could be up there doing it. I’m also proud because it feels like a show trying to do some good, to educate, and to make a small difference in the world. It’s rare you get to do work like this. 

Have there been any challenges or tough moments of your career? Do you think Yarm helped you prepare for these moments?

In dry periods of work, it’s always hard. Self-doubt creeps in, and you feel that your sense of worth is linked to your accomplishments. However it’s important to remember that life is more than just your work, and if you diversify and cultivate different things that make you happy, there’s always something to give you hope. That’s what Yarm helped me with. 

What advice would you give someone looking to go into acting?

Go to drama school, don’t go to drama school. Read plays, don’t read plays. Do musicals, don’t do musicals. What I’ve understood is that it doesn’t matter what you do. If you truly adore this field, if it’s all you think about day and night, and all you dream of - go for it. Immerse yourself in the pursuit of creativity and storytelling, however you see fit. There is no wrong path. 

What are your immediate plans and how do you see your career developing? What are your long-term dreams?

No immediate plans, my focus is on the tour and doing a good job every night. I have voiced an animated character for a new Lord Of the Rings film which should be releasing at the end of the year - I’m excited to see how that turns out. Long term I’d like to continue to make art I am passionate about, and earn a living doing so. 

If you could have your time at Yarm again, would you do anything differently?

I guess maybe I should have finished my A-levels. Once I won the TV show, things moved so quickly that I left school to start rehearsals and work straight away. But if I really pushed myself I could have maybe done them. However, like I said earlier, I don’t think there is really a wrong path, and I’m excited to see what the future holds. 

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