An Interview with British Actress Rochenda Sandall, of BBC's Line of Duty & Small Axe: Mangrove
British Actress Rochenda Sandall has consolidated her successful acting career by landing roles in a number of popular TV series including Love, Lies and Records, Coronation Street and Silent Witness. More recently she starred in the hit series Line Of Duty playing Lisa McQueen, a participant in organised crime, critically-acclaimed "Small Axe" Mangrove and Criminal: UK. Sandall talks to us about her early inspirations, landing her first major role and what she is currently working on.
How did you get into acting and when did you land your first role?
I got into acting after I achieved my A levels – my parents wanted me to have some education to fall back on. I knew I wanted to do something within the acting realm but I wasn’t sure what, so I tried out for drama schools, and luckily got a place at East 15 acting school on the foundation one year course. This was such an amazing course it really help me direct my focus into acting.
My first role after I left drama school was in the Howard Barker play called 'Scenes from an Execution' at the National Theatre with Fiona Shaw. It was such an amazing play to be involved in, especially as my first role.
What do you love about what you do?
I love the collaboration side of what we do. Acting is one of the many cogs that make the world of stories in theatre, TV and film come to life. It always amazes me how much detail art departments, sparks, makeup and camera teams put in, to help us create the truth of the stories we tell. It is always such an honour to be part of such talented teams of people.
You played Lisa McQueen who works in organised crime in Line of Duty. How did you get into character for the role?
Lisa McQueen was such an amazing role to play, I did a lot of research before acting the role, like reading newspaper articles on county line incidents. But again the world was created by the amazing actors and teams around us. Plus I had four epic seasons of Line of Duty to watch before playing Lisa.
Who were your inspirations growing up?
I know this sounds strange but the idea of living in London when I was younger was a massive inspiration for me, I didn’t always know I wanted to be an actor but I was certain about one thing: my adult life was going to be lived in the capital! It just felt so exciting to me to live in a place that was so vibrant and alive with possibilities.
What's your proudest career moment to date?
The proudest moment in my career was working with Steve McQueen in ‘Mangrove’ as part of the BBC’s ‘Small Axe’ series. It's a true story about the first time police brutality got taken to the high court. It’s such an important part of British history that was pretty much unknown before the show. I was so proud to be a part of this show, the people who worked on it are all truly amazing people.
What are you working on now and what can we look forward to?
I have recently been working on an Amazon series called ‘The Rig’, which explores the world of living and working on the oil rigs off the coast of Scotland. Fingers crossed you will be able to watch the show in autumn.