Actor's new start in New York

THE transatlantic graveyard is full of aspiring British talent who didn t quite make the grade in the US, writes DOMINIC WIGGAN. Cracking America is a challenging phrase bandied around for every promising singer and actor produced on these shores. But r

THE transatlantic graveyard is full of aspiring British talent who didn't quite make the grade in the US, writes DOMINIC WIGGAN.

"Cracking America" is a challenging phrase bandied around for every promising singer and actor produced on these shores. But rarely does the pursuit of glory in the so-called land of opportunity end happily.

One man fighting to break the mould is Anatol Yusef, above.

The 31-year-old, who grew up in Egerton Gardens, Seven Kings, and later in Vicarage Lane, Chigwell, has launched a theatre company in New York and recently appeared in a Harold Pinter production in Washington DC.


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A man of many talents, Anatol is also publishing a book of short stories in December, which may be recorded as a one-man radio show.

This classically-trained actor, who was part of the Royal Shakespeare Company before his departure to the US, still remembers his east London roots and his grandad's fish'n' chip shop in Rainham.

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Anatol said: "I went to Eastcourt Primary, Goodmayes, but when I was seven we moved to Chigwell.

"It was while I was at school that I became interested in drama. They held singing and drama classes on a Saturday.

"One day while I was there, a child actor agent came in and I was showing off as usual. Before I knew it I was being offered parts on TV.

"I remember doing a commercial when I was very young; I think it was for the Shreddies cereal."

Anatol went on to notch several TV credits as a teenager including episodes of Jeeves and Wooster, with Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry, and the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.

He was in Grange Hill and an extra in the film Aliens - you can see him in the director's cut.

But it wasn't until after the tragic death of childhood friend Dean that Anatol realised he wanted to turn his acting into a career.

He said: "In my early teens, people were always telling me I was going to be an actor. And I think out of some rebelliousness, I used to say 'no I'm not, I'm going to do something else.'

"But I think the moment that made me realise there was nothing else I wanted to do came after Dean's death.

"I had my first major role in our school production. I was playing Macbeth and was doing a scene where Lady Macbeth dies.

"Coming off stage I went to the toilet and looked in the mirror and realised I was crying. I had just grieved for my friend because this was the first production I had done without him.

"I thought to myself this is what I was meant to be doing."

Anatol has been living in New York for about two years and has just finished playing Jake in a production of Pinter's Moonlight in Washington at the Studio Theatre.

"Moving to New York was liberating, but kind of scary. I had left behind somewhere where I was respected within the industry, to move where no one knew me.

"In New York, I am cast in roles from different backgrounds, including the UK. My name doesn't limit me as much as it had began to in England. People hear the accent first.

"Although, once I did a reading of Edward III with this girl who later asked my friend why I was putting on a phoney English accent!"

To find out more visit his website at www.fixitsolife.com

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