My name is Jesse Sipho Dunbar, I’m currently studying at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School on their 3 year BA Professional Acting course. My childhood was in a word, nomadic, having moved from the USA to South Africa before finally arriving here in the UK in 2013. Performing has been the one constant in my life other than my adoptive mother. I was first introduced to theatre productions in 2011 performing in a school production of Aladdin; however, my passion only began to take shape years later when I got the lead role of Joseph in ‘Joseph and his technicolour dream coat’. The show opened my eyes to the compelling, entrancing effect of the performance and the intoxicating applause of the audience. This experience spun the proverbial needle of my passion having initially been squarely set on sport over the next 6 years evolved and realigned itself with my true desire for a career in acting. During those formative years, I experienced working in various performance settings from physical theatre to musicals as well as live singing performances in and out of school.
"I have a desire to create work with inspired people who, like me, enjoy creating and telling stories and sharing experiences."
I have looked forward to every school play I’ve been in, actively seeking participation in any form, whether it is a leading or supporting role. To name a few, I played Britney in ‘We Will Rock You’, James Riess in ‘Charles III’ and Henry in ‘That Face’ by Polly Stenham. Nevertheless, I appreciate the importance of all the elements that contribute to a production beyond the more visible roles and understand the hard work and dedication required by all to make performance night possible. Singing forms part of my repertoire too. I have achieved my Grade 8 in Classical Singing while enjoying a wide range of songs from classical to contemporary. I welcome feedback on my development and have actively participated in festivals to hone my craft.
Since starting in 2015 I have participated in News Reading, Sight Reading and solo Acting categories all in an effort to broaden my horizons to performance. I joined the Yvonne Arnaud Youth Theatre (Guildford) and performed in The Gift of the Magi back in 2019, a production heavily influenced by Charlie Chaplin. Movement-based communication was central to this performance and I learned about conveying subtle messages through movement alone. Exploring characters and portraying them on stage during my A-level intensified my interest in acting because of the increased depth and research involved with both the theoretical and practical sides of drama. Learning about practitioners such as Stanislavski, Commedia dell'arte and Dario Fo has helped me delve deeper into the art of acting and better connect with the character, fostering a greater understanding of how meaningful an actor's relationship with the audience is.