TAKE TEN: Charlotte Ritchie

Actress singer and JAGS alumna Charlotte Ritchie (JAGS Year of 2007) takes a break from filming to "take ten" with her biggest fans!

Charlotte Ritchie at JAGS Charlotte Ritchie at JAGS
What is your most lasting memory of your time at JAGS?

Assemblies in the Holst Hall. Just going to it twice a week and singing hymns - with some people holding the notes much longer than everyone else - and talking and constantly being shushed, and never learning that what I was saying wasn’t that important and probably could wait. And the people who came in to do talks, and teachers making announcements. And the pain of sitting cross-legged. It’s a really vivid memory for me. Especially as it was always in the same hall and you made your way from the front to the back of the hall with each year you got older. 

What are you doing now?

Just now I’m coming to the end of 6 months filming Call The Midwife which is a BBC drama set in 1960, where I play a Midwife. Then, I will be an unemployed actress, which is generally what my job is these days. Actress, I mean.

How did JAGS prepare you for the path you took after leaving?

It’s only after doing this job for a few years now that I realize JAGS really did prepare me for what I’m doing now. Not just because of the amount of drama I did at school. It’s also the sort of terrifying mix of total fear of failure and pressure to succeed, but also self-belief and a sense of feeling like you ought to be doing what you really want to do, rather than settle for anything. 

What was your favourite course at JAGS and how did it impact you?

My favorite course was probably drama. I realize now, having not gone to drama school, so much of what I learned about acting and performing I learned at school, from the wonderful drama teachers there and the plays we studied and performed. And the theatre! I didn’t really realize until I left – having a theatre like that at school is so rare. We were so lucky. I do regret not doing more sport though. Perhaps I could have been a fantastic runner and used the sports centre. (I really really doubt it.)

Which of your teachers at JAGS was most influential for you and why?

Aside from the drama department, I remember a teacher called Miss Bagshaw - now Sabben-Clare, I think - who taught us GCSE English. I think she thought I was possibly an air-head because I talked too much, but she really had so much enthusiasm and humor and love for her subject which made me love English. Mrs Barton and Miss Massey in the history department too - the latter especially who 
helped me a lot when I missed a lot of school in my A Level year.

What advice would you give your 18 year old self now?

Worry less about everything. And take a lot of holidays as soon as you can.

How do you define success and has it changed over time?

I think probably doing good work at a job you love, whilst still maintaining a life outside of it. It’s still the same I think. 

What extra-curricular activities did you take part in at JAGS?

The ones I can remember are: a lunchtime songwriting club, where we basically just did a cover of ‘Wherever you will go’ by The Calling, and a smulchy song which a girl I knew had written about a boy at Dulwich College; Gospel Choir – which was brilliant; and then speech and drama, and a couple of school plays. I might have forgotten some? 

Do you still keep in touch with your JAGS contemporaries?

Unfortunately for them, yes. The girls I live with are the friends I made in my first week of Year 7, and my closest friends are mainly all girls I met at JAGS. They’re what I’m most thankful to the school for, out of everything.

What House did you belong to?