Danny-Boy Hatchard is used to being watched by an audience of millions. As EastEnders’ Lee Carter, he entertained a multitude of viewers for three years. His new job could not be more of a contrast.
Having left the London-set TV drama earlier this year and after a stop at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre this summer to star in Oliver Twist, he’s one of a three-strong cast in a new thriller at the intimate The Bunker.
Written by Alex Gwyther, Eyes Closed, Ears Covered is the tale of two teenagers who bunk off school to take a trip to Brighton. But behind their youthful hijinks lies a far darker story. Danny-Boy Hatchard tells us more:
How would you describe Eyes Closed, Ears Covered?
It’s a thriller and dark comedy about two boys, their journey to Brighton and the obstacles they face. In a nutshell, the play is about the impact domestic violence can have on a young individual’s mental health.
Why did you want to appear in it?
I love working on new material. It’s exciting. You never really know how the audience are going to take it. The script had bags of potential and once I had met the creative team I realised I wanted to be a part of the journey in bringing this play to life.
How would you describe your character, Aaron?
He’s a live wire who cares deeply for Seb.
How do you feel about performing at The Bunker?
It’s an exciting venue in a very central area; I’ve been wanting to do something there for a while.
The show features a small cast of three. How is working with Joe Idris-Roberts and Phoebe Thomas?
They’re great actors, very focused and very talented. We make a great team.
How are you feeling about being back on stage after your time in EastEnders?
Great. It’s nice to change things up a bit. I think treading the boards again after being in front of a camera for a long period of time is always a good decision.
What was your first experience of theatre?
I was 10 when I was cast as Oliver Twist in my school play.
Why is live performance so special?
Depending on what show you’re in, it can be very different every night, and I find that exciting.
Apart from The Bunker, what’s your favourite London theatre?
I’m a huge fan of the Royal Court Theatre. I’ve been going there for years, not just to see new plays but to purchase the scripts. They produce some pretty special shows in that place.
What one piece of advice would you give aspiring performers?
Read lots and, if you can, write lots. It’s important to keep building and stretching your imagination.
What’s your top tip for a trip to the theatre?
Don’t buy noisy food.
Danny-Boy Hatchard stars in Eyes Closed, Ears Covered at The Bunker from 6 to 30 September.