Features | 17 April 2024

Waleed Akhtar: I wish I’d known…

I wish I’d known… Our series of interviews with theatre makers sharing their experiences of working in the industry

MGCfutures talks to Theatre Maker and 2021 Bursary recipient, Waleed Akhtar

When did you decide on your current career path?

I always wanted to perform but wasn’t aware of the different avenues into the industry. It was an evening class that made me think this was something I could do and pursue as a career. Writing was born out of that.

What prompted your decision?

I stopped acting at high school because it wasn’t what the lads did. Being a closeted queer kid, I just wanted to pass. I knew when I got older it would be a regret if I let that stop me, though, so I booked a class.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in the beginning?

My own confidence. For some it’s bred into them, for others we have to acquire it.

What has been one of the greatest rewards?

The friends I’ve made and the conversations I’ve had. With my play The P Word we had a bunch of people come to watch it who had been through the asylum process. They communicated how ‘seen’ they felt. That meant the world to me.

What advice would you give the younger you just starting out?

The bits you want to hide are the bits that make you great.