Pandemic pushed actress to find her way onto the big screen
A Northampton actress is living her dream after deciding to follow her passion
By Sarah Becker
For many people the pandemic was a time in which their lives dramatically changed direction.
For 37-year-old actress Hadas K. Kershaw, it was a catalyst for a major life change.
The half-French, half-Israeli actress said:
“I had moved from Israel to Milton Keynes in 2014 and I was working as a mortgage advisor when the pandemic hit. My husband lost his job and I was hanging onto my job. Six hundred people were sent home and then another group of people were sent home for furlough. I was in that group.”
“Initially I was devastated,” she says, “really scared. I was inspired by a quote by comedy actor, Jim Carrey who said ‘you can fail at what you don’t want, so you might as well take a chance of doing what you love.’”
Hadas decided to use the enforced fallow period to try and realise her dream and pursue a full time acting career.
She had moved to West Northants in 2016 with her husband and from her home, she set up a website to promote herself, her work and her experiences – in Israel, Haddas had trained at the Goodman Theatre and Acting School.
“After the pandemic, I did get my old job back,” she says, “however, I cried when I lost it and cried when I went back because I had rediscovered my passion for acting.”
She decided to work part time and continued auditioning for acting jobs.
“That’s when I did a complete shift and my life took an amazing turn,” she said.
“The job that got me into the whole world that I love was a play called The Rubber Merchants written by a great Israeli playwright, Hanoch Levin,” she says. She played Bella, a money grabbing pharmacy owner in a bawdy comedy staged by Gamayun Theatre Company.
It was to be the first of a series of roles that Hadas auditioned for and secured.
This month she watched herself in a short film called Friday Night Shidduch on the big screen at The Everyman, a boutique cinema in Hampstead. Directed by Zara Woolf, it will soon be released on Amazon Prime.
Hadas plays a Jewish matchmaking mother in the comedy which centres around a family having a Shabbat dinner (a typical Jewish meal on a Friday night) during which she tries to fix her daughter up with a ‘nice Jewish boy.’ Her daughter, however, has other ideas - she wants to go out with a girl.
“The comedy arises from the interaction between the characters in the family. It’s about breaking with tradition, with stereotypes and explores a traditional family’s reaction to being gay. I loved the writing of the film – it really made me laugh; it tickled something familiar.”
Another recent role has been the mother of a holocaust survivor.
Staged by the theatre education company, Voices of The Holocaust, Kindness: A Legacy of the Holocaust was based on the testimony of Hungarian holocaust survivor Susan Pollack OBE who is still alive today.
It followed her life from the rumours of the Nazis arrival in her village to her horrific experiences inside Auschwitz where she was sent at the age of 13.
Hadas’ main role was Susan’s mother in the cast of four. She also played other characters in the play.
Hadas joined the production midway through the UK tour, which meant she had to learn her multi-character role incredibly quickly.
“I loved the challenge of that role,” says Hadas. “I attended only nine rehearsals and in that time had to learn a realistic Polish and Hungarian accent, the script and the choreography.”
“A personal highlight for me was seeing Susan herself in the audience of the first night of the tour.
I asked Hadas what attracted her to roles and what she would like to do next?
“What is most important for me is the writing,” she says. “I think acting is like a disease – I can’t get enough of it. I’ve been lucky enough to have been involved in such different projects.
“I’d love to do a feature film next. Who knows, aim high and go for it – let the wall tell you no!”
Friday Night Shidduch will be available soon on Amazon Prime.