With leading roles in BBC’s Wreck and the next season of Netflix’s Sex Education, Thaddea Graham is emerging as one of Ireland’s busiest young stars. But her creative curiosity does not end there. A passionate musician — she plays several instruments including the piano, guitar, and drums — she also has ambitions to write and direct.
Born in China, Graham was of the first internationally adopted children to relocate to Northern Ireland and was even featured on BBC Spotlight. “One of my first memories is sitting in a highchair with toasty soldiers and a dippy egg, and a camera crew in front of me,” she recalls.
Graham left the ArtsEd Drama School in London early to shoot Sky’s Curfew, quickly following that with Netflix’s The Letter For The King before scoring a leading role in another high-profile Netflix show, The Irregulars. “As a young actor, you can fall into a trap of being one thing, then everybody knowing you for that one thing, and that’s very hard to break out of,” she says. “But I want to be a chameleon, and hopefully I’ll be able to do a whole load of different things. It’s just navigating that.”
The County Down-based actor’s recent credits included Jodie Whittaker’s final series of Doctor Who, Dublin-set crime thriller Redemption alongside fellow Rising Star Patrick Martins, BBC horror-comedy show Wreck, and actor-turned-director Prasanna Puwanarajah’s bittersweet comedy drama Ballywalter.
The latter two shoots were particularly pleasurable, having filmed in her adopted Northern Ireland. “To have a script that sounds like home and is written in a dialogue that sounds like people I know was such a luxury,” she says. “It’s something I’d love to delve back into and explore more.”
Graham has been writing her first original series and is also working on her first play. “I’d love to do a movie and some stage work as well. I’d also really like to get into directing. I just want to keep learning, trying new things.”