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GO! THEATRE: NINA'S CLASS ACT IS JUST AS SHE LIKES IT.

Byline: Marion McMullen

IT'S gold stars and top marks all the way for Nina Sosanya.

She's in buoyant mood after just hearing that Channel 4 drama Teachers has been nominated for a Bafta TV award.

"A friend's just called me with the news," she says excitedly. "Imagine being nominated? Oh, I hope they're not winding me up. That would be awful. I'll have to check."

Fortunately, the Bafta nomination is genuine and Nina has plenty of cause for celebration. Teachers has proved a top television hit and gave Nina the plum role of strait-laced English teacher and fantasy figure Jenny.

"People did start to recognise me when the series was on and that was rather unexpected," says the 32-year-old actress.

"I remember being on the Tube one time absolutely exhausted after a long day and I was starting to fall asleep and I heard this group of teenagers whispering 'Is it her? Is that Jenny? Uurgh, it is'." Nina laughs: "Jenny cleans up better than me."

Channel 4 is currently filming the third series of Teachers but this time Nina won't be occupied giving out detention and marking homework.

Instead, she'll busy in Stratford playing Rosalind in the Royal Shakespeare Company's new production of As You Like It. Her previous RSC credits include Herbal Bed, Henry V, The Learned Ladies and The White Devil.

"It's going to be a little weird watching the new series of Teachers when it's broadcast," says Nina, "but I can't wait to see it." She adds shyly: "I always used to enjoy watching Teachers. Is that a terrible thing to admit? You get to see the back of your head on television. It's not a view you normally get to see."

The work has certainly been pouring in since Nina left the Channel 4 drama last year. She's appeared in Noel Coward's The Vortex at the Donmar Warehouse in London, The Marriage of Figaro at the Royal Exchange and will shortly be seen in new BBC drama The Debt with Warren Clarke and has a part in new Richard Curtis movie Love Actually.

"It's been great," says the dancer turned actress. "The best part of the job is the variety of different roles that you get offered, especially in the theatre. The first time I came across Shakespeare was in school. I had a lovely English teacher and we read Henry IV Part I. I even did my English exam a year early."

But, in case, anyone gets the idea Nina was a swot at school she quickly adds that she failed history and English literature, although she did manage an A level in theatre studies and dance.

Her mother is a scientist and Nina describes her as "very artistic" and says she took her to the theatre and to movies. "For a time we didn't have a television and we used to listen to plays on the radio a lot."

Nina's career has seen her working in physical theatre and with Oddsocks Theatre company and it was playing Desdemona in a fringe production of Othello that led to her appearing in Teachers.

"It was quite hard really for a long time. I've done all the odd jobs. I've worked in theatre bars. I was a receptionist for a week before I was kindly dismissed and I was a waitress for a week before I was again kindly dismissed. I even spent one summer working at my mum's hospital."

Nina pauses for a moment and jokes: "The only thing I can do is make drinks for people and act."

As You Like It runs at the Swan Theatre in Stratford until November 8. Tickets from 0870 6091110.

CAPTION(S):

BARD WORK: Nina Sosanya swops the classrooms of Channel 4's Teachers for the role of Rosalind in the RSC's As You Like It
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 28, 2003
Words:637
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