Migrating from Zimbabwe to Australia at five years of age as a political refugee, Pacharo developed an interest in acting in his final years at high school and attended NIDA when he was 17. For Belvoir, the actor has appeared in Gwen in Purgatory and Antigone and we’re thrilled to have him back on home turf for our knockout first show of the year, Prize Fighter. He’ll tackle the role of Isa, a former boy soldier from the Congo with a shot at becoming the next Aussie boxing champion.

Do you have a pre-stage ritual you can talk us through?

I like to relax before going on stage. I read the production or go through the whole show at least once before coming to the theatre for preparation. I conduct an initial vocal warm-up at home and I use the time at theatre to connect with the other cast members and speak about the day. I still do minor warm-ups at the theatre.

What’s the biggest mishap that’s occurred while you’ve been on stage?

I performed in a Dan Evans and Marcel Dorney production of The Tragedy of King Richard III. In the production, I was wielding a real sword in water a few centimetres deep, with water raining from the roof. I slipped on stage and almost lost grip of the sword. My fear from that point on was impaling an audience member. It never happened! It is the most cautious I’ve ever been on stage.

What kind of impact does the audience have on your performance?

I really like to listen to the audience, but most importantly to my fellow actors on stage. You can tell if they are a visual audience or are finally tuned to the dialogue. Theatre is a dance so I fine-tune the performance with regard to audience numbers, location in the theatre, and their involvement, without compromising the story.

How do you feel about Opening Night – excitement or dread?

I love Opening Night. I do not dread it at all. I embrace it. I think it’s the athlete in me. When it’s game day playing sport, there is nothing more you can do but enjoy it. No amount of training or stress is going to change the outcome. I take the same approach to theatre. I work very hard in rehearsal and the preview shows so I can enjoy the show and party afterwards!

Are you an actor that can let go of a character once you leave the stage?

Letting go of character is an easy thing for me as I give all I have in every performance. I love to hyper-focus throughout the production and give myself to everything that is happening on stage. As a result, I’m usually fatigued and ready to get back to reality.

Prize Fighter is playing 6 to 22 January.