Therica Wilson Read, the London-based actress known for The Witcher, began acting at the suggestion of her mother — and has since become one of the most exciting voices in the industry. Putting herself in others’ shoes, immersing herself in their worlds, and bringing their stories to life, she takes on a variety of roles and excels at all.
Whether as Sabrina in the new season of The Witcher or in roles across Young Wallander, Suicide Club, Profile and upcoming projects Stop Motion and Back to Black, she is absolutely stellar.
We caught up with Therica about stepping into someone else’s story, the new season of The Witcher, and working hard to make the stars align.
Read the interview…
Hi Therica! How are you today?
I am really well, thank you.
At what age did you start acting? Did you know that you wanted to do it at an early age? What initially excited you about it?
I didn’t grow up thinking that I would be an actress. For a while I was interested in pursuing Law or Psychology however my mum suggested that I should try out for Drama School. I think she could see that it was always acting that I was the most passionate about and the thing that brought me the most joy. I think that constantly putting yourself in someone else’s shoes makes you more empathetic of other people. One of the most beautiful things about acting is you have to immerse yourself in the character to understand and sympathise as to why they make certain decisions even if they don’t align with my own social or emotional beliefs. It is a privilege to take someone else’s story or words and bring their personal history to life in a play or on screen.
When reading a script, what makes something stick out and make you want to be part of it?
There is a certain excitement that comes with a project or script that is guttural. It is an all-encompassing feeling of wanting to read more and to immerse yourself in that world.
You have so many projects coming out! Can you tell us more about them and the characters you play?
Sadly, I can’t give away any spoilers but what I can say is that I was fortunate to recently work with Marisa Abela and Jack O’Connell on Back to Black directed by Sam Taylor Johnson. Participating in a film about Amy Winehouse was incredibly moving for me as despite not knowing her personally I felt that I had grown up with her by listening to her music, watching her interviews, singing her songs in a performance at RADA and also through the media. It is wonderful to play a part in spreading awareness of the issues she was battling with in the hope it will help others as well as being respectful and kind to her memory. I am also involved in an exceptional debut feature film directed and co-written by Robert Morgan. It’s a psychological horror about a stop-motion animator that slowly becomes a battleground for her sanity. Working with Tom Tork, Aisling Franciosi and Caoilinn Springall was wonderful and watching their work was incredibly inspiring.
What initially drew you to The Witcher and the role of Sabrina? Did you know about the books and games before Netflix started production? We read that you’re a bit of a gamer…
You have heard right. I am a little bit of a gamer and had played the game when it was released but I was yet to read the books. I have always loved fantasy and I was beside myself with excitement at having the opportunity to audition. When I got my first audition the character name wasn’t Sabrina and I spent a weekend before meeting Sophie Holland, reading as much of the books as I could, trying to find this mystery part. If I remember correctly, I walked into the meeting with her holding one of the books. I have an intense soft spot for Sabrina and for The Witcher as a whole. Her feisty attitude, cutting comments and extreme confidence is incredibly fun to portray and the show has not only been a turning point for me professionally but has also given me numerous very good friends.
This character has been with you for a while now. How has it felt to grow the character season by season? Are there any teasers you can give us for Volume II at the end of July? Is she going to stir the pot some more after the mischief we saw in episode 5?
Sabrina feels like a second skin to me now. There are quite a few differences between us however at this point I know how she thinks and moves. As I have grown as an actor and a person so has she and It’s always been important to me to show her development into that character that everyone loves in the books. I try to go back to the source material before every season starts and revisit Andrzej Sapkowski’s Sabrina Glevissig and see if there are traits of her that I can highlight more in each season. In Season One, you watch Sabrina turn from the girl who never was able to get her mothers love and consequently turned her mother fat through magic into Sabrina’s ideal version of a powerful woman. In season two you see her after a battle in which she stabbed Yennefer, a woman who despite the rivalry is probably the closest thing to a sister she will have. Season Three is when she knows who she is and her place in the political spectrum. She is happy to speak up and against people when she believes what she is doing is right. She’s really leaning into the rivalry with Yennefer and exploring new ways to exasperate her. In Volume two she is causing havoc and finds herself fighting desperately to save not only herself but the people and places she’s loved and protected. You see her break a little and show her vulnerability.
Do you have a favourite memory from filming season 3?
We have all been together for such a long time that there are thousands of memories I treasure. The one that stands out the most to me from this season is when we were in the makeup trailer and due to the vast nature of the scene, lots of us were in that day. There was a playlist with some amazing hit songs from Whitney Houston and other artists. We ended up all dancing and belting out the words in the middle of the makeup trailer. It was pure unbridled joy and a testament to the crew and the rest of the cast for creating such a supportive and caring environment.
The Witcher must be the biggest show you’ve worked on so far? What’s it like on set and how does it differ to what you’ve done before?
There are lots of differences between The Witcher and other shows I have worked on from the use of special effects, stunts, the length of the shoots and many more. Another difference is that The Witcher has an incredible fan base not only from the show but the games and the books and it’s exciting having so much source material to immerse yourself in. It is not only the biggest show I have worked on but also has the biggest cast and crew behind it. There is so much hard work that goes into the making of these shows including the amount of work it takes in pre and post production. However, at the core of it, no matter the size of the show or how popular it is, the people I have worked with have always been incredibly kind and generous.
You’ve appeared in quite a few different genres of film and TV now. What would be the perfect next role for you?
There are so many roles I would like to play next that it’s hard to be succinct. I would love to work with Emerald Fennell, Greta Gerwig, Chloe Zhao, Damien Chazelle, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese and James Cameron. I would also love to perform at The Almeida or National Theatre.
What is the biggest thing you learned in your career, so far?
In life and whatever field you head into, there is always an element of luck, the idea that the ‘stars align’ but I like to think that the harder you work the more stars there are in your sky and the higher the likelihood you’ll end up where you want to be.