Actor Sam Benjamin – ‘My first job taught me to stay playful, in rehearsals and on stage’
My first job was in September 2009 playing a character called Toby in a piece of new writing called Glasshouse at the Bristol Tobacco Factory acting alongside the late, great Geoff Abbott.
One of the directors at Drama Studio London, Jilly Bond, told me towards the end of my training there that she was producing a play and wanted me to audition for one of the lead roles in it. When I read more about the role I thought, ‘You know, I could bring something to this character’.
I can remember having a little bit of nerves because it was my first ever proper job and it was in a city I didn’t know. I guess I was focusing on soaking everything up. Jilly was the producer and I also knew the director – Holly Wilson, another practitioner who knew my work at Drama Studio London – so even with the nerves I went into the rehearsal room with confidence and a playfulness.
The show itself was an absolute joy to perform. That’s still my main note to myself today: stay playful, whether in the audition room, the rehearsal room, or on stage or on set. I know I’m at my best when I’ve done the work but then still stay free enough to allow unexpected things to happen.
I think my story also demonstrates that whenever you consider training, try to receive it from practitioners who are still active in the industry. Not only does this make it more likely you’ll receive relevant lessons, but it also means that someone who can employ you is seeing your talent. I’m not saying it’ll always work out like that, but it gives you the best opportunity for employers to know your work.
CV: Sam Benjamin
Training: Drama Studio London
Theatre includes: Glasshouse (Bristol Tobacco Factory), The List (Bush Theatre), Jerry Maguire (Soho Theatre)
TV includes: Doctor Who, Peaky Blinders, Stan Lee’s Lucky Man, Old Jack’s Boat, The Crimson Field, Little Crackers, Doctors
Other credits: Justice League (Warner Bros), The Few (YouTube), Double Cross (Amazon Prime)
Agent: Sara Sehdev at Core Management
Sam Benjamin was talking to John Byrne