How did you start off in theatre?
When I was eight years old, I loved making people laugh. I turned that ‘classroom clown’ into an actor and fell in love with theatre, then television and film after training at Mountview. When I learnt how to make people laugh, I realised you can make people cry too, and most importantly, you can make people think. I then fell in love with the idea of making change.
What is the best piece of advice you have for students today?
The industry is like a long walk. Expect quiet times, scary times and muddy times. You have no map or compass so getting lost is part of it. Beautiful, irreplaceable scenes will come at times, but prepare to accept the dark clouds and turbulent weathers, to walk among fools and surrender to the fact that the bad guys are out to get you. Try to invite the world of drama into your life like a marriage. ’Til death do us part. Do not cheat, love hard and be honest.
What would you change about training in the UK?
More drama schools in the North. There is no reason for an actor to travel, train and struggle in London. We have everything here.
What is the best part of your job?
Seeing growth in an actor and boundaries being broken and becoming a thing of the past.
And your least favourite?
Seeing heartbreak – nursing a bruised actor after a knock, fall or rejection.
Who are the practitioners you admire the most/who should students be looking up to?
What is the one skill that every successful theatre/dance professional should have?
The ability to adapt to change, pressure and tension.
What is your main aim for the year ahead?
To see DJW become a recognised school for North East talent.
Daniel-John Williams teaches at the DJW School of Acting. He was talking to John Byrne