My first job was a feature-length horror film called An American Haunting. It was filmed in Romania and starred Donald Sutherland and Sissy Spacek. Blink and you will miss me. A casting director had seen me in a National Youth Theatre show called Low Dat during that summer and contacted me. I think it was the casting director, I remember that someone emailed me, because it was one of my the first emails I ever received and I was quite excited.
I was in my second year at E15. I had to take the day off to audition and I kept it a secret from my tutors and fellow students. I didn’t think I’d get the job but the experience and opportunity to attend a professional audition was invaluable and I decided it couldn’t be missed. When I got the part, I put East 15 on hold for a year but never went back. The audition was squeaky-bum time for sure.
Sneaking out of school for my first visit to the Spotlight studios, sitting in Leicester Square waiting and dreaming, sweating and shaking; it was terrifying. Coffee and cigarettes helped. To my surprise, I got the job. I was unrepresented at the time and had only the casting director to help with my contract. If I could go back in time I would have asked more questions and accepted more help. That aside, my first job taught me to believe in myself. To expect the unexpected and to be as open and as prepared as possible. That’s still my advice to other actors today: be open. Be adventurous. Be brave. Above all, enjoy it. And if you don’t, do something else.
Training: National Youth Theatre; East 15
Theatre credits: The Kitchen Sink (Oldham Coliseum); Fatherland (Lyric Hammersmith); The Caretaker (Bristol Old Vic and touring); Schoolboy/Lover (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Scrappers (Liverpool Playhouse); A Taste of Honey (Sheffield Crucible); Northern Spirit (Northern Stage); Coming Home (Arcola); Irish Pele (Contact Theatre); The Eleventh Capital (Royal Court Theatre); The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Harrogate Theatre); An Argument About Sex (Glasgow Tramway/Edinburgh Traverse)
TV credits: Hollyoaks (Channel 4); The Bill (ITV); The Omid Djalili Show, New Street Law, Silent Witness, Casualty (BBC); An American Haunting (film, 2004); Settlers (film, 2017)
Agents: Rebecca Blond, Rebecca Blond Associates (acting); Lucy Fawcett,
Sheil Land Associates (writing)
David Judge’s play Spark Plug is touring until April 13. For full details go to boxoftrickstheatre.co.uk. He was talking to John Byrne