I first performed A Christmas Carol in December 2017, in a production that toured castles and cathedrals all over the country. The company found my CV on the Rose Bruford graduate page. The audition was in London, for which I prepared some script, an unaccompanied song and a piece on my flute. I was contacted the next day with the job offer.
As my first professional job out of drama school, I felt I had something to prove. The first week was spent obsessing over making a good impression and doing everything perfectly, but I soon realised the room was a safe and supportive space and mistakes were encouraged. My training had equipped me to handle the fast-paced, adaptable nature of site-specific/touring shows and I was also pleased that another member of the cast was making their professional debut in the show.
Making good friends with cast members definitely helps, especially when you’re touring or living in digs – having that someone you can whisper: “I’m struggling a bit today” to helped me cope. I learned a lot about living and working with people; when to give people space and when someone needs support. Actor-musician shows are vocally, physically and mentally taxing. You are both the band and the actors, and on this job we were also the stage managers.
I am back in A Christmas Carol this year at the Barn Theatre. Returning to this story is strange, but also a bit like coming home. However, it’s a very different production style and I’m playing completely different characters. You have to go in with completely fresh eyes and an open mind to new concepts. The beauty of this story is that there are so many ways it can be performed and there is something special about Dickens at Christmas.
When Scrooge is dancing with Tiny Tim at the end, no one can leave without feeling a little warm and fuzzy.
Trained: Actor musicianship BA (hons) at Rose Bruford College, London
Theatre credits include: A Christmas Carol UK tour, Split Second Productions; Watson, Come Here, I Want to See You, Quarter Too Ensemble; writing and performing with C4K children’s theatre company, who bring shows to children’s hospices across the UK
Agent: Lowy Hamilton Artists
Grace Liston was talking to John Byrne. A Christmas Carol is at the Barn Theatre, Cirencester until January 11, 2020