How did you start off in theatre?
As a young person, I loved theatre but the thought of being on stage myself terrified me. I think that fear/excitement was the real reason I went on to train as an actor.
What is the best piece of advice you have for students today?
Nerve management. I see so many actors in training who think that every other actor they meet is naturally confident. These apparently ‘confident’ actors are simply working with the nerves they have, harvesting the energy and putting it to better use.
What would you change about training in the UK?
More TV acting classes. The rise of Netflix and Amazon, the rapid evolution of technology and YouTube channels that can get more views than a regular TV soap means the landscape of performance is continually changing and more artists can have their voices heard. Training providers need to adapt fast to make sure they prepare the next generation of artists who need to be multiskilled and ready to work on a number of platforms.
What is the best part of your job?
Witnessing the development of an actor, not only as a performer, but as a person.
And your least favourite?
I see too many gifted actors out of work and it is utterly heartbreaking.
Who are the practitioners you admire the most/who should students be looking up to?
You can’t beat the Stanislavski system. It might feel dated to some, but the values it teaches and the accessibility of the theories are great.
What is the one skill that every successful theatre professional should have?
Self-reflection should be at the foundation of every actor’s process, not only to grow and progress as an actor but when you begin to audition it is vital. This way, when you leave the room you will have a better, more informed opinion about how you played the scene.
David Crowley was talking to John Byrne. actupnorth.com