My first job was in 2000. It was a TV film for the BBC called Care, filmed in Cardiff. It was a very gritty drama about abuses in the youth care home system.
My agent put me up for the role, and I met the director Antonia Bird, who was a very experienced and well-regarded director, having done lots of BBC drama and several previous movies, and casting director Gary Howe, who would go on to work on everything from Tracy Beaker to Doctor Who. Sadly, both of them are no longer with us. I remember it as a very relaxed meeting. Antonia just wanted to chat and get to know about me and where I grew up. Even though they made it as low-pressure as they could, I was still very nervous. After all, it was my first big TV casting.
All things considered, I think I held it together well, but if I was doing it again, I would make sure I was able to talk more about the director’s previous work. It’s so important to research who you are potentially working with, and these days, I always do as much research as I can before a casting. The other lesson from that casting was that when you turn up you need to be prepared to read – but you should also try to be relaxed and open to whatever might happen in the meeting, because it might not be what you were expecting.
As in my case, the director might not ask you to read straight away (or even at all) but instead want to just chat and see who you are. You should definitely be prepared to talk about yourself and, if you have also done the research so you feel confident to talk about the director’s own previous work, it can go a long way towards making the connection that gets you the part.
Training: The Bridge Theatre Training Company
Theatre credits include: Belonging/Perthyn, Gladiator, Green Man/Red Woman (National Theatre Wales), Caligula, Stitching, Light Arrested Between the Curtain and the Glass
TV/film credits include: Hollyoaks, Torchwood, Da Vinci’s Demons, Emmerdale, Last Summer, The Lighthouse
Agent: John Setrice at MacFarlane Chard
Nathan Sussex is currently playing the role of Buster Smith in Hollyoaks. He was talking to John Byrne