Sam Newton’s first role out of drama school was playing Christopher in the UK and world tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Newton tells Giverny Masso about his latest project – playing Nigel Slater in a stage adaptation of the food writer’s autobiography…
What has it been like taking on the role of Nigel?
It does feel strange playing him. It’s about adapting him to the stage from his book Toast: The Story of a Boy’s Hunger. It’s a journey through food – we tell the story of how Nigel grew up, who he is and how he became that. There’s also food involved in the show.
How did you get into theatre?
Me and my best mate used to go to dance and drama club when we were younger. We used to enjoy the drama a lot. We could make the girls laugh by being stupid and pretending to be animals. In the last year of school I did a show and started to think ‘I love doing this and I want to see where it will take me.’
What was your training like?
I loved it, I’m so grateful I had that experience. I spent three years at Leeds University doing a degree in theatre and performance, getting stuck in and learning the craft. I grew up during the process and Leeds is an incredible place to do that. I then went into my MA at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama with a greater understanding, having experienced hard work and collaboration.
How did you get the role of Christopher in Curious Incident?
I came out of Central without an agent. It is so painful undergoing that process of sending out endless emails. I lived with actor Jack Loxton, we used to play football together in Birmingham. He used to play Christopher in the West End and he heard they were casting for the tour and told me about it. I emailed the casting director and she gave me an audition. It was beyond anything I could have wished for, it was spectacular. When people asked what my dream role was – it was that.
What has been your biggest career challenge so far?
I didn’t get in to drama school the first time and that was tough. I took a year off and moved back home, where I got a job to earn some money and joined a young artist collective at the MAC Birmingham. My second time applying for drama school, I got into Central.
Which theatre productions have you found most inspiring?
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time really blew me away when I first saw it. That was when I was studying theatre and finding out what I liked. It was the combination of Simon Stephens and Marianne Elliott, and then Frantic Assembly with the movement. People, Places and Things by Duncan Macmillan blew me away so much that I saw it three times.
Training: BA Theatre and Performance at University of Leeds (2011-2014), MA in Acting – Contemporary at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama (2015-2016)
First professional role: Christopher, on alternate nights, in UK and world tour of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2016-2018)
Agent: Jonathan Arun
Nigel Slater’s Toast will run at the Lowry as part of a ‘coming of age festival’ called Week 53 from May 23 to June 2