Morfydd Clark: ‘Don’t get too anxious about your work’
Welsh actor Morfydd Clark spent the first two years of her career working in film and television. However, after returning to theatre earlier this year, she is now taking on the titular heroine in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at Sheffield Theatres.
How have you prepared for such an iconic role?
I think everyone definitely has their idea of who Romeo and Juliet are, so I think letting go of that is the first thing. It’s terribly exciting to play such an iconic part so it’s a real privilege. You think you know Romeo and Juliet really well but actually all I knew were their two parts. Juliet is quite isolated, much more than I had ever realised, so working on the play in full definitely gives a new perspective.
How does this project fit in with other work you have done?
I actually came out of drama school and went into two years of working in film and television, which was a happy accident. Violence and Son at the Royal Court, which I did earlier this year, was the first piece of theatre I had done in two years. If you’re Welsh and into acting, [Violence and Son writer] Gary Owen is the person you go to for a monologue, so to be in one of his plays was such an honour. It’s exactly the sort of thing I like to do: work that is important and relevant. People would come up and have big debates about it, and that’s really what I think theatre is about.
Did you enjoy the screen work you have done?
It was amazing. I had always seen myself doing theatre, as I don’t come from an acting background, so that was my first way into acting, I suppose. My training was much more theatre-based, so I felt like I was training again when I was doing the films and TV work. I do think they have got different challenges [from theatre] but ultimately the work I have done so far has had really great stories. I think if you’re invested in the story and the character, it doesn’t really matter what medium it is.
How did you get into acting?
I was a bit of a nightmare at school, to be honest. I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and dyslexia, and acting really suited me. My family was always really encouraging, but acting was always something I thought was a bit of a pipe dream. I left school when I was 16 and my mum tried to get me stuff to do, so I auditioned for the National Youth Theatre of Wales and the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain as well as the Welsh National Youth Opera. I ended up getting into all three, and that was the first time I felt like this was something I could do. Then I auditioned for drama school. It all went from there.
I think the biggest lesson I have learned is not to get too anxious about your work. Obviously you want to do stuff well and it can be difficult, but I just feel it’s such a gift to be in this industry and be working. Work hard and do well but also just enjoy it and eat it all up. It’s important not to lose sight of that, I think.
Romeo and Juliet runs at the Crucible, Sheffield, from September 17 to October 17