Sean Campion: actor
Nominated for an Olivier, a Tony and an Evening Standard award, all within the stretch of a year, Sean Campion decided to uproot from Dublin and move to London to pursue a more creative acting career. He is now starring in the intimate two-hander Gods Are Fallen and Safety is Gone
You first performed in the play three years ago, how do you feel revisiting it?
It’s fantastic. It’s like revisiting an old friend. There’s something about having the luxury of that time to come back and look at something…it doesn’t mean you make major breakthroughs and major changes, but hopefully you can texture it and layer it a little bit more than you did the last time.
Why did you decide to move to London, and was that a big adjustment?
There’s a time in your career when you feel something has to change – and you’re not sure what it is, you can’t identify it, except that you do feel that it has to happen. 2001 was such a momentous year that it just felt like: if you’re looking for a change, this is the time you were waiting for. And on the heels of that it opened up a different kind of career than I’d had in Dublin. If you plant yourself down in London when you’re 40 years of age, you suddenly realise it’s a much greater theatre scene, and people don’t know each other as well. And you walk into rehearsal rooms for the first time and you don’t know a single person. It provided great challenges, and it meant you had to push yourself in directions that maybe you hadn’t done before. I’ve ended up doing work with people like Greyscale…who have a different kind of collaborative process than I was used to, or indeed may have felt confident with before.
After moving into more collaborative work, was there a moment you knew you’d made the right choice?
I helped devise a piece of work called Food, which travelled to the festival in Edinburgh. And I remember that we opened it in the morning…we didn’t know what to expect. And the response to it was kind of extraordinary. On most shows, you’re unsure until it’s handed over to the public. But there was just so much of a personal investment in that piece that to have it succeed meant that this was possible. It raises the confidence levels and it makes you feel a bit bold and brave about what you can do next – that it can be done.
I think about directing about once a year, then I try to forget about it again. There’s a moment where I think, ‘God, that is something I would like to explore’. And then I think of having six or seven people in the room, and having to accommodate everyone’s opinion, and having to figure out your opinion as well, and I suddenly think, ‘you know, maybe next year’.
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