A reflection on Shakespeare 

Shakespeare concluded at the tail end of last term but with a new beginning on the horizon, we are reminded of the past in the form of assessment grades. For those of you who don’t know me that well, it is safe to say, I was apprehensive about opening up the feedback sheet from my tutor. This is because whenever I approach a classical text, Shakespeare in particularly, I never feel as though I’m able enough to live up to the role in a way deemed ‘correct’ by others.

Analysing and studying a Shakespeare text is difficult enough, as you’ll all probably know from past experience in English lessons throughout the years, but then try reiterating that in your acting performance. In my case – what I want to get across to the audience doesn’t always necessarily read that way when it comes down to it. But grow with it I will and over time this will get easier to achieve.

Perseverance is key.

And the key to shakespeare is commitment. In my experience I find you have to pay attention to every little detail that’s given to you in the text, from how it is written to how the language used.

Look for the clues within the text and try to make sense of it in your own trail of thought. It’s amazing just how much you can link to your own mind without you even realising.

However, the struggle is real. You will face problems and you will be depleted. But what you wont be is defeated.

You stick at it and you get rid of those blocks, whether it be mental blocks in terms of not understanding a phrase or vocal blocks in terms of not driving the phrase more with the correct muscularity and technique. It happens to the best of us and what’s really important with classical text is that you carry on and make sure it lands correctly. This comes with practice and you can be ensured that the more work you put in, the more benefits you will receive from it.

We had 4 weeks to work on this piece of work and at times it was a struggle but at other times it was exciting.

A few friends and fencers rehearsing for their Shakespeare assessments

I was paired with Hannah – my ‘fake’ Scottish friend who was actually born in Taunton, Somerset and later moved to a little village called Ballantrae on the west coast of Scotland. Her role was Phoebe in Shakespeare’s comedy ‘As you like it’. A young shepherdess who disdains the affections of Silvius. She falls in love with Ganymede, who is really Rosalind in disguise, but Rosalind tricks Phoebe into marrying Silvius.

I was her onstage lover Silvius. A young shepherd desperately in love with the proud and disdainful Phoebe. Following the conventions of the love poetry of the time, Silvius prostrates himself before a woman who refuses to return his affections. In the end, however, he wins the object of his desire. Not only did I succeed in winning her heart, I also succeeded in winning over the audiences hearts as noted in my feedback stating that I “presented such a loveable character, as was apparent by the audience’s response. This work had a lovely honesty, and naiivity, appropriate for the character.”

This involved me acting like a complete dork, blinded by love for a woman who doesn’t love me back. When she looked upon Ganymede, my character was compelled with jealousy and sadness. It was a fun role to get into and it was great to actually challenge myself and work on my West Country/Somerset accent. Once I got going it was great, however in those first few rehearsals the accent was diabolical. It was great working with Hannah, we had a laugh – a few too many on my behalf and I can now fully recite almost all of her lines.

In the end I actually came out quite surprised with my result. I thought I’d be lucky to scrape a C on this assignment but in the end I mastered a B. A grade up from my B- in last terms naturalism piece.

* strike your best victory pose *

Strangely enough acting has been the discipline that I’ve done the best in out of the three since being here at Trinity Laban. I say ‘strange’, because acting is the discipline I have the least confidence in but I guess my hard work has paid off. I’m very please with my progress not only in acting but also in my singing and dancing. In both I’ve progressed, improving from C’s the first time round to B-‘s this time round for my rendition of Kurt Weill’s Speak low – in which I created a scenario where there was two Hollywood male lovers in 1940s who were planning to run away together to be happy and be true to themselves instead of disguising their sexuality by dating film co-stars. My characters lover had just finished telling him, he couldn’t go through with it because he was scared of what could happen, which is when the song kicks in.

* heartbreaks and promises 🙁 *

And of course for my dance assessment of Dollie Henry’s Jazz lesson/routine. I wasn’t as confident walking out of that assessment either. But it turned out well in the end I guess. And I now have more of an insight as to what I need to work on in the future.

The man, the myth, the legend…

Next, though, is The Dreaming. Our end of year show. More to follow on that, real soon.

If you’d like to read my earlier post on entering into Shakespeare, click here.

Lizzie Musical UK

On 23/02/2017 I had the opportunity of obtaining free tickets to a new show off the west end during it’s previews. It was day 2. I’d never been to the Greenwich Theatre before, it’s so close to where I’m living as well. There’s a nice little social hub area before you take your seats were people were conversing over wine and gin and tonics. It felt quite fresh and vibrant in a social way. With music by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer and Alan Stevens Hewitt, lyrics by Steven Cheslik-DeMeyer and Tim Maner and book by Tim Maner, Lizzie is based on an original concept by Alan Stevens Hewitt and Tim Maner. This new production comes to London following a run at the Frederica Teater, Denmark in January 2017.

Taking our seats we were greeted with this view.

Immediately you could recognise the rock elements to the show. It was exciting. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a ‘rock’ show before. I went in knowing nothing other than recommendations from friends informing me that the singing was phenomenal. This is one of my favourite things about not knowing anything about a show because you go in not knowing what to expect. You either leave inspired or leave disappointed.

The latter on this occasion wasn’t an option for the night. The actual structure of the show was set out in more of a Rock concert setting as opposed to a rock musical and I think this is one of its greatest selling points. It gets people interested in the show and it’s definitely something to talk about. I don’t think it would have worked if it was staged similarly to most musicals. At the interval it was definitely a topic of conversation between myself and my friends. I was enticed from the moment the show started.

The music was electrifying and the vocals were insane. It’s one of them shows where the lyric drives the plot line and so you find yourself listening extensively to the lyric which in essence draws you in much more. The lighting that was used really caught your eye, it complimented both the music and story line, capturing your gaze at just the right times through a quick flash of fluorescent bright white lights to deep orange tones throughout.

The show tells the story of Lizzie Borden. An American woman who found herself in the middle of a murder trial in the hot summer of 1892, in small New England city – Fall River, Massachusetts. The murder victims were her father and step mother. This at the time became a media sensation that got hundreds of people speculating and her story has become an American Legend. It’s bold and it’s mysterious. The whole show is captivating.

For the first 15 minutes of the show I was sat like the reserved theatre goer I am with a gentle tapping of the foot making sure that I wasn’t distracting anybody too much but by the end of the second half I was bobbing and ‘rocking’ away uncontrollably. Okay not exactly rocking but still you get my point. The music is incredible. It has such a different quality to other shows I’ve seen at present. Lizzie is such an interesting concept.

I think that the beauty of the story is that you watch it unfold before your eyes through Lizzie’s kind of distorted way of life. The more Lizzie is entrapped by her own mind the more the story goes into somewhat of a state of frenzy. Watching this take place on stage is mesmerising. Bjorg’s performance is impeccable and the other three leads are all on par with her performance. I couldn’t fault any of them – each were different in their own way, often complimenting each other as well as contrasting with each other.

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The cast and creative were absolutely incredible and I got the chance to take part in the Q&A session after the show. Here’s a link to a live feed I posted to my Facebook. Lizzie Q&A  (not the best quality I apologise)

In the session they talked about how the show has been created and the different versions that has been produced over the years. This version featured an incredible international cast – Bjorg Gamst as Lizzie, Bleu Woodward as Alice, Eden Espinosa as Emma and Jodie Jacobs as Maggie.

What was really nice to see was 4 amazingly strong women up there on the stage kicking some ASS, especially with the situation that’s going on at the moment across the pond and across the globe really. It felt very relevant and the use of rock music complimented this. It was a rebellion on stage. I loved every single moment of it and it was thrilling to watch.

My favourite moments have to be the love story between Alice and Lizzie, Jodie Jacobs fantastic comedic portrayal of Maggie and my favourite songs would be – This Is Not Love, If You Knew, Maybe Someday, Will You Stay and Mercury Rising.

If you do manage to get any spare time on your hands I implore you to go and see this show. It is incredible. And please let me know what you think also.

Lizzie runs at the Greenwich Theatre until 12/03.2017.

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Photo Credits – Soren Malmose

Auditions and why I decided to turn down my offer at Urdang

Yesterday, I was involved in helping out at my drama school’s audition process. A process, I, myself was involved in this time last year. It’s crazy to think how fast it’s all came around. I remember my auditions so clearly. Looking at the auditionees yesterday reminded me of those same feelings I was experiencing last year.

Nervous, driven and determined – I wanted to do well.

I had a few friends with me at the audition on my particular day at Laban – shoutout to Lauren Gibbon and Tara Moore.

My audition at Trinity Laban

Upon entering the audition room we proceeded to get warmed up to Vicki’s famous music mix which consisted of the Pussycat Dolls and Dreamgirls ‘One Night Only’. It involved a lot of cardio, stretching and a hands/arms movement that to this day I still get wrong. We learnt exercises from the corner and then mastered a routine, later in which we would have to perform it to the panel and the sea of people auditioning.

After completing this we went onto learning a short snippet of ‘Twenty Million People’ from My Favourite Year. In small groups we had to improvise a scene prior to the musical interlude. Next came our first choice song. I had been suffering from a persistent cold during most of my auditions and I just so happened to have chosen a Tenor’s song for my auditions despite being more of a baritone in vocal range. So when I did get up to sing I was constantly thinking – DON’T FUCK THIS UP.

My voice just wasn’t at the level I had hoped it to be on that particular day. However I proceeded on to the next half of the audition. Myself and the panel alone. This was where I got to showcase everything I had prepared. Two contrasting songs, a solo dance piece and a monologue. I started with my monologue which was about a drunk Russian on a train explaining his life. I even brought in a hipflask with me 😉 Next was my song – I was told to get angrier and my acting teacher, Helen, got up with me and work-shopped the song making me box with her. It was another one of those moments where the room was spinning and I felt free.

Then came my dance solo – a contemporary dance choreographed by myself to ‘When the tears fall’ by Tim Hughes. At this point I was majorly out of breath but the panel continued to ask me questions, I had to briefly stop, twice for water but I answered them all eventually. I just remember it being a really good day in general, I liked the atmosphere, the location and the people. so I remained optimistic. Out of all of my auditions Trinity Laban was the place that I got to workshop my material the most.

This was exactly the reactions I saw from the people auditioning yesterday. They looked like they were having an amazing time. Being on the other side this time round was crazy. It gave me an insight to how I was actually marked based on my audition and all the different factors that contribute to it being a YES or a NO. It was a great learning experience for me, I got to look at the different features within performance through others that didn’t quite work and relate them to my own performance. Physicality is a big thing and how one presents their self to a panel is another factor that can contribute to you either getting a place or not. It was eye-opening. I’m glad I helped out.

Urdang

Speaking of auditions, two weeks ago I received an email from the Urdang Academy inviting me back to a funding audition this year. Last year when going through the process I decided to defer my place at the academy for financial reasons, so technically, if I wanted to, I could start at their institution either on the diploma course as they originally offered me or on the degree in September of this year. For the past two weeks I’ve been weighing up the pros and cons of going, or not, to try out the funding audition again.

My original idea was – why not, its free and it would be good to get more of an inclination as to how they feel about me? On the other hand my brain was debating like crazy analysing whether or not it would be a good idea and what I’d actually gain from it. I already have my place on my 3 year degree at Trinity Laban and I’m absolutely loving it so why would I want to jeopardise that? Urdang, like Trinity, was one of the schools that gave me a fuzzy feeling inside when auditioning there, I really did enjoy it and the glimpse of training I experienced on that day. When I received the email it got my heart feeling excited all over again  and so in order to make sense of it all I confided in my friends and past teachers on the matter.

Urdang is an exceptional school and I am by no means slating it but when thinking things through thoroughly I decided to decline the opportunity to audition there again. I’ve settled in well here at Laban and feel as though it’s the best choice for me, who I am and what I hope to achieve at the end of my 3 years. I guess you have to trust your gut and trust the information it’s giving you.

But for now though its back to my Valentines Day plans – Palentines: Sharing Valentines with your Pals. A concept thought of by a few of the second years who have invited us all round to their home for an evening of games and wine. Have an amazing evening everybody and good luck to all you auditionees out there. Shine like the stars you’re destined to be.

NOTE: The featured photo is a shot from when I was dancing at the Jellicle Ball. I felt it was appropriate for the stagey topic of this post.

Shakespeare

“Our doubts are traitors and make us lose the good we oft might win by fearing to attempt.” William Shakespeare : Measure for Measure.

It’s that time of year again. Yep you guessed it. Shakespeare assessments. The two words that makes half of the class leap for joy and the other half want to crawl into a cave and hide. I happen to be on the latter half’s side on this one. To me Shakespeare is like another world – a territory I cautiously tread on. This is because of the expectation of what a Shakespeare performance should be. Or rather what I feel it should be like. A thought I never live up to in my acting when putting it on its feet or rather that I think I don’t. There’s just something about it that puts me on edge. I can’t quite explain it. I feel as though some people are naturals to the art that is Shakespeare and I’m one of the kids that is trying my best to get up to that level.

Despite all this, I actually quite like the work of his that I’ve explored and seen for myself – Merchant of Venice, Macbeth, Othello, King Lear and The Winters Tale. Probably quite limited next to all you thespians out there but I’m hoping to expand my knowledge of his work in the future. His language and writing is brilliant and I would never want to argue otherwise but I think because of this, it gets me scared into fearing the unknown as it’s not a language I’m comfortable with or used to. I also get scared of how to treat the language and I’m always in doubt as to whether I’m actually treating it and applying the knowledge behind it correctly. But I guess the more I try, the more chances I will get to explore and find the right way naturally on my own making it much more real in every essence.

I think most people get nervous around Shakespeare’s work due to the fact you can’t downplay anything! You’ve got to pay attention to every single little detail and upward inflection in order to fit the requirements of his work and get the recognition you so desperately want. In today’s society we have a tendency to downward inflect and not use all of the language and text of the playwright as well as we should do and partly this can be due to the way it’s written, more so in more recent playwrights, but more so the way we choose to act as an actor. This is something I’ve picked up on in my singing lessons whilst training here at Trinity Laban. My singing teacher, Peter Knapp, always tells me off for not carrying my voice through to the end of the sentence. I tend to start off strong and let my voice weaken towards the end instead of driving the voice through more to the end. The lyrics get lost and this is similar to what not to do when approaching Shakespearian text. But I think knowing this now will help me rectify my mistakes when approaching the text in my lessons.

The one thing I love about exploring Shakespeare is the opportunity to delve into the theoretical side of the craft and this is something I enjoy the most. The theory behind the practice. Now, I guess you could say my main worry is the fear of going wrong or whatever my perception of wrong is. But having found out the play I will be focussing on – ‘As you like it’ I’m excited to see what happens and how to make this character work for me in my own way! Whilst I only have 4 weeks to do this on, give or take, I’m ready to jump in and conquer it. So with that, I bid thee farewell on this present day.

"Believe you can and you're halfway there"

For those of you who don’t know who said this quote it was Theodore Roosevelt Jr. Theodore served as the 26th president of the United States of America in the years 1901-1909. Scholars rank him as one of the greatest presidents the country has ever had.

But lets not make this into a history lesson now shall we.

Instead lets focus on the words used in this quote and the relevance it has to me and the impact I feel it has on many. Now, belief is such a wide area of topic to focus on and can come in many forms whether that be religious or not. In my case, belief has a lot to do with one’s state of mind and spirit. Believing in something can give you the utmost rush of joy whilst at the same time fill you with thoughts of doubt and worry. When you want something so badly you cant help but be blindsided to the things that matter the most. You’re not always level-headed. I’m sure all of us at some point in our beautiful lives have put so much effort into something all at one time but in reflection, when looking back we realise it wasn’t worth it after all. However in regards to the quote, belief means a whole different thing altogether. Something we all, at some point, have struggled with. And that is believing in oneself.

This is sometimes the hardest thing to do. Sometimes just the inability to progress and move forward puts you in a place where you’re left asking Why? What more can I do? Why isn’t this working for me? Why can’t I just let go? Am I good enough? These are all questions I’ve asked myself and I think every performer has their own set of questions they ask themselves in every class. I feel as though these questions daunt on me mostly in my acting classes. I have always said that this is the discipline I have the least confidence in and this is the one I try my hardest in, in order to get better. Despite the grades I’ve received in the past there’s just something inside of me that knows or rather tells me I’m the worst at this discipline. I guess knowing this is detrimental to my learning as if I keep acknowledging these thoughts and telling myself ‘yeah it is my worst one’ then these feelings aren’t ever going to go away. All I can do is try to flip them around or turn them off. But this is a lot easier said than done. I honestly don’t know why I have these thoughts because I know that I can act. That was meant in the least arrogant way possible, I promise. But for some reason I’m stuck on this cruel cycle that just keeps repeating itself over and over. When you lack self-confidence in anything you do you’re left knowing you could have done more or better. Over time I know this will get easier to manage but, with 3 more years to go I’m ready to keep on fighting and come out on top. A whole load of people experience performance anxiety and sometimes it can be the scariest thing in the world. It stops you from going out there and getting that job you want or experiencing different things and trying something new. You get comfortable, when really you should be throwing yourself out there. It happens in everyday life. We all suffer.

What I will say is that this has gotten a lot easier to manage now that I’m in higher education. Before coming here I said to myself ‘Right. Leave your old worries behind you and step up your game. They’re only going to get in the way in the long run so its best leaving them behind now.’ This is something I have to remind myself on the odd occasion. It’s usually when working towards acting monologues and so forth. Don’t get me wrong I do love acting but I’ve always found myself taking more of a lean towards the theoretical side to the craft. I like to sit out, watch, and give my suggestions. However when I do get these moments of doubt I like to close my eyes, conjure up my ball of stress and worry and panic in my hands and then throw them away. A technique my acting teacher, Abbie Rippon, showed me before starting improvisation lessons back at college. This has stuck with me and I’ve found it really helps. But when I can’t do that, in fear of looking like a psycho in front of my peers around me, I similarly close my eyes, inhale and say to myself in my head ‘Fuck it’ (pardon my french) and get on with doing what I’m doing. This always leads to me doing my best work and its a trick that’s helped me thus far. This sensation makes me feel like I’m flying, soaring across the air. I just forget about looking like a loon and I’m totally in the moment of just doing and creating without really putting too much thought into it. I find that when I over think and over analyse my work starts to plummet. I get myself worked up and it’s not healthy.

Last term we were working on duologues and this was the perfect boxing match for myself and my doubt. But like everything in life, I overcome it. I remember one of my last few rehearsals at Laurie Grove, a few days before my actual assessment. Helen was pushing and pushing and pushing me to find more of a sense of my character. At the time I was confused and lacking in confidence shall I say, but I’m glad she kept at it. She took me by the hands and spiralled with me around the room telling me to close my eyes, it was just me and her; everyone else disappeared, all the while asking me to find my character through my breath – something that was relatively new to me in an acting sense. There was something so magical about this moment that I’m really grateful for. Whilst spiralling there were, for a brief moment, glimpses of me just letting go and being free almost. It felt like I was teleported to a room where everything was white and serene. It was like being in a meadow full of daisies and greenery being 5-years-old again playing without a care in the world. I was lost but in a good way and when she finally let go of my hands allowing me to find my feet and embody the character through my senses, text and physicality I found it really helped me get to know this person and become him. This was another of those ‘fuck it’ moments but without my mantra so to speak. My mind was calm and at peace and I just went with it. It was beautiful. To me anyways. Whilst this may not work for you, it certainly worked for me.

You’re probably thinking I’m a nutter right?

What I’m really trying to get at is, just have the faith to say ‘yes I can do this’ and go with it. Let go of all inhibitions prior to that moment and leave them at the door. Having someone who believes in you even when you don’t always believe in yourself shouldn’t ever be disregarded. Thank that person. So Helen, if you’re ever reading this thank you. But when you do finally believe in yourself, like I did 5 minutes before my call, you’re already halfway there. What is left is the trust in yourself to know that the hard work and commitment you’ve put into this piece for weeks pays off. Like with anything in life, you have the power to shape your future, if you don’t take the risks and you don’t believe in what you can do, you’ll never get the chance to fly. It has to come from within. Its inside of us all. You can do it.

 Yes, that is me and yes I am flying..

Fresh start.

Being almost a month into 2017 I figured it would be a great time to write about the new year and what I hope to gain from it. Whilst 2016 had its flaws, it was rather kind to me and a lot of unexpected things panned out. For example, seeing Judi Dench arrive onset in role playing Queen Victoria. That, I was never expecting to see in a million years. I filmed as an extra on an upcoming film ‘On Chesil Beach’ in London where Dominic Cooke will be making his film directorial debut and I also posed for my first Naked Calendar for the charity BAPAM (British Association For Performing Arts Medicine.) This was all new to me. However as I sit here with my hot bowl of oatmeal and my cup of tea my mind takes a turn towards the future.

So whats in store for me this year? Hopefully a lot. With two trips planned already for this year, it’s looking promising. Expect a lot of posts on Amsterdam, Cambodia and Vietnam this year. I’ve got an awesome project I’m going to be working on in CoLab week – The Tempest. And of course there is our end of year show. But for now though, I want to talk about what I’m wanting to focus on this year. For the most part of last year I was a person who had dreams. Dreams that I worked endlessly to achieve. Dreams that I’m now living. Yes there were setbacks and yes it was a waiting game but I got there in the end. Some dreams are still yet to be accomplished. When you get to drama school, nobody actually tells you how hard it is going to be. Yes we all fought for our places here but the fight didn’t end there. It’s still ever much apparent now. The fight is inside of you. It’s a fight of commitment and hard work. one that you’re reminded of every single day. You can’t just sit back and go along for the ride, you have to want it. It’s a drive that has to come from within you. I think my family and a lot of people out there that are unknown in the field of work I do think that I just prance around all day, and whilst to some extent that is true, the process and journey behind it all is much more broad.

Now, one thing I am guilty of not doing so much last year is giving thanks for what I already have. After a late night angel card reading in my second home, Nikki’s flat aka OUR flat, telling me to be grateful for what I have; I have therefore decided that I’m going to make it a concerted effort to do just that. Funnily enough in the same reading it told me to start writing more. A thought I had been pondering for a while. 

Coincidence?

To start off with I’d like to give thanks to the amazing family I have who offer me endless support no matter what the situation. Each and every one of you hold a special spot in my heart. Even when I’m at my darkest hour I know you will always be there and I for you. Next I’d like to give thanks to my beautiful friends both old and new. It’s in the little moments of life that I look back on and smile with glee. You’ve all put joy in my heart and we’ve picked each other up and put that bounce back in each other’s steps. We are there for each other even if the road ahead looks foggy and we start to question whether we’ll actually pull through. It’s in you that my trust and faith lies, for I know we’ll just keep rolling on taking one step at a time. Together. I’d like to give thanks to the people who believed in me. The people who put confidence in you are the best sort of people. They give you hope and let you know that you CAN do it. Sometimes we all need a little bit of a push and a reminder of why we do what we love. A lot of this love has come from my teachers over the years. I think knowing that someone has your back and is rooting for you is endearing and needed. We all need that one person that helps you in your path. I happen to have many and this can come from anything. Take my acting classes for example. Acting is the one area I have the least confidence in and sometimes it gives me low-key anxiety and I never understand why but I persevere and its in them moments I am most thankful. This happened to me when rehearsing for my duologue last term. I just so happened to do the best out of my disciplines in acting last term, so I guess you could say I’m improving. 

I’m trying to find different ways of saying ‘I’d like to give thanks to..’ but I am failing. 

Nonetheless I will move onto my next thought of appreciation. I’m thankful for the little things in life from the cup of tea I sip before leaving for uni each morning to my education – something that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Here in the UK you have so many opportunities and possibilities available to you that’s not necessarily available to you in other countries, but you don’t always appreciate it. I’m thankful for the literature in all forms that I happen to own for continuously adding wisdom into my life and allowing me to visit places of my imagination like a 5-year-old again. I’m thankful for its ability to relate our realms of reality into one through its characters and story-lines. I’m thankful for the laughter in life – there’s nothing I love more than just having a big old laugh. It’s what life is all about. I, like many people out there, get too focused on the future and what it should bring that I sometimes forget to just live my life. 

Which is quite controversial seeing as though I started this blog post wanting to talk about my aspirations for the new year… awks. how cliché of me I hear you roar.

Moving swiftly on, I’d like to give thanks for the kindness of strangers who can brighten up anyone’s day just when you least expect it. Its little things like holding the door open or moving to let you sit down on the tube that can really make the difference to what was a miserable day. Upon returning to London I had lost my key for my flat. The receptionist let me in that night. Coming down in the morning another member of staff was there. I explained the situation and he decided to help me out. I think his exact words were ‘Because its a miserable Monday morning I’ll borrow you this temporary key for a week so you have time to find your old key and if not come back and I’ll replace it for you.’ 

I didn’t actually end up finding it in the end though. I’m a total klutz what can I say. 

Right now I’m thankful for life and all it brings. For the experiences I’m experiencing right this moment and those in time to come. I’m thankful for its challenges which enable me to grow and learn. Life has already predetermined my fate but it’s up to me to carve my path to get to that endpoint. Yes I will make mistakes and yes there will be tears but that’s the beauty of it. Its special and its mine.sunshine-300


With that in mind I’m hopeful for my future. Yes I’ll have a plan but what I wont be doing is making everything fit it. I’m open to new things and opportunities and I’m trying to stick to my ‘If you’re presented with offers, take them’ idea this year as sometimes the best decisions in life are those that come from spontaneity. January has been welcoming thus far and I hope the rest of 2017 will be as warm as this present month. In just 2 nights sleep there will be a new month with new opportunities. I implore you all to relish in what it brings and most of all, find happiness in everything you do. 

Stay positive you never know whats waiting for you just around the corner.

After reading this back, my gratitude section sounds a lot like my Oscar winning speech. Hey at least I’m prepared..

For more like this click here.

How did I end up here?

So I figured I needed to give you all a bit of a background check on who I am and how I’ve gotten to where I am today. Currently that’s lying in bed feeling nauseous and very sorry for myself but still theatre school is a hard thing to get into and there are thousands of kids out there that stress so much especially when it comes to audition season as I’m sure there were equally thousands more who stressed about getting into their top choice university.

I first started my training at the age of 8 years old at an institution called ‘Stagecoach’ Warrington. For those of you that don’t know what that is it’s a performing arts school that provides training in all three disciplines allowing students to embrace their talents and help nurture and inspire them along the way. After 5 years of training there I definitely left feeling inspired and this was mainly due to the teachers I had there. They all helped me, each in their own way,  have fun and love the craft I’m now, 11 years on, still training in. So if you’re reading this thankyou Liz, Louise, Gemma, Letitia, and various others over the years there.

The really good thing about Stagecoach, being as young as I was, was all the opportunities you had to shine whether it be in the summer schools or for their agency. I remember countless auditions I went to and my first ever job – a voice over for Nickelodeon’s ‘Yo Gabba Gabba’. That was a really fun day being in the studio. During this time I was also doing a lot of panto work.

I will forever love panto and I think it’s such an important part to someone’s stagey life. I’ve got so many memories of my 4 years there with ‘New Pantomime Productions’. To the amazing casts each year and to the friends I got to become acquainted with, the memories are just beautiful. One stand out moment for me was during a showcase we all put on a presentation to the cast where the director would come and it was basically a really fun day to give back to the cast. I had a solo in it and Simon Barry, the director, approached myself and Charlotte and asked us if we’d like to sing in the evening’s performance. After rushing off side of stage for a quick change I was then brought back onto the stage. This was the first real moment I’d ever been mesmerised by the joy I felt being up there about to sing. It was a consolidating moment in my life where I said to myself “Ok George, this is what you’re going to do.” I was blinded by the lights and I felt as though it was me vs the world. For a 10/11-year-old I found it an amazing experience. The people who got me through it were of course the people I like to call my stage moms, the chaperones. One person that will forever have a place in my heart is a woman called Kay Andrew. She was my chaperone almost every year, except one, I think. She’d always be there to cheer us on and look after us and keep the spirits high! She was just an amazing person inside and out! I met such an array of people who were all fantastic to us, they truly were the best years of my life.

I then had a little bit of a break through high school and just got through my GCSE’s. I did study Drama and Dance though. This was when I first got a taste of my passion for dance and this all comes down to who’s teaching you. I happened to have the best little scouse woman I know (Sara Barnes) and I’ll always be grateful for the time she helped me in more ways than just being my dance teacher but someone I considered a friend. 

During the latter of my high school years I joined ‘Art in Motion’ run by Ashley Jacobs, someone I first met during my time in panto. This was when I first started studying syllabus work for the first time. It was fun, we had a great laugh and she continuously pushed me to do better. The shows I done there were some of the best dance shows I’ve ever been a part of!! There’s a real sense of family there not only with the students but with the teachers aswell, so thankyou for always welcoming me and helping me progress.

I then went onto studying my a-levels, Dance, Drama, History and Performing Arts eventually narrowing it down to just Drama and Performing Arts in my second year. These two years were a time of growth not only as a person but as an artist so to speak in training. I can not begin to tell you how much I learnt in the two years I spent at Priestley College. Here I made some of the best friends in my life, it was a place we all called home and that’s all down to the staff there. From the endless extra singing lessons to go over songs for auditions to the extra rehearsals they helped out with for dance solos and group pieces, to the countless time spent working on monologues and the unanimous support from all of the performing arts department. They really are a credit to the college. They helped me massively and without them I wouldn’t have gotten into the schools I did. So I’d just like to give a quick thankyou to Sarah, Abbie, Nancy, Helen and Rachel if you ever read this. Know you’ve helped shape me in one way or another.

So then came the dreaded auditions for uni/theatre school where you’re fighting for your place against the next guy who looks just like you and in my case probably has a better range.. atleast than I did during my auditions. My audition process was ok, I’d say. Despite being ill for virtually all of them I somehow mustered on and made the process enjoyable. I auditioned for 7 schools in the end to which I got places at 4 schools. Two of which being The Urdang Academy and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. During the spring I received confirmation from Urdang, congratulating me on my place there and inviting me to a funding audition. I thought – great let’s smash this and the day was actually really fun and less daunting than I preempted! Due to the fact of coming from a low-income family after my dad passed away I really was counting on the extra support they could offer. So I really did go for it on that particular day. After declining my places everywhere else I was awaiting my funding results from the academy. Now, I definitely do believe everything happens for a reason and  I am by no means bitter about the experience or what happened, I opened an email one day and found out I was unsuccessful in gaining further funding but I still had my place there! Yes it was heartbreaking and yes I was left feeling a bit blue but like I said everything in life happens for a reason and maybe it just wasn’t my year there. I did however love the school and it reminded me a lot like Fame when I first walked in through the doors, late might I add because of a delayed train. So after declining my options for all my offers I was left debating what to do. I applied for a one year intensive course in musical theatre so atleast I could tell myself I was still training in preparation for auditions the following year, whilst the training there was exceptional in the end I decided to decline one evening because my heart wasn’t in it. Luckily, and this why I do believe in fate, the next morning I received an email from Trinity Laban explaining I had now gained a place on the BA course for musical theatre performance. I screamed the house down that day, everything seemed to be just fitting into place like a little jigsaw puzzle that I called my life. I was beyond happy and now here I am in London ready for term 2 and what it brings.

So I guess you could say it’s been a bit of a bumpy road but I got there eventually. And I have my family most importantly to thank for all of that. Without them none of this would be possible.