Our Young Promoter Olivia, spoke to Actor Andrew Turner from Every Brilliant Thing, which was a touring production from Theatre By The Lake, with shows at village halls in Highlights’ Autumn 23 season.
Olivia talked to Andy about her project, a bit about Arts Award, specifically the Gold Arts Award.
O: What’s your name and what do you do?
A: I’m Andy, and I’m a professional actor. And we’re doing the show Every Brilliant Thing, which has been on at Theatre By The Lake for just over 2 ½ weeks and and now we’re on the last show of the rural tour. It’s basically getting out to the parts of Cumbria where it’s very difficult for people to get to the theatre, but also for outreach work. Because of the nature of the show and the the themes that are in the show, it’s important to to get out to rural places in Cumbria. Anything to do with suicide or mental health is important.
O: What did how did you find the show? Were you involved at the start or did you audition?
A: I did audition. Maybe 3 ½ or 4 months ago. Kind of through my agent and I know the casting lady, so she’d recommend me to to Liz, who’s the director and I went and put down to London, met Liz director and got on really well with her. Did a little bit of reading and a bit of a chat. I was in there for about 40 minutes which never usually happens and she asked me to come back again, so I went to Theatre By the Lake and did another audition there and she offered me the part.
O: So as an actor, what’s your routine? If you get in the show, what would then happen?
A: So it depends on the show, with regards to the rehearsal process, et cetera. You usually have roughly about four weeks rehearsal. We had about 3 ½ for this one. And then once you’ve done that you go into tech. This is all the technical elements of the show and any of the lighting and sound. It’s putting all the show together. This particular show is a little easier in the sense of it’s just me in the show, there’s no crazy lighting and there’s not lots of entrances or costume changes or anything like that. It’s just me onstage, for the whole thing. . It was a slightly easier with that for the technical team. Once the shows up and running, mainly, you’ll do all week and have Sunday off. You’ll do eight shows a week, two on a Thursday, two on a Saturday and just once you’re in it, you’re just enjoying doing the show.
O: Do you have another job on the side with this?
A: Yeah, so 98% of actors have a second job which is quite high percent. If you’re in the 2%, that’s incredible. You can be in the 2% for a little bit of time, for example I’ve been in the 2% often. During COVID , like a lot of actors, I had to get a job and ended up working at Amazon in the warehouse. I still have that job if, and when I need it, which is great. They let me just go off and do a show, then come back and it isn’t ideal but everybody needs to keep going. I’ve got family, and a mortgage to pay so I really need the second job. Sometimes those second jobs like ground you as well, because when you’re in this environment, it doesn’t feel like work. It just feels like you’re just messing around for a living.
O: Going all the way back at school, what GCSE’s and A Levels did you take to get to being an actor?
A: I took GCSE drama and I took A Level drama. I was also doing drama outside of school just as an amateur level. Both me and my sister both did it and we loved it. I continued it further. I went to Chesterfield College for two years to study performing arts there, and I met a tutor called Jack Price, who was amazing. He was sort of pushing me in the direction to audition for drama schools. I didn’t think it was ever going to happen. I didn’t even have that kind of money but he said that I could get a grant for it. So I auditioned for a few drama schools and then got into one in London. Luckily they gave me a full grant, which is a lot of money. I think the three courses for three-year course it was about 27 grand. I don’t even know if all the all of those things exist now. I think you can still get a grant from time to time. I don’t think the Arts Council give as much out with regards to grants as they used to. I was very lucky for three years and after the third year, I got an agent and then started auditioning and that was that. You’re just out in the business just trying to do what everybody else does when you‘re auditioning for stuff.
O: Is it you that sees the show auditions, or is it through your agent?
A: Yes, so they’ll get the breakdown. For example, in this show, my agent got the breakdown from the casting director and thought that I would be right for it. And also Sarah, the casting director knew me anyway. So it was a bit of a bit of both between the agent and the casting director, but the vast majority of the time the agent is getting breakdowns all day and then they’ll just be putting you forward, putting your head shot and your CV forward or if you’ve got a a clip with a show reel or anything like that that that goes off as well. And hopefully you then manage to get into the room and and be seen. These days I end up having a lot of fun. I do a lot of auditions via my phone. I don’t have to go to London anymore, so I don’t live in London, I live in Sheffield. It’s easier for me to not have to go up to London and then back down repeatedly.
O: That’s the good thing about COVID, with all the things like auditions we can do online now.
A: Yeah, there’s basically the only thing. With the video castings, now it’s not as personal and you can’t really get to know somebody properly. But what you might do is, get a first impression and then they might bring you back in. Right, I’ve got to go now…
Article by Olivia Hubbard 2023
photo credit Chris Payne, TBTL