One of the biggest pieces of advice that I hear being given to people wanting to pursue a career in the Arts is that you need a strong skin and you need be able to take the rejection. I think many of us have become experts in rejection from a very young age.
Despite being a sports fan and being reasonable good at a range different sports I always hated Physical Education in school. It was a one ticket to humiliation for me every single week. The teacher would always pick the most popular kids to be the two captains and they would then proceed to pick their best friends in order of popularity. I was always one of the last picks and it never got easier standing there waiting whilst every other person in your class was picked before you. I truly hope schools have stopped doing this but I am sure it still happens. My school experience was pretty similar throughout my entire time there and it amounted to a long list of rejections. Nobody would sit (or want to sit by me) in class, on the bus, at lunch and it truly hurt every single day.
I always remember putting my name down for a week long trip to an activity centre and there were only ten places available. My name was read first and it was read aloud it was booed. The truth is that I shouldn’t have gone but I did and remember the first comment when I got there was ‘why did you have to come’ and the person then proceeded to tell me that one of their friends didn’t get to go because I had taken their place. That week was not fun! Although I do remember the last day of that camp and deciding that I would play a little practical joke on them. I woke up very early and decided to change one of their watches and the clock on the wall. When they woke up it was about 7am but according to (Greenwich Dan Time) it was 9am which would have meant they had missed breakfast. I have never seen anybody move so fast running towards the dinner hall to find out that it hadn’t even opened yet!
I was a very odd child and was older than my years. I was afraid of girls and pretty much scared of my own shadow. I was torn apart for having my grandmothers red hair. I was called every kind of name you can imagine and told that I was disgusting pretty much daily. Along with my big glasses and outdated style there was no hope for me in the social climate of my youth. I will always remember sitting in class and being kicked by a girl across the table for having red hair. When I shouted out in pain the teacher told me off. I explained what had happened and the teacher did nothing. The girl did it again and again throughout the class. The teacher came over eventually and asked her to try and kick me and she pretended she couldn’t and teacher told me to stop messing around. At the end of the class and after about six kicks I showed the teacher my bruised leg which had skin missing and she hardly batted an eyelid.
Despite my career in music now I never really participated in anything musical at school. I will always remember singing out of tune to ensure that I wouldn’t get in the school choir as that was seen as social suicide. I truly feel there has been a big change in schools now and that people with musical talents are looked at so much better.
Rejection is never good and you can just become numb to it all and become experts in rejection and just pretty much expect to be rejected at every turn. It takes so much to actually change that mind set because it is ingrained in our very being. When you do not believe in yourself and enter an audition or interview and expect to be rejected it truly sticks out. You may not even notice that you are doing it because it has become a pre-set to you. Give yourself a break and know that you are worthy, valid and individual. Be strong and change that mind set and just know that you are deserving. If you have the talent and do the work then you have every right to be there and be in with a chance of getting that part or place at drama school or that new job.
I swear these roads are well traveled and you can change course but you need to believe in yourself. 2018 and every new day is a new start and I hope the year ahead is a much better one for you. If we can help you then never hesitate to reach out. Take care!

So many of us worry not about death but about the fact that we may get to the end and realise that we never lived.

So many of us worry not about death but about the fact that we may get to the end and realise that we never lived. So many of us spend our lives not pursuing our dreams and afraid to be ourselves.

I have read the words ‘former actor’ so many times lately. What concerns me is that arts is something you go into for love. I know there are cases of pushy stage mums but later in life if you go into theatre then you do it for you. Family businesses like having a long line of dentists for example is different and I can see how one could be compelled to go into the family trade and it not being really what they wanted to do.

It is tragic that so many have reached the point where this often rotten industry has made you brand yourself ‘former actor’ etc.

Truth is people less talented than you will get the parts you want. People who don’t deserve to breathe the same air as you will sit there and judge you and they will criticise you and make you feel second class but please don’t let them make you give up and become a ‘former’ anything.

If I can ask one thing of you this Christmas it is to take down the ‘former’ and leave the word actor or singer or whatever it might be. Give 2018 a chance and try again and show those who doubt you that they have not beaten you.

The thing I find most annoying about the arts is that no matter how talented you are there is just no guarantee that you will ever rise to the top of your profession.

The thing I find most annoying about the arts is that no matter how talented you are there is just no guarantee that you will ever rise to the top of your profession.

I always compare this with sports. If you are the best snooker player in the World then you can qualify and win the World championship. If you are a great footballer then you will be scouted and be playing soon enough in the big time. Yet you can be the greatest tripple threat out there and never be given a chance.

Always find it amusing to hear that Ronaldo had a stinker of a game. Imagine how much work you would get if you were a lead in a show and had a stinker or even better when players have a bad season. Oh they were shit all year in Phantom but we will still pay them a fortune and pick them. Would never happen!!!!

It is unfair. Truly unfair and you can be that good and never get through the system. I hate the fact that just for ease people cast or give opportunities to those they know or have used before. You may be so much better but it is easier to just use them. They also worry that you can perform consistently at that level and know the other person will deliever a decent job .You are a risk. Anything new is a risk and people have stopped taking chances. With a chance can come greatness.

Never doubt your own ability because when you do then you no longer have any chance. You are not delusional. You truly can be missed and be that good and deserving of those roles. Reality TV I detest and there have been many wonderful talents that have come through but seriously because you made into the top 32 on X Factor you are automatically more deserving? Bull*hit. A bit of autotune, smoke and s choir can make amateur seem like genius to the viewing public. Truth is nobody knows what great is anymore. That standard has been lost.

Please stick in there and there are still good people out there who want the best they can find. Be part of the change yourselves and raise the standards wherever you can. Shine my friends and blind them with your light.

Not getting into drama school or university can be a massive disappointment.

Not getting into drama school or university can be a massive disappointment. Taking up an offer which is not at one of your first choice schools can also be disheartening. After all it is crazy expensive to attend and you want to make sure the course brings you closer to your dream.

It can literally seem like the end of the World. Especially if you are dealing with other life problems. I wish you could be in the room at our concerts when this conversation has come up and you would be shocked at how many big West End stars just did not get into their choice of drama school on the first or even second time of auditioning.

Keeping the faith is hard and it is a test of your character to keep bouncing back and trying again. You might be shocked to hear that audition panels are often nervous about making the right decisions. They want to see and hear from you and using your journey as the cornerstone to your audition selections is a good idea. There is never anything better than the truth. Not the sob story but the determination part. Show them that they made a mistake last time and you have taken the year to develop through lessons, life etc. Make your journey count in your favour.

Please remember that if you don’t believe in yourself then nobody else will. You can do it and you will do it. Take the negative out of your vocabulary. We are told off by Giovanni Malacrino constantly for using words like ‘if’ so turn that into when and never doubt yourself. We believe in you and you deserve to succeed. If you need something send us a message. 2018 can be a good year. If you need a kick then yell. Don’t turn in on yourself and let’s fight again for our dreams.

Check out posts by Michael Moor for audition tips. He writes some of the best that I have ever seen.

Calling it in!

I often get asked what made me want to work in theatre and for me, it is the magic of the stage. From the audience perspective normally you will have seen some form of marketing surrounding the show and decided to book tickets. You arrive at the theatre and take your seat and are whisked away for a few hours to a place where your own troubles don’t exist. There is nothing better than that. 
What I particularly love about the theatre though is what it takes to make that experience. Going all the way back to the concept and then all the work that goes into writing, directing, producing the show. The hours and hours of rehearsals not only for the cast but the technical staff. Then you have the theatre and all the staff it has taken to market, sell tickets, manage the front of house experience. All of those elements and so many more go into making that perfect night for the audience. 
Working for a theatre can make you take it for granted. I remember going to see the original production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the London Palladium with Michael Ball. I was completely captivated by how they made the car fly across the theatre. Years later when the show came on tour I had my chance to sit in the car and fly. I remembered back to how I wanted to know how the car worked and yet when I saw the brilliance of the most expensive piece of set ever created I discovered I would have prefered never to have found out as it took away the magic for me.
I remember seeing one production 17 times whilst working as part of the front of house team and I know many staff in London theatres will have seen shows hundreds if not thousands of times. From an actors perspective it can be very very repetitive if you don’t continue to push yourself, care about your own performance and what you are delivering to an audience. Some of our greatest performers get very, very angry at seeing other actors ‘calling in a performance’ which means just turning up and going through the motions on auto-pilot. There is nothing worse than turning up to a show and the performance being completely flat and uninspired. I have seen shows back to back nights and had a completely different experience. Tiredness and audience response makes a massive difference but I think everyone sadly will have been to a show and understand the experience I am writing about. 
I have stood by the side of the stage and seen casts who have been doing a show for over sixth months embrace each other every single night and wish each other well. Every single night each actor took the time to focus on giving their best performance. Sadly I have also seen casts who literally moan about having to go and do the performance seconds before curtain up. Of course being a performer is a job like any other and on a day to day level most people complain about their job no matter what they do. However; in this industry there are thousands of people who would die to get the chance of just performing once in a production. Keeping our standards high and ensuring we never lose track of why we started in the first place is all important.
From personal experience of performing or writing I am inspired at every concert by those incredible people who have bought tickets to allow us to perform and do what we truly love. To quote someone who inspired me the great tenor Mario Lanza ‘You should sing every song like it was your last on earth’