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.
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.
It annoys me that people belittle pantomime. It is often the very first theatre experience that a child will have. In the age of smart phones and PlayStations the theatre can still inspire and leave children mesmerised by its magic. That pantomime they saw as a child can lead to a lifelong love affair with the stage and the arts in general.
I know that these panto runs are hard with three show days and exhaustion. Yet every single performance you are playing to the future performers, fans and supporters of tomorrow. Give all you have and set their hearts alight with the mystesim of the stage.
The theatre still amazes me and that was started from watching pantomimes. I love the fact that for those few hours you are taken away and enchanted. You never think about the hours it took to write, produce, choreograph and the rehershals, casting and even the selling of tickets and front of house staff that make every show what it is and that is what is amazing about the theatre. For those few hours that is your real life. It may be a made up World but boy it is a special one.
Look at those smiles on the kids faces at a pantomime and then dare to question the place that pantomimes have within the yearly highlights of theatre industry.
To some of us it may not be Hamilton but to them it is just that! The best ticket in town.
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’