"I didn’t know GSA would be my first choice until I came to the audition; they went the extra mile to make everyone feel welcome, at ease, and able to do their best. I got such a strong impression that this was a caring, and supportive place, a community where I could learn and grow. That was very important to me."
James is currently appearing in The Tempest at the Greenwich Theatre having graduated from the GSA MA Acting programme in 2017. We caught up with him jut prior to opening night.
- Can you explain your current role within the theatre industry – Acting/Musical Theatre/Dance/Production Technology/Teaching/Other? I am an actor and writer.
- Had you always wanted to pursue this career? How did your interest begin? It feels like all my life, I think the earliest I can remember wanting to be an actor was about 8 years old. Weirdly I think it was after listening to a cassette (yes THAT long ago) of “Blackadder” – I think I just wanted to be Rowan Atkinson!
- In your opinion, what are the most important skills to have in your chosen genre? Generosity, resilience, and a sense of play – oh, and punctuality!
- What do you consider to be the most exciting part of your work? That first time the finished project is put in front of an audience – whether that be an opening night, a broadcast, or screening – that nerve-wracking but exhilarating sensation is hard to beat. After all, we create a performance to be seen, so that first audience always feels special.
- What attracted you to choose the GSA? I didn’t know GSA would be my first choice until I came to the audition; they went the extra mile to make everyone feel welcome, at ease, and able to do their best. I got such a strong impression that this was a caring, and supportive place, a community where I could learn and grow. That was very important to me.
- What is your strongest or happiest memory of your time at GSA? Working on our final public performance project, “Festen”. We had a brilliant play, and fantastic director, and a cast who had all got to know and trust each other over the course of the year and together we made something very special. I will treasure those memories.
- What were the best things about your training? The course fostered a strong sense of ensemble, company, and community. We were all embarking on this journey together, supporting each other, whilst also developing individually and discovering our unique skills as performers.
- How did you change as a person during your time as GSA student? I definitely developed a stronger sense of myself as a performer, how I can potentially fit into this industry. But I also think I’m more confident as a person and at ease with myself. The collaborative nature of the course has meant that I have learnt to be more open, trusting, and generous with those around me – which is useful onstage, but also incredibly valuable in every day life.
- What one piece of advice would you give to people considering GSA? Don’t see the audition as a test, or a trap. See it as an opportunity to perform, to do what you love, and also an opportunity to learn. If you go in with that mind you will have a far more enjoyable time, and also probably do a better job!
- What are your top tips for students aspiring to work in your profession? Try and get as much experience performing as you can – with those be amateur theatre, student theatre/film, anything you can do that gives you experience! Acting is something you learn predominantly by doing it. So just DO IT, whenever and however you can! And when you are in something, be gracious, hard-working, and open to learning something new – there’s a lot to be said for being a pleasant person to work with and at the end of the day, we really are all in this together.