How did you get into acting, was there a particular performance you saw that resonated with you?
When I was 12 we had auditions for a year 7 production of Charlie and the chocolate factory at school where I got cast as Mike Teevee. I remember having so much fun pretending to be someone else in this fantasy world with all the costumes and props, so when I found out a few years later that you can actually make a living doing that it was a no brainer for me!
What has been your favourite role you have played and why?
Strat in ‘Bat out of Hell’ really is a once in a lifetime role that you rarely come across in theatre. The role requires so much energy and passion and demands you to squeeze every ounce of fire from within you. This is very liberating as you’ve poured your soul onto the stage each night and it feels like a huge achievement by the end of the show. Strat is a rebellious, wild rockstar who has so many qualities which any actor would love to play. I love playing the contrast between his reckless, tumultuous side with his loving, sensitive side. It really is a dream role for me.
Where did you train?
I trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in Musical Theatre which I loved. I knew I wanted to train there for years before as I used to get the prospectuses delivered each year and there was something rustic yet sophisticated about the school. I really liked the values of the academy and knew I wanted to train somewhere where the foundation to the course was acting. We didn’t even sing a song for basically the first year of training!
Can you tell us a bit about your current show Bat Out Of Hell?
Bat out of Hell follows the journey of star crossed lovers Strat and Raven who are from totally different sides of the track. Strat is the leader of a rebel tribe called ‘The Lost’ who live in the underground tunnels in the ruins of the city, and Raven is the daughter of the tyrannous dictator of the land, Falco, living in the enormous towers overlooking the ruins. Falco runs the city and despises Strat and the Lost as they are the only thing he cannot have control over. Strat and Raven must overcome trials and tribulations to be together in a world which seems to be against them.
Where has been your favourite place to perform on stage and why?
Performing on the stage at Hyde Park for the BBC Proms performance of Bat out of Hell was truly magical. Over 30,000 people attended and it was thrilling to see so many people dancing along and singing with us. Also, doing the show at the Dominion each night still feels exhilarating as it’s one of the first theatres I went to as a child.
What is the most rewarding thing about your work?
The most rewarding thing is definitely the amount of people who are touched by this show. We have the best fans who return again and again because they can’t get enough of this crazy adventure. Receiving letters from fans who say that the show helped them through difficult times or from kids who say we inspire them to perform when they’re older is really the reason I do it. I want to be able to effect someone in some way and allow them to escape their daily lives for a couple of hours.
If you hadn’t have been an actor what would you be doing?
I honestly can’t answer that question as there was nothing else I was good enough at or passionate about when I was growing up haha. Saying that, I’ve always been fascinated by space so if we lived in a world where performing didn’t exist, I would have concentrated more in physics and become an astronaut!
What do you like to do in your free time?
At the moment I spend my free time relaxing as much as possible! I try to go to the gym most days, go for walks and spend as much time in the countryside on my days off to rejuvenate my mind. I’m also a big foodie so I like to try different restaurants with friends or cook at home! Not very rock and roll I know !
What advice would you give to someone who would like to get into the theatre industry?
Wow where to start.. The most important thing is to completely love what you do. If you enjoy performing but have other options which you can see yourself doing then choose one of those instead as the industry is tough enough.
Believe in yourself because no one will believe in you if it’s clear that you don’t. As my mum told me when I was nervous about auditioning, ‘fake it till you make it!’ Pretend you’re confident and put on a calm face and you’ll be surprised how you can convince yourself and others around you that you are.
Prepare. The level of confidence you will feel after you’ve researched a show your auditioning for, listened to the soundtrack, read the backstory, written your objectives and rehearsed the scenes or songs as much as you can will be vast compared to if you just turn up and give it a shot. It will be obvious to whoever you are performing for whether you have put the work in outside the room. This goes with drama school auditions too- don’t just learn the monologue or song you’re auditioning with, know the play or the musical it’s from too.
Finally, try not to compare yourself to other performers around you. You have something that no one else has so there’s no use in putting yourself down just because the person next to you can sing two notes higher or make themselves cry on cue. There are roles or shows that you won’t be right for and that’s just the simple truth of it so try not to get too hung up about it if it doesn’t go the way you had hoped. Things will come along which are right for you so don’t be disheartened when one door closes.
Who are your influences and inspirations?
I’ve always been very influenced musically by the 80s. David Bowie, Boy George, Freddy Mercury, Meatloaf, Prince, have all been idols of mine growing up as their songs painted pictures in my mind and the lyrics were adventurous and audacious. In recent years Adam Lambert is someone who inspires me as a vocalist. His technique is so clean yet powerful and his performance style is daring. There are certain things I do when I sing which I have learnt through watching him perform.
What’s your go to song for auditions or just singing in the shower?
Ooo good question! Purple Rain is my shower song. For auditions- it changes depending on the show but if it’s something rocky I like to sing ‘Creep’ by Radiohead.
Is there a role (regardless of gender) you would love to play in a musical?
Jesus in Superstar!
Where can people follow your work on Twitter/Facebook/YouTube etc?