When did you first know you wanted to become an actor?
After years of working as a newspaper journalist I stumbled into the acting world in my 30s, via a series of random coincidences, and just felt at home.
There was a decisive moment on a train from Clapham Junction to Reading after one of the first Act Up classes I attended, taught by an inspirational actor called Celyn Jones. I made up my mind to give up my job and go into full-time training to be an actor.
It was like that bit in Thelma & Louise when they’re driving across the desert and Geena Davis says to Susan Sarandon: “Something’s crossed over in me and I can’t go back”. Only with less striking scenery.
What did you first do about it?
I started applying to drama schools. I auditioned successfully for a couple of schools, including Drama Studio London, where I subsequently completed a one-year post-graduate course. Again, I remember feeling at home there as soon as I walked through the door.
When did you first call yourself a professional actor?
There was a nice symmetry to my starting out as a professional. The audition speech which got me in to drama school was as Angelo in Measure for Measure… and my first professional role on graduating, six and a half years ago, was as Angelo in Measure for Measure, at the Courtyard Theatre, Hoxton.
Has it met your expectations being an actor?
I’m not sure I had many expectations. I just fell down a rabbit hole and followed my curiosity.
What advice would you give the generations below that want to become actors?
I didn’t originate this, but I think it may be true: “If you want to be an actor you won’t be. If you’re going to be an actor, you will.”
In other words, you don’t choose the profession, it chooses you.
What are your hopes for the future of the acting profession?
That it provides an environment in which I can do frequent, fulfilling work that I love, and earn a living from it.