“I am a Derbyshire-born, cisgender, injury-prone, adrenaline-seeking country boy. Throughout my life, I’ve always been pushed towards focusing on academics. Believe it or not, I was about to study aerospace engineering and then pursue a career in the RAF as a fighter pilot!
In the final years of my adolescence, when discovering who I truly was, I had a change of heart. I realised that I was making decisions for the people around me instead of for myself. I decided to make a last minute decision to pursue the career that I knew, no matter what, would make me happy. Since taking the plunge, I’ve never been happier! Moving to the city has opened my eyes to the world outside of my small village back home. Derbyshire will always have a place in my heart, yet the more I discover, the more I realise there is so much more to learn.”
What did you choose to perform for the Spotlight Prize and why did you pick it?
A cobbled together piece from People, Places and Things by Duncan MacMillan, which is one of my favourite plays of all time, and beautifully illustrates a story about addiction and deniability. It’s a piece I hold extremely close to my heart, tapping into letting down the people closest to you.
I also chose Albion by Chris Thompson – a lesser known comedic piece that takes the audience on a lighthearted journey through the highs and lows of karaoke. Something to cheer up the watchers after a potentially detrimental screen piece!
What’s your dream role?
This last year has been fascinating trying to figure out what my ‘casting bracket’ is. Archetypally, I was determined to be a mix of rebel, lover and hero – something I was pleasantly surprised at. Colloquially, I’ve been recognised as charming yet troubled. I’ve always enjoyed the complex characters more, the ones that may be determined as bad. I believe perspective is such a beautiful thing, and the misguided in this world deserve their story to be told in order to learn from. A very stereotypical dream role would be Hamlet – the ultimate anti-hero. In a more contemporary sense, I dream for the opportunity to play roles that feature in films such as Us by Jordan Peele, Sound of Metal, Quadrophenia, Donnie Darko, and something Danny Boyle-related. Actors and the roles that inspire me include Jack Nicholson, Willem Dafoe and Ralph Fiennes.
What kind of performer do you aspire to be?
Generous, experimental and faithful to the craft. I want to challenge myself to play roles that both favour and test the boundaries of my current casting type. I believe the only way to move forwards in any aspect of life is to push beyond your comfort zone. My favourite part of the process is being able to research and learn more, not only about myself, but about the people and the world that surrounds me.
What have you recently watched, read or listened to that inspired you?
Recently, I listened to a podcast called In the Envelope that features different actors talking about their individual journeys. An episode that really struck home with me featured Barry Keoghan telling a story about meeting with friends in an abandoned factory back in Ireland to act – week in, week out – for the love of the craft.
Also Fallen Angels (1995) by Wong Kar-Wai, one of my favourite directors, which tackles the themes of loss and loneliness. It’s a dreamy, romantic portrait of the oddballs and outcasts who populate the Hong Kong underworld, and their longing for intimacy in professions and a general, palpable hostile city nightlife that necessitates distance. It’s unafraid to be its own thing stylistically. The extreme wide-angle lens, handheld close-ups of neon-lit motorcycle riding, and bloody gunfights is the sort of thing movies were invented for. It’s truly personable and professional at the same time – something I aim for in my career. The most deserving of the cliched phrase, “So beautiful it hurts.”