Spotlight profile

When I was six I was obsessed with Spider-Man, to the point I made a costume from my dancing leotard and a red top which I drew a spider on. I got snow spray cans and put them up my sleeve to spray to act as ‘web’. I don’t know if it’s a fun fact, but it’s the sad truth, I thought I was Spider-Man.

© Alan Howard

What kind of actor do you aspire to be?
One that tells stories. The untold stories. I know that sounds cliché but it’s the truth. I want to give my truth to these stories. I want to tell the stories that aren’t put on TV. My family stories. I wanna be scared and excited in equal measure. I want to be in the wings of a stage or about to get on set thinking “what the hell am i doing, this is ridiculous” but know I’m giving everything to the other actor. I’m letting go, being free, pushing the limits, creating something with other people. That’s all i ever want to do. It’s the best feeling in the world for me.

What performance piece did you choose for the showcase and why?
I chose an extract from ‘Transports of Delight’ By Eli Hart because when I first read it my toes curled and I got waves of emotions that hit my stomach. The arc of the monologue made me want to tell this story, it’s beautifully written. She goes through a myriad of emotions and she was brave in her honesty. It’s too good not to share.

‘Transports of Delight’ by Eli Hart

© Alan Howard

What book, theatre, film or TV production has most inspired you?
I’m fascinated by people. I would observe people and impersonate them: classmates, teachers, the quirky, eccentric or the apparent plainest of Jane’s caught my eye. I would love transforming into other people and then show anyone who would watch. Plus, I grew up watching my parents collection of films and that skyrocketed the feeling I had about characters. Films like, ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’, ‘Calamity Jane’, ‘Steel Magnolias’ and Bette Davis in ‘Whatever Happened to Baby Jane’ made an everlasting impression.

© Alan Howard

How have you been keeping creative during lockdown?

Just to cushion the shock that I wasn’t going to finish Third Year and that we were in a global pandemic I watched ‘Vicar of Dibley’ at least three times back-to-back just to feel better. In the first couple of months we had to complete our Personal Research Projects before getting our degree. I originally wrote a short film which I was due to shoot before Covid but because I couldn’t do that I wrote a radio spoken word story all about acne so that was really keeping my juices flowing. Once that finished I just kept reading, watching and I made a family project where I converted all our family VHS home videos to DVD and edited them all together. I thought it would be nice to send it to my family in the North of England and Ireland. So they can have a little giggle and look back when we were once all together. I’m still trying to learn ‘Things Would Never Have Worked’ by Victoria Wood on the piano. My patience is being tested but I’m still going. 

Leah Balmforth’s Spotlight Prize video diary