“As the grandson of a trawler-man, I’m very proud of my upbringing in Grimsby and wear the title of ‘Northerner’ with pride. Away from acting, I’m an lover of tea (Yorkshire Tea being the superior brand of course), can whip you up a mean lemon meringue pie, and have the power to befriend any dog that graces my presence. I’m also the authority on all things fish and chips, which comes with being Grimbarian. It is as an actor, however, that I wish to incite a cultural revolution. I’ve always been of the belief that through exposing people to new concepts and human experiences, acting can be a potent catalyst for social change, even on a small, individual level. Small towns, such as my own, seldom receive the same kind of exposure to the arts as metropolitan cities. I passionately want to change this and create theatre that speaks to communities in areas of the country that are deprived of it, especially in the North of England.”
What did you choose to perform for the Spotlight Prize and why did you pick it?
For my live piece I have chosen an extract from Philip Ridley’s The Poltergeist – as creatives I think we can all empathise with feeling as though you and your work will fade into an obscure obsolescence. Sasha’s fear of stagnation and the bitterness that it entrenches is illustrated through a fractious yet comedic recollection of his niece’s birthday. The monologue is dynamic and raw, underpinned by a yearning for something long passed. Like the character of Sasha, I also have a brother called Flynn, which I thought rather serendipitous. For my filmed piece I chose an extract from James Graham’s The Angry Brigade. I have always been fascinated by history and politics and admire Graham’s ability to use both to craft formidable pieces of drama. I deeply resonate with the character of Jim, a working-class lad with feelings of disillusionment towards a society that is apathetic in the face of its oppression. Though for legal reasons I must make it clear that I would never go to the extremes that this anarcho-communist group did to secure change.
What’s your dream role?
Hotspur from William Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part I – a true Northern icon, unrelenting in his pursuit of what he believes is right. Yes, his methods are unorthodox, but I believe he is the unsung hero of the piece, with one of the most beautifully tragic final lines in Shakespeare’s canon.
What kind of performer do you aspire to be?
I’ve always aspired to be a versatile actor that creates striking and unique interpretations of characters and wholeheartedly commits to both vocal and physical transformation. I strive to be someone who you can depend on to give their all and be a vital component of any ensemble.
I have an almost obsessional love for classical texts, particularly Shakespeare, and wish to illustrate that it’s not an elitist art form, but rather one that is universally accessible. I think above all else, I would love to be a performer who inspires someone to pursue a career in the arts, regardless of their background or upbringing.
What have you recently watched, read or listened to that inspired you?
Last year my friend and I decided to take an impromptu trip to the National Theatre, where we saw The Corn is Green starring Nicola Walker. I cannot even begin to express how captivated I was by this production. The whole cast were a tour de force and the production concept was nothing short of perfection. Nicola Walker was spellbinding and inspired me no end, I am yet to see as triumphant a performance as hers.