Spotlight profile

I am absolutely obsessed with podcasts! They are my favourite thing. I’ve always got one on the go, and usually end up falling asleep to one most nights. That’s not that unusual anymore, as it seems like such a trend now, but I was one of the early fans years ago.

© Clare Park

What kind of actor do you aspire to be?

I’m sure this is the case for any actor, but I hope to be able to do a variety of different work. I would love to give everything a go – Theatre, TV, Film, Radio. It would be a dream to go into a job going ‘this character is completely different to the last character I played’. I would like to have a go at creating my own work as well and I’m grateful that there have been times in my training where I could have a go at writing and performing my own stuff as it’s helped me find what’s unique about me.

What performance piece did you choose for the showcase and why?
My piece is from a film called ‘Jellyfish’ by James Gardner. It follows the story of a teenage carer who is responsible for looking after her mother who has manic depression and her two younger siblings. Without knowing her situation at home, her drama teacher encourages her to do stand-up comedy, but she finds it hard to balance this with the chaos of her home life. The monologue in the film is performed as a stand-up set, but I edited it so that she was talking to one person. I’m a massive fan of stand-up comedy, and comedy in general, and I love when comedy and tragedy sit so closely beside each other. It’s fascinating when people react to terrible situations through laughing through them and I can relate to that a lot. I was worried it might be a bit intense for a three-minute monologue but one of my tutors really encouraged me to do it as I’d been hoping to play a character like this during my training.

‘Jellyfish’ by James Gardner

What book, theatre, film or TV production has most inspired you?

There have been loads of productions that have inspired me and have made me go ‘wow, I wish I was doing that’! The one that stands out the most is ‘This is England’, the film and the TV series. It was the first time I watched something where as soon as it ended, I had to Google the director and the cast and find out anything I could about how it was made. It sounded like a such a unique project to do as an actor, where there was so much freedom for improvisation and sometimes not even knowing where a scene would go. I would love to do a project like that, it would be equally amazing and terrifying!

How have you been keeping creative during lockdown? 

My year group and I were really lucky because even though the drama school building was closed, right up until our official graduation date we were still having classes online and getting involved in online projects. We did a rehearsed reading of what would have been our last set of shows. I was also lucky enough to be part of an audio series written by graduates, which we recorded in our bedrooms over Zoom. It was lovely to still have the chance to be in touch with my year group and work with them. It’s also been nice to have time to do stuff that I didn’t have time to do whilst at drama school, I’ve read a lot more and been able to start doing some writing myself.

Rachel Barnwell’s Spotlight Prize video diary