Have Fun Messing Around with Acting – Spotlites Actor’s Blog

When I was a kid, I was terrified of getting things wrong. I liked to be right (many would argue that this has never changed) and liked to have everything in its rightful place. In mathematics, 2 + 2 will always equal 4. I like that. It’s a simple quandary with one of two outcomes: right or wrong. Kids love right and wrong; usually of the “I’m right, you’re wrong” inclination.

I auditioned for a part in our Year 4 Christmas play of ‘The Ugly Duckling’. I got the part of the Ugly Duckling and loved it. It was 10 minutes long, had fun little dances, nifty songs and everyone clapped at the end. Yippee! Clearly, in my 8 year old mind, I was right for this: this was acting and how it was done.

Then I reached my teenage years and, just like life, acting started to get a little more complicated and, just like life, a little bit infuriating at times.

“What do you mean try it another way? What’s wrong with the way I was doing it?”

“Nothing, I just think you can give a little bit more. Do it a bit differently.”

“Err… okay.”

So as I learned there were many different facets of life, I learned that there were many different facets to performance. And somewhere along the line, a rather young me said:

“Hold on, there’s hundreds of ways to do this! And all of them are right! Maybe that’s not such a bad thing after all.”

After that point, I felt liberated. Not only was I free to change every particle of a performance, there was also no way that I could be ‘wrong’ in what I finally decided to do. My progress sped up exponentially, my performing started to really come alive and I’ve never grown tired of the possibilities of acting and performing. I would even go so far as to say that I didn’t really start acting until I acknowledged this (still loved ‘The Ugly Duckling’ mind!).

I didn’t know what I was capable of all the time I was held back by the fear of failing. But in imagination, you can’t fail. You just are. The more I think about it, the more I realise that theatre will be an equation I’ll never solve. And that’s ok.

An Actor’s blog from Spotlites


Back to the future … of theatre – an actor’s blog

We have been bouncing through loads of different scripts in the past few weeks in Spotlites Youth Theatre, it’s excellent to see such a positive response not just to the contemporary pieces but also some real classics.

A smile glued itself to my face this week when the director and I were spontaneously graced with a scene a pair had chosen to memorise from their favourite contemporary play. I was also told by a 14 year old his favourite was the one written more than 2000 years ago, because it was most relevant to him.

This got me thinking: in another 2000 years what will they remember about the theatre we produce now? Will it be the costume (like the Greeks with their masks), the timeless plots (like Shakespeare) or maybe the way you can now see a theatre show live from a cinema?

We don’t know. None of us can know for sure but every last one of us if striving to be avant-garde and push the boundaries of the norm to create something special. So what comes next, where is the future for theatre? We all have our own ideas but the future of theatre lies in the imagination of these youngsters, so let’s keep on inspiring and perhaps these are the classics of the future.


Spotlites future of theatre

1.21 Gigawatts the musical?




A Study in Stanislavski – Spotlites Actor Blog

The first practitioner I discovered was Konstantin Stanislavski. A Russian actor and director working from 1890 to 1920, Stanislavski was heavily involved in the Moscow Arts Theatre, and wrote books about the acting techniques which he employed.

I could go on about Stanislavski’s life and times, but you could find all that on Wikipedia. I could give you reams of detail into his books, but you could read them yourselves or find a synopsis online. Eg An Actor Prepares

This blog is about what happened towards the end of Stanislavski’s days…

Towards the end of his life, he began to question a lot of what he had previously committed to paper. He adapted over time and came to more fully understand the pros and cons of his techniques, where they excelled and where there were shortcomings.

I’ve studied many practitioners in my time, but it’s Stanislavski who stands out to me. Most other practitioners had nothing but absolute certainty in their own style. It was how theatre should be done, no ifs, no buts. Sure, there’s a lot of room for creative input in all of them, but executing them is where they are fixed. There’s nothing wrong with that; in fact I find it admirable that they had such strength in their convictions.

But Stanislavski changed; and that act, for me, invokes the nature of what theatre is about: change. I’m not the same actor I was 10 years ago. Nor am I the same person. What worked then, doesn’t work for me now. I’ve had to change. The people I work with have changed. Life changes. What doesn’t change grows stale and eventually dies. Hopefully, through Stanislavski’s will to change, his techniques and styles will still be relevant in years to come.