My first ever play was in Year 6 at the age of 10; I played Marina in a simplified version of ‘Pericles’ by Shakespeare. From the start, I knew I was good at performing and that I really enjoyed doing it because it gave me loads of confidence and it fueled my imagination and creativity. However, as I was too scared, I didn’t do another school play until I was 13 ( the summer of Year 8).
I quickly became addicted to the thrill of performing, rehearsing and the energy I felt when working with other actors. So from then onwards I did a play every term either at school, a local youth theatre group or sometimes both. As I got a bit older, I prioritised school and decided to do more local theatre projects because they ran for a longer period of time and were less time-consuming. For example in both Year 11 and Year 13, I did yearlong projects that ended with the entire cast performing on a professional stage. In both cases we worked once a week for about 9 months until we started rehearsing a specific play multiple times a week. By the time it came to the performance days I had already finished all my school exams. In retrospect, I think this was super beneficial as I had the time to work hard on my academics but still develop my acting abilities.
At the start of 2013, when I was in Year 13, I decided to take up camera acting classes because I had always practiced theatre but never camera work thus I wanted to build that skill. Camera acting and stage acting are very different since on stage you are performing to loads of people so you need to be big with your voice, movements and reactions whereas on camera the opposite is necessary; you would definitely be overacting if you performed on camera the way you would on stage! Also, camera acting is quite technical so there are more things to remember e.g. continuity and “hitting the mark”. Anyway, over a 5-month period I went to camera acting classes one evening a week and learned so much about this skill. Soon after finishing in June 2013, I got an agent and went to a few auditions, one of which was for ‘The Dumping Ground’. Thankfully, I managed to get the part and so I started filming in August 2013.
Having an agent meant I could go up for many auditions over the last few years, which is what you want to be doing if you already have quite a bit of performing experience. However, many of the jobs I got after August 2013 were through people I knew or contacts I made. Therefore having an agent is necessary, especially if you want to go up for bigger roles, but there are still things that you can do yourself to get ahead.
My goal for 2016 is to get more experience/work, get into drama school and strengthen my improvisation skills.