Hi Tom, can you tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Tom and I’m originally from a small town on the Wirral called Liscard. I got involved in theatre originally through my local youth theatre called Off The Ground. After doing my A levels, I went to theatre school at RADA in London and from there I worked as an actor for quite a while, doing jobs all over.
During COVID, with all of the theatres shutting down, I had to do something else. Teaching and education was something I found really interesting and that brought me back here: I was one of the first Storyhouse Masters students back in 2018, so I’ve been involved with Storyhouse right from the beginning. I worked as an actor here as well, and as assistant director in Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre. So this opportunity was a chance to align my love of this place and my love of education and actor training.
What does your role as facilitator entail?
It involves liaising with the Young Storyhouse team to ensure that I plan and design a series of actor training workshops that are 3 hours long each week for the Young Company.
The work is based on the work that I trained under, two people called John Beschizza and Annie Tyson, and it draws on the work of Stanislavski, Uta Hagen and Sanford Meisner. It gives the young people an opportunity to acquire the core skills that one requires for a professional job in theatre. For some of them it’s been a real learning experience. It’s been a whole new world that they’ve not experienced before so that’s been a real joy.
Can you give an example of some of the activities you do in some of the sessions?
We engage with scene study. So that involves working with a script, working out how to approach a script as an actor, not simply a reader or an audience member, how one works out how to approach building a character, how to incorporate that character into telling the truth in an imagined given set of circumstances, and how the Young Company can make their performances refined and as truthful as possible.
What do you most enjoy about working with young people?
The young people themselves. They’re vibrant, they’re energetic, they’re bolshy. They really engage with the work in an imaginative way. For me it really reminds me of why I love what I do. Selfishly, as a practitioner, I take stuff from them as much as they learn from me.
Can you tell us about the audition process for anyone who might be interested in getting involved?
Disclaimer I wasn’t involved at the auditions stage, however, I do know that it was a monologue on the Storyhouse stage. Everybody who went through it said that it was a really supportive, pleasurable and calm experience.
I always say to people if you’re going to audition for something like this, see it as a chance to play, explore and create. My advice would be to take the pressure off yourself. Control the controllables and don’t worry about the stuff you can’t affect.
Storyhouse Young Company (SYC) will be performing The Trials on 1 – 3 June. Find out more and book tickets here.
Find out how to get involved in Storyhouse Young Company (SYC) here.