If you have come to this page to find out a little about me then thank you for showing interest and dropping by. I thought I'd share why I became an actor, in the first person rather than the third person. I don't know if I'll leave this on my website for long.
I loved acting from a young child singing, joking about, and entertaining my family. At junior school, aged 10, I was given the role of Nanki-poo, a wandering Minstral, in the Mikardo. I had a duet and sang an Aria...
A wandering minstrel I —
A thing of shreds and patches
Of ballads, songs, and snatches
And dreamy lullaby!
My catalogue is long
Through every passion ranging
And to your humours changing
I tune my supple song!
I tune my supple song!
My love of performing continued through my senior school years. I may have been a bit of a show-off. I enjoyed entertaining a crowd and came third as a stand-up comic in the 'Southsea show talent competition' behind a magician and a ballerina. Through local Amateur Dramatic shows - acting had cemented itself against all the odds as the driving force within me and was already a window into a new world of experiences with a group of am drams who were having fun storytelling. I had two school teachers who mentored me and encouraged me, for whom I will always be eternally grateful. That's one reason that I have since always been involved in Education. I loved that experience, yet was an insecure child, with a very poor father who had retired from work sick early and was at home. I saw a lot of pain in my dad's eyes. I did a lot of jobs around the house. Second-hand clothes. A survivor of a mother. Acting, I guess gave me confidence.
Alongside this, to cut my confidence down to size, I was bullied. Heavily. A lookout by the bog door, head down the toilet bullied. In 1978 That didn’t stop me, however, from dancing at the school disco. Armed with a plastic imitation leather jacket - I WAS John Travolta doing the actions to the hit ‘Grease Lightning’. John Travolta didn’t get bullied but not even that sense of belief could protect me from this particular group of thugs. I remember nothing more of that night after the punch to the back of the head, which concussed me, via an ambulance, all the way to the Queen Alexandra hospital. The comments and taunting had moved to violence and so that following day from the hospital bed I made a promise to myself and the drive to get away became achingly strong. I loved acting to my core. My promise to myself was that I was going to escape and find out about the world! ... and the best way to do that was to leave that place, do what I loved, and become a wandering troubadour - and carry on telling stories!
Highbury College had passionate staff and an old 3-camera TV studio donated by a local TV station, it was over a large hill so I got hold of a motorbike and made the journey every day to that drama course run by Betty Lavington. In 'Cosham' there was also an Odeon Cinema… back in the days when they didn’t check your age to get in. That cinema was another moment in my life... when I just sat, every single week on my own, in awe, captured by other people’s imagination, moments, and stories that shifted my perspective. My love for the big screen started with, amongst others Alien, Apocalypse Now The Warriors, Mad Max, Life of Brian, Escape from Alcatraz, Being there, All that jazz, Hair, Quadrophenia, and Scum. The shining, Raging bull, Airplane, The Elephant Man, The Fog, Altered States It was 1979-80.
Everything had changed. I met an amazing group of teenagers on that foundation course. Oddball characters, that like me all seemed to be searching for something. Some were punks, there were posh and rough kids, singers, and shy kids, all drawn together because they liked to be creative and stand up in front of others. I worked backstage for a season at the Chichester festival theatre gaining experience of what a theatre was behind the scenes. At the age of 18, I went to Guildhall Drama school and met more performers. This time you could feel the palpable talent and utter commitment, I could see the same promise that I had made - in some of their eyes too. They all had their own reasons for being there and were brought from across the country, from different backgrounds, rich and poor, different sexualities, and political opinions. Over that time I learned so much and I knew at that point that acting could offer me a pathway not only to creativity but also to diversity and compassion. Since then my life has been so much deeper for it. From there, just like when I sat in that single auditorium Odeon in Cosham watching films, I set out to experience life and watch people and imagine being them. With a gesture or a glance, I would just sit for hours people-watching. Or I’d imagine being characters I’ve never met who had experienced things I could only dream of.
The passion I have for performing has never waned even when times have been tough. I have had many sidelines to keep my dream alive. I have worked in countless other 'day jobs'. As a waiter, in the corporate world, in retail, for Clarins, I ran a stall at festivals, been a Karaoke presenter, a quiz master, a charity worker, in telemarketing, and a painter and decorator to name a few. I've settled now in education and have a second passion alongside acting working in a school for students with Autism which I really love.
So right now, I am not acting in as many roles as I want to and I do need an agent but I've recently been an actor with 5 roles in an Opera, and am in a newly released film where I have a role in a very important movie on the life of Paul Connoly, and there's the possibility in the future that I could get to investigate a crime or believe I’m of a different nationality, I might one day get to exist in a different time or a different place on the planet I could be a gangster with a scarred memory, an undercover agent with two lives, a WWI soldier in a trench, a carpenter pirate, or a cowboy about to meet his maker. You just never know...
Among the characters I've played is a fireman, a mechanic, a priest, Hitler, the devil, criminals, a couple of murderers, a policeman, a writer, an agent, a cooperate scientist, a soldier, a poet, a nurse, a captain, a wastrel, a victim, fathers, and fascists, Russians, a carer, a Schizophrenic, a boxer, a pirate and a clown. And if I do get to work as an actor again it will be with a really creative bunch of humans and I'm looking forward to it. Whether they put pen to paper, organize or shape or make the impossible possible, just to tell their stories. They work hard to bring together talented folk or design and build amazing sets and costumes. They can create moods and feelings by lighting things up or choosing the location we stand in. They can make artistic and technical decisions about the image or bring everyone together as they visualize the script. Then I will feel part of something incredible, being gathered all together to tell stories.
As the Nanki-poo song, I sweetly sang all those years ago, says
'Though every passion ranging '. That sounds good to me.
And having my head down the second-floor toilet cistern wasn’t a complete waste of time.