(RE)PRESENTED - David William Bryan by Kieran Knowles

David William Bryan - (RE)PRESENTED Interview - credit: Holly Wren

The tenth of our chats with actors who left drama school without representation, but have gone on to achieve incredible things is with the extraordinary @DavidWBryan

Name: David William Bryan
Trained: Stella Adler Studio, New York City

What is your current/ most recent credit?

It’s really busy right now. Just wrapped on a feature film Marine 6: Close Quarters (Sony /WWE) , I’m shooting a Discovery Channel commercial this week and I’m currently preparing two one-man shows for Edinburgh Fringe 2018 (Pleasance). I’m also writing on three TV projects at the moment.

How did you find leaving Drama School?

Brutal. I returned to the UK and struggled to make any progress. I had no CV and not a single contact in the industry. I actually ended up with terrible anxiety and had to go to hospital.

How did you get your first professional job?

Trashed by David William Bryan - photo: Bart Pajak

I kept working on my acting as much as possible. I literally used to challenge myself to make a whole reel in a day just talking to camera as different characters in different situations. Meanwhile, I was writing letters/ringing people in the industry every day for nine months - agents, casting directors, theatres, everybody! Almost nobody replied. After over 1000 letters and calls, I finally got a phone call from the Hampstead Theatre. They offered me an unpaid ensemble role in a play 55 DAYS (I was basically moving chairs in the background). I knew I had six weeks to make something out of the opportunity. On press night I went round every single person in the bar and asked them if they were an agent. I finally tracked one down and chatted to them honestly about my situation. The next day they took a punt on me. A week later they sent me to my first audition for a Jameson commercial. I got the job. The rest is history.

What’s been your favourite job so far?

Definitely my Edinburgh Fringe / Vault Festival show ‘Trashed’. It’s so much better to have complete creative control over a project, tailor it to your strengths, get killer reviews, build your profile, sell-out shows and not depend on a single industry person for anything. You can’t beat that!

Other than my own stuff, probably one of the feature films I’ve shot with director James Nunn. He’s been absolutely key in my career so far. We met shooting a commercial and have worked together numerous times since. He’s a legend.

What is the advice you would offer to young people leaving drama school over the next year or the advice you’d give yourself looking back?

Where do I start?! First off, I’d tell them to follow me on Twitter @DavidWBryan and read my countless tweets about how to empower yourself and build a business. They can also message me directly. I answer EVERY message (at least 5-10 a day) helping actors with anything they need to know because I believe in building a business through kindness and gratitude. It allows me to build my profile amongst my peers with no expectation of anything in return. By extending my reach so wide, I actually end up selling-out shows whilst helping others. It’s truly a win-win! Hit me up. I’ll help as much as I can.

In general, I would say that the sooner you stop pandering to ‘important’ people in the industry, the better. Instead, work on giving yourself leverage by making amazing work based on what you’re great at, whilst simultaneously building your brand on social media in a truthful way. Get self aware, graft harder than everyone else and crawl inch by inch from the bottom. Be kind and have empathy. Forget being a bullshit glossy image of yourself and get real. People love the blood sweat and tears. Show them the struggle and they’ll love it when you show them the break throughs.

What do you think of (RE)PRESENTED as a project (is it something you’d have gone for)?

I think its great. Would have helped me for sure. I think you guys are doing a brilliant thing and I wanted to support it as soon as someone tweeted me about it. I can’t recommend it enough.

David is now represented by Byron’s management for acting and Casarotto for Writing.

(RE)PRESENTED - Jessica Carroll by Kieran Knowles

Jessica Carroll (RE)PRESENTED Actor

The ninth of our chats with actors who left drama school without representation, but have gone on to achieve incredible things is with the fabulous @jess_i_carroll

Name: Jessica Carroll

Trained: LAMDA

What is your current/ most recent credit?

Fishskin Trousers at the Park Theatre which is a beautiful three-hander monologue play set in Suffolk written by the superb Elizabeth Kuti. My most current voiceover credits are the new Thierry Mugler Aura perfume advert and playing Caja in the videogame Elex.

How did you find leaving Drama School?

Disheartening. I’d been given such wonderful roles in the final year plays and was so proud of what we’d all accomplished, but leaving without an agent was tough. I was a bit older than others in my year and had acted a bit on the fringe circuit (with no agent) before LAMDA so I was really hoping to have the backing of a good agent this time around. I’ve always had my head screwed on with regards to the acting world (my father was an actor) and I knew that not having representation didn’t mean I had no talent or that this was the end. So I pushed on. I’d always been aware of the voiceover industry and I made it my mission to break in to it and make it my earner. I’d always been told I would be successful in my 30s and 40s when the lines from some of the tough experiences I’d been through in my life finally started to show up, so I thought I’d bide my time until then behind a microphone; still using the muscles, still improvising.

How did you get your first professional job?

My first professional job, after LAMDA, was doing a lovely radio play for the BBC with Penelope Keith called Life Begins At Crawley, which David Blount directed. David had taught us radio at LAMDA and I’d represented the school in the Carleton Hobbs Radio Drama Competition so he knew my voice very well. My first professional voiceover job came from harassment! I decided I knew my voice well enough to know what it suited so I wrote some little scripts and went in to a cheap but very good studio and recorded separate reels for commercials, radio drama, cartoons and corporate work and I started sending them to anyone I could think of. Things began to happen, one job led to another and after 3 years of getting my own work, I secured a great voiceover agent.

What’s been your favourite job so far?

Fishskin Trousers. It’s a play that will stay with all of us forever and I’m hugely proud of it. I was directed by the brilliant Robert Price who had taught me voice at LAMDA and who above all else trusted me. I was given stunning words by award-winning playwright Elizabeth Kuti who listened to me and gave me freedom to create the most complex character - Mab, who goes through every emotion and is both funny and painfully sad. It was an absolute gift and bloomin’ hard work. A monologue play is a challenge that all actors should do at some point. Talking directly to an audience for half an hour stints is a brilliant and terrifying way to learn if you can keep people engaged! It’s also the play that resulted in me getting a fantastic acting agent, at last.

Jessica Carroll in Fishkin Trousers - (RE)PRESENTED Interview

What is the advice you would offer to young people leaving drama school or the advice you’d give yourself looking back?

Work hard and then work a bit harder. I worked with a director at LAMDA, Gadi Roll, who said ‘I’m only interested in working with actors who put in 24 hours worth of work at the end of an 8 hour day’. You wouldn’t expect to become a doctor without putting in some time, so don’t expect to be given jobs without investing some time and dedication in to the industry. Also, everyone’s journey is different. Don’t get bogged down with looking at what other people are doing in their careers - it’s so damaging. I spent years thinking because I wasn’t as thin as someone else that I would never work; a common thought with actresses sadly. I’m really enjoying the fact that women are rising up against this nonsense and women of all shapes and sizes are appearing all over film and tv at last. Let’s keep fighting the good fight so that race, disability and all genders are represented equally too. Oh, and don’t forget to live your life! If you’re not one of the lucky ones to leave with an agent straight away don’t despair! Go get some life experience to fuel your performances...travel, get interested in politics, get your heart broken, write, go on a protest march and stay positive! It took Imelda Staunton nineteen years to get her first big break!

What do you think of (RE)PRESENTED as a project (is it something you’d have gone for)?

I wish (RE)PRESENTED had been there when I’d left! It’s an initiative that validates performers who don’t have agents and that’s very important. It’s very easy to get lost in this industry and start to let questions of self-worth chip away at you. An agent does not define a person’s talent. It’s such a catch-22; if you don’t have an agent, it’s very hard to get in something and you can’t get a good agent without being in something. (RE)PRESENTED is a chance to get a professional credit and invite industry along to watch. I think it would be really special to create a project with passionate people who’ve also been used to fighting their own corner.

Jessica is now represented by Katie Threlfall for acting and The Voiceover Gallery for Voice work.

Our first (RE)PRESENTED play - COMET will open at the Pleasance on the 28th February please click here to help us with our Indiegogo funding campaign! And here to book tickets: https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/comet#overview

(RE)PRESENTED - Naomi Sheldon by Kieran Knowles

naomi-pic.jpg

The eighth of our chats with actors who left drama school without representation, but have gone on to achieve incredible things is with the fabulous @NaomiSheldon1

Name: Naomi Sheldon

Trained: LAMDA

What is your current/ most recent credit?

Good Girl, my debut one woman show which is running at VAULT and Trafalgar Studios this year.

How did you find leaving Drama School?

Leaving drama school without an agent felt pretty traumatic at the time. I remember feeling that somehow I'd failed. That the industry didn't want me. It was an isolating and frightening experience. Yet despite that, I held onto hope. I knew I'd have to find my own route into the work I wanted to do, and that's a lesson that's been important to me to this day.

How did you get your first professional job?

I was spotted by a director in my final LAMDA showcase who auditioned me for a show at The Arcola. One of the other actors in the show brought their agent to press night who then offered me representation. I felt really lucky at the time-like I'd been given a second chance.

Naomi_Sheldon_story.jpg

What’s been your favourite job so far?

It's probably a toss up between The Pride and my current job. Learning to make my own work has been really exciting. Having both a writer and actor hat on at the same time can be overwhelming but seriously rewarding. What's been particularly great launching the show in the west end has been the opportunity to employ lots of women on the project. I've loved creating a show where I get to work with brilliant people who are all there because they're passionate about the story.

What is the advice you would offer to young people leaving drama school or the advice you’d give yourself looking back?

'Make your own cake', it's a quote from Cariad Lloyd I've had pinned up on my cork board for the last year. Keep engaged in the world you want to work in. Making the work yourself can be the most satisfying and creatively rewarding work you do. Oh and remember music, when things are feeling precarious and crappy- remember to listen to music. I always forget how good it makes me feel, and it really helps me to write.

What do you think of (RE)PRESENTED as a project (is it something you’d have gone for)?

Represented is EXACTLY the sort of project I needed leaving drama school. It's only now, 7 years after graduating that I've found the confidence to create the work I'm making now. This project will give graduates the support, nurturing, exposure and opportunity at exactly the time they'll need it- what a head start! I think this is the beginning of a really important change for actors in British theatre and one that is seriously empowering.

Naomi is now represented by AHA Talent

Good Girl opens at the VAULT festival on the 28th February and runs until the 4th March before transferring to the Trafalgar Studios on 5th March to the 31st March 2018 information can be found here:  http://www.atgtickets.com/shows/good-girl/trafalgar-studios//

Our first (RE)PRESENTED play - COMET will open at the Pleasance on the 28th February please click here to help us with our Indiegogo funding campaign! And here to book tickets: https://www.pleasance.co.uk/event/comet#overview

(RE)PRESENTED - Sophie Steer by Kieran Knowles

The seventh of our chats with actors who left drama school without representation but have gone on to achieve incredible things is with the brilliant @sophiesteer1

Name: Sophie Steer

Trained: LAMDA

What is your current/ most recent credit? 

On the train to Edinburgh right now. Going to be in Antlers new show LANDS directed by the brilliant Jasmine Woodcock Stewart. My character is on a trampoline/trampette for an hour so I feel fit, exhausted and slightly sick. Before that I was on a National tour of Breach's show TANK. It deconstructed a true story about a Nasa funded project to teach dolphins to speak English. I only perform in plays with a short one word titles.

How did you find leaving Drama School?

I remember telling my dad, everyone's complaining about juggling too many balls, I haven't even got a ball. I became a live in nanny for a wealthy family off Fulham Road. It was a weird time.

How did you get your first professional job?

My favourite class at drama school was clown with Mark Bell. A group of us made a short melodrama in that class which we later entered into the Old Vic New Voices Theatre 503 award. We won, and then made and performed a play for a month and I stopped being a nanny.

What’s been your favourite job so far?

STILL ILL with Kandinsky at New Diorama was a gift at the end of a difficult 2016. SPARKS by Simon Longman is also a very important show to me. I feel so fricking lucky to have met amazing artists that have pushed me to be braver than I thought I was.

What is the advice you would offer to young people leaving drama school over the next few weeks or the advice you’d give yourself looking back?  

Drama school is tough on the sensitive. It's okay to be sensitive. It's okay to be vulnerable. You just have to take a deep breath and learn how to harness it. This takes time so don't be hard on yourself. I guess the actors biggest task is to not get in the way of themselves! Once you've learnt your own individual way of doing this you'll be fine. Don't take yourself too serious, find your people, come at a job through joy, look after your body and run your own race. Good luck!!!!

What do you think of (RE)PRESENTED as a project (is it something you’d have gone for)?

Wonderful idea by wonderful people. If you're without an agent definitely take this opportunity. I absolutely would have done.

Sophie is now represented by Hatch Talent

LANDS is at the Summerhall 12:00pm (Venue 26) throughout the festival.

To apply for (RE)PRESENTED please click here and fill in the online registration form. Applications are open until 1st November 2017.

(RE)PRESENTED - Ben Whybrow by Kieran Knowles

The sixth of our chats with actors who left drama school without representation but have gone on to achieve incredible things is with the brilliant Ben Whybrow.

Name: Ben Whybrow

Trained: University of Bristol and LAMDA

What is your current/ most recent credit? 

Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More in Shanghai.

How did you find leaving Drama School?  

Daunting and exciting.  Drama School was a useful, and at times frustrating, developmental experience where you are told you have permission to fail - but it didn't particularly feel like that permission extended into the final year.  I left without an agent and it definitely felt like a personal failure at the time.  I had a single meeting with a high profile agent at the beginning of the year, but in the meeting I was totally overawed and then couldn’t get arrested for the rest of the year. Fortunately a lack of agent interest kickstarted some proactivity and set me up for a lifetime of engaging with my own career development.  I left knowing I had a job beginning in August, so that was quite exciting.

How did you get your first professional job?  

As well as letters to agents, I wrote to loads of casting directors during the final year and managed to land a general meeting with Jerry Knight Smith from the Manchester Royal Exchange.  I was angling at an audition for a small role in an upcoming production which didn’t materialise, but a month later, just prior to graduation, Jerry emailed me with a direct offer to ASM/understudy the Exchange’s national tour of The Glass Menagerie directed by Braham Murray and starring Brenda Blethyn.  It was touring the UK for a few months, was a full equity contract and I had nothing else on the horizon.  I loved the play and thought the opportunity to get paid observing a professional rehearsal room beat any temping.  I was understudying LAMDA alumnus Mark Arends, and meeting Mark ended up having an instrumental effect on my career.

What’s been your favourite job so far?  

 Ben Whybrow operating puppets in  Something Very Far Away

Ben Whybrow operating puppets in Something Very Far Away

I’ve worked on some amazing projects and I couldn’t single one out. Certain jobs stand out though:  Something Very Far Away (NT Studio/Unicorn/Melbourne Festival) a live animation puppet show which Mark (Arends) asked me to be a part of as a devisor and performer was filled with such warmth, tenderness and inspirational people. It was totally magic and the collaboration with Mark has led to continued projects with his company Make Mend and DoThis Will End Badly (Edinburgh/Southwark Playhouse) a remarkable play by Rob Hayes, directed by Clive Judd was hands down my best experience as an actor; Clive is a brilliant, rigourous director and I don’t know if I’ll ever get offered a play and part as challenging.   Working with Punchdrunk on The Drowned Man and now Sleep No More has also been a hell of a ride; I will have lived in China for 14 months by the end of 2017 and it’s a ridiculous adventure.  In all these projects (and a handful of others) I’ve made lifelong friendships while making theatre with real artistry.  I think that’s what marks out the special ones.

What is the advice you would offer to young people leaving drama school over the next few weeks or the advice you’d give yourself looking back?  

I wish the Bryan Cranston clip about auditioning being the actors job had been available when I graduated.  It’s great.  With or without an agent you will have to audition, so make being good at it your focus.

Also, don’t let people pigeonhole you.  A lot of chat at drama school and in the industry is about defining what your casting is.  It’s a very screen oriented mindset, but in theatre, develop as broad a range as possible.  Look for projects where you’ve not done the same thing before.  It will be very useful and more interesting in the long run.

 Ben Whybrow in  This Will End Badly

Ben Whybrow in This Will End Badly

Some other basics:  Exercise, read, write letters to directors, find "your people”, stay curious and do something useful in your community.  I know it’s hard but don’t worry too much about the agent if you don’t have one.  They will be there when you really need one; and you only want a good one anyway. It took three years before I teamed with my first agent, and then another three years before my current agent. One of the most exciting actors from my year didn’t have an agent for about 7 years and she’s absolutely flying now, consistently working on really thrilling projects and seriously respected by her peers - she found her people: young, interesting directors and writers who were also looking for a break.  Just like actors, the big player creatives of tomorrow all have to start somewhere and most of your work will come from people that know you and your work already.  I think its worth remembering that there is also some value in learning your craft outside of the spotlight; the great older actors all talk about learning their trade and making their mistakes in the Rep system.  Most of us don’t have the opportunity to experience that, but if you can find a way to make it work financially, the fringe is your friend.  I believe that talent will out, but you need to be dogged.  Finally, your mental and physical health are more important than acting.

What do you think of (RE)PRESENTED as a project (is it something you’d have gone for)? 

First and foremost it’s a great opportunity for unrepresented actors to get audition experience for a paid job and get feedback.  Why wouldn’t you take that?  Also, new writing is the lifeblood of theatre and the opportunity to have a character written for you is like gold dust.  Why wouldn’t you want that?  It’s a great opportunity to do a show in London and have your work seen.  Isn’t that pretty obviously a good thing?  I’d definitely have applied if it had been running a decade ago.

Ben Whybrow is now represented by Hatch Talent

To apply for (RE)PRESENTED please click here and fill in the online registration form. Applications are open until 1st November 2017.

 

(RE)PRESENTED - James Marlowe by Kieran Knowles

The Fifth (Five - We're flying!) of our interviews with actors who left drama school without representation but have gone on to achieve incredible things is with the brilliant @jamesjmarlowe

Name: James Marlowe

Trained: LAMDA

What is your current/ most recent credit?

I’m currently appearing in Touch at the Soho Theatre.

How did you find leaving Drama School?

I found it pretty difficult to be honest.  One minute you’re smashing it in school and the next you feel like you’ve failed as you haven’t got an agent. It feels like a real value judgement when it actually isn’t.  Thankfully, the further you get from it, the easier it is to put that difficult period in perspective.

What was your first professional job?

My first job out of school was The Captive at The Finborough.

What’s been your favourite job so far?

Tough one! So many of the jobs I’ve done have a real place in my heart.  Primetime at the Royal Court, Blue Man Group and The Play That Goes Wrong were all incredible experiences. My favourite character would be Liberty Valance in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance.

What is the advice you would offer to young people leaving drama school over the next few weeks or the advice you’d give yourself looking back?

Haha, wow there is so much! I’ll try to focus on a few points related to unrepped graduates.

  1. Get over your White Horse Syndrome as quickly as possible. This is the idea that someone is going to ride in on a white horse to save you, and say “Follow me to the career of your dreams!!!”. As an unrepresented actor it’s up to you to graft your way to the career you want.
  2. Stay strong. You’re likely to feel a combination of anger and huge devaluation if you have left without an agent. Both of those are natural and will subside, remember this is a long game. Put that energy into creating projects and staying tenacious. Be happy for your friends who are doing well.
  3. Be an indispensible badass – Without representation you rely heavily on your reputation. Be early, be prepared and be awesome. Make sure anyone who you work with, would want you back for their next project.
  4. It is possible to work without an agent! It’s hard work but it is possible. You have to make realistic targets and stay involved with theatre including a lot of Fringe work. You will be writing letters to get auditions (you’ll have to write a lot of them), and it’s much easier to do that when you genuinely love the work they do AND HAVE BEEN TO SEE IT.  
  5. Approach agents in the right way – The last thing you want to become is that harping voice at an agents ear all the time. Don’t be scared to write, just be smart. From an agent’s side, they want some momentum so they can get you through the doors of casting rooms. So write when you have a show in an accessible location, a really solid show reel or something they can use. Also read up on that agent – on their websites there is often info about their preferred method of contact, is it email or hardcopy? Are there any articles online about them and their advice to people? What is their name, specifically why them? Etc. Then whatever you do, don’t put the letter in the wrong envelope!

What do you think of (RE)PRESENTED as a project (is it something you’d have gone for)?

This is a subject I feel very passionately about. It is very easy for really solid, talented graduates to slip through the net and end up struggling for work so I think it sounds like a really interesting and important project. I would have jumped at it as a recent graduate.

 

James is now represented by Sally Hope Associates.

You can catch James at the Soho Theatre in Touch until 26th August 2017. For more information or to book tickets click here

To apply for (RE)PRESENTED please click here and fill in the online registration form. Applications are open until 1st November 2017.

 

(RE)PRESENTED - Charlotte Josephine by Kieran Knowles

The fourth of our interviews with actors and in this case, (award winning very big time writers) who left drama school without representation but have gone on to achieve incredible things is with the brilliant @Charlotte_j_b

Name: Charlotte Josephine

Trained: Contemporary Theatre course at East 15 Acting School

What is your current/most recent credit? 

Snuff Box Theatre’s Blush, which was directed by Ed Stambollouian and written by myself.

 Charlotte Josephine in  Bitch Boxer

Charlotte Josephine in Bitch Boxer

How did you find leaving Drama School? 

Tough, yeah. The CT course is brilliant because it teaches you to be really productive and make work, rather than just waiting for the phone to ring. The DEBUT project in our final year gave birth to Snuff Box Theatre and our first pieces of work, that we took to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2011. The shock came for me post fringe when, because I didn’t have an agent and Snuff Box did have any money, I was suddenly working in a café and wondering what the fuck to do next. The world isn’t waiting for me, I need to make some work in order to get some work.

How did you get you first professional job? 

I applied for the Old Vic New Voices Edinburgh Season 2012 on Ideastap (R.I.P Ideastap!) with Bitch Boxer and won it. The success of Snuff Box Theatre’s Bitch Boxer attracted the very same agents that had ignored my letters the year before (fair enough, they must get thousands of invites a day) and very quickly after signing with my first agent I got an audition for Phyllida Lloyd’s Julius Caesar at the Donmar Warehouse. That was my first proper paid, equity minimum, eight shows a week, acting job.

What’s been your favourite job so far? 

I’ve genuinely really enjoyed all of them. That might be because I’m quite picky at what I say yes to. I love making and performing my own work so I think that’ll always be my driving focus, but it’s sometimes a real joy to ‘just be an actor’ in someone else’s play, and focus on giving the best performance I can. Seems to me that acting jobs can offer you three things; good money, a wonderful personal experience, an opportunity to further your career. The best jobs I reckon are when you’re ticking at least two out of the three.

What is the advice you would offer to young people leaving drama school over the next few weeks or the advice you’d give yourself looking back? 

 Charlotte Josephine in  Blush

Charlotte Josephine in Blush

I’d pass on what Ed Collier at China Plate said to us, which is to ‘play the long game’. Sometimes it’s a choice between integrity and a quick fix. There’s no shame in taking a job just for the money if you’re skint, but there is always a choice, especially when it doesn’t feel like it. I’d remind drama school graduates to use the resources they already have, which is a network of brilliant talent surrounding them, support each other, make work together. Actress and wonder women Jenny Jules taught me to ‘eat well and sleep well’, which feels like a simple reminder that I’m a human being before I’m anything else.

What do you think of Represented as a project (is it something you’d have gone for)? 

It’s a great idea, yeah. Any opportunities that allow people to make work they genuinely care about should always be jumped at.

Charlotte is now represented by Hatton Mcewan Penford.

To apply for (RE)PRESENTED please click here and fill in the online registration form. Applications are open until 1st November 2017.

(RE)PRESENTED - Jack Baldwin by Kieran Knowles

Jack Baldwin Represented

The third of our interviews with actors who left drama school without representation but have gone on to achieve incredible things is with the brilliant @JonnyJonJack

Name: Jack Baldwin

Trained: LAMDA

What is your current/ most recent credit?

I’m currently appearing in The Play that Goes Wrong in London

How did you find leaving Drama School?

I found the whole of the third year a bit strange - you're a big fish in a small pool but you're very aware that you're going into an ocean. I thought that as long as I could get some work somewhere it might all be ok.

How did you get your first professional job?

Spotlight audition for a show at the Finborough.

What’s been your favourite job so far?

The current job is fairly fantastic. I've always loved whatever I've done when I've done it. Even stuff I knew, deep down, was terrible.

What is the advice you would offer to young people leaving drama school over the next few weeks or the advice you’d give yourself looking back?

Jack Baldwin The Play That Goes Wrong Represented

Don't take too much advice to heart as every career is different; don't try to emulate anyone else's career. Which is not to say don't listen to advice. Try to have fun when you do work. Be open, don't be a diva, work hard enough that it looks easy & don't be one of the fucks.

What do you think of (RE)PRESENTED as a project (is it something you’d have gone for)?

I think it sounds excellent, It's the sort of thing my year were crying out for, only we didn't realise it. This job can grind you down and you don't realise how lonely you can feel. There's nothing wrong with that but remember that everyone, regardless of what stage their career is at, feels pretty much the same. So, meet up for a drink every now and then to keep sane.

There's no such thing as rejection. In an audition, everyone on the panel wants you to be the answer. If you don't get the job, it's because of so many reasons out of your control that there's no reason for you to worry about it. Keep doing what you do.

 

Jack is now represented by International Artist Management.

You can catch Jack in Mischief Theatre's The Play That Goes Wrong on London's West End. For more information click here

To apply for (RE)PRESENTED please click here and fill in the online registration form. Applications are open until 1st November 2017.

(RE)PRESENTED - Shazia Nicholls by Kieran Knowles

The second of our interviews with actors who left drama school without representation but have gone on to achieve incredible things is with the lovely @Shazia_K

Name: Shazia Nicholls

Trained: LAMDA

What is your current/most recent credit?

I've just finished a show at the Soho Theatre called The Scar Test. It's a play by Hannah Khalil about Yarl's Wood. A detention centre for migrant women in the U.K. It's been a huge challenge but also incredibly eye opening. I didn't know anything about detention in the U.K before and it's shocking. We're the only european country that allows indefinite detention and the system is in desperate need of reform. 

 

How did you find leaving drama school?

Leaving drama school was terrifying at first because I didn't have an agent, and I really thought that was it! I didn't get a single meeting after duologues and and by the end of my final year I'd only had one meeting and no agent. I struggled to get auditions at first but eventually I was recommended for jobs by people I'd met at drama school and got an agent the following year. It's so easy to feel like you're getting left behind when other people are signing with big agents and going to huge auditions in your final year but even if you don't have an agent, people will have seen you in shows and will remember you. 

 

How did you get your first professional job?

I was recommended by a friend of mine from drama school to a director he knew, Sara Joyce for my very first job, which was the Soho Young Playwrights' project. She hired me and is now a very good friend too and we've worked together several times since, including The Scar Test. The next job I got after auditioning for a casting director who saw me in my duologue showcase. I got my first TV job on Doctor Foster because a bunch of graduates were called on to do a reading for Mike Bartlett so he could hear the scripts. After a couple of read-throughs they offered me a part. At the time there was no way I could have ever imagined I'd get a telly job, I'd never even been up for a TV audition since leaving LAMDA! 

 

Whats been your favourite job so far?

I love a bit of Shakespeare and earlier this year I got to do Twelfth Night for the Orange Tree theatre with the best group of people. We became really close and I know it sounds really cheesy but it made me realise how incredible it is to have a job where you're constantly meeting new people. I've also loved working on The Scar Test and being in a show that sparks debate and ignites a bit of passion in the post show discussions.

 

What is the advice you would offer to young people leaving drama school over the next few weeks, or the advice you'd give yourself looking back?

I know it's mentioned a lot and I definitely heard this advice before but I don't think I fully took it in: everyone's path and career is so completely different. Comparing yourself to others is exhausting and ultimately pointless. I spent so long trying to work out what I needed to do to get myself certain auditions or jobs, but the best jobs I've had have come out of nowhere. I could have had absolutely no way of knowing they were around the corner.

Keep in touch with people that you've worked with, let them know what you're up to and what they can come see you in. Write. Work with people in your year or other creatives that you know and make things happen for yourself. It sounds easy, and it isn't but it's worth it. Not just because sometimes they turn into opportunities for people to see more of your work but because they give you a chance to reconnect with why you want to do this job and the kind of work that you want to see put on. 

Particularly as an ethnic minority actor, it can be frustrating to feel like the opportunities aren't there but it can be hugely empowering to develop work that you would want to see. At the moment I'm working on a web series written by a friend of mine, Bryan Moriarty, from LAMDA. Sometimes it is the quiet patches when you cook up the most exciting stuff. 

Also the other thing I would say is no agent is better than a bad agent. I had a few experiences before my agent at the moment where I didn't feel the fit was right but I was very keen to be represented as soon as possible. I'm so fortunate with my representation at the moment because I know they understand and support the kind of work I want to do and that hasn't always been the case. So take your time and trust your gut. 

 

What do you think of (RE)PRESENTED as a project (is it something you'd have gone for)?

I think (RE)PRESENTED is an incredible opportunity, and definitely something I'd have applied for. When I left drama school there was IdeasTap which was a great resource. It's so important to take the initiative yourself and apply for anything you can get your hands on. I had moments of waiting for things to happen to me or auditions to drop into my lap, but if you look around there are always opportunities to get proactive about and this is a particularly brilliant one. 

 

Shazia is now represented by CDA Theatrical Agency.

To apply for (RE)PRESENTED please click here and fill in the online registration form. Applications are open until 1st November 2017.

(RE)PRESENTED - Kristin Atherton by Kieran Knowles

Kirstin Atherton - (RE)PRESENTED Interview

The first of our interviews with actors who left drama school without representation but have gone on to achieve incredible things is with the brilliant Kristin Atherton @KristinAtherton.

Name: Kristin Atherton 
Trained: LAMDA

What is your current/ most recent credit?

I'm currently in three shows as part of the RSC Rome season; playing Calphurnia in Julius Caeser (directed by Angus Jackson), Iras in Antony and Cleopatra (directed by Iqbal Khan), and the Nurse in Titus Andronicus (directed by Blanche Macintyre).

How did you find leaving Drama School?

Leaving drama school was such a rollercoaster of feelings. After three years together its quite emotional saying goodbye to people who have become your family (dysfunctional though that family might be at times), but it's also exciting to get back out ‘in the world’ and see what you can achieve on your own. Which unfortunately leads me to some of the worst feelings I went through; the fear and sometimes blind panic at the thought I might not ‘bag’ an agent. An audition. Or anything at all. Which I didn't. Not one agent called me for a meeting or even expressed a vague interest in me at any point. While two thirds of my year left with representation – some of them had six or seven agents fighting over them, or were getting multiple auditions at the Globe for major roles – eight of us were left out in the cold when July finally came around.


How did you get your first professional job?

I was insanely lucky. A casting director who saw me in one of my final year shows called me in to audition for the company Shared Experience. It was for a main role in a play about the Brontë sisters, and I remember feeling so under qualified – I didn't even have an agent to fight my corner. Turns out I didn't need one; I was offered a recall audition right there in the room. Then when I was down to the final three, apparently the director, Nancy Meckler, got in touch with one of my former LAMDA teachers, John Baxter. He’d worked with all three of us, and so Nancy asked him who he’d hire; apparently he said me, and from that job I got my first agent. I still owe John the biggest thank you pint for that!

What’s been your favourite job so far?

I've been so lucky that every job so far has been fantastic in its own way, but if I had to choose I think my second Shared Experience gig, where I played the titular role in Helen Edmundson’s play Mary Shelley. Originating a character like that is already such an honour, but Helen is such an extraordinary writer that even after we'd been doing the show for three months it still felt like unwrapping the best Christmas present ever every night we performed. And I owe Shared Experience my career and my professional development on so many levels.

What is the advice you would offer to young people leaving drama school over the next few weeks or the advice you’d give yourself looking back?

It’s easy to say, and I wish I’d known this myself, but you DON’T need an agent. At least not at first. They’re not the be all and end all. Casting directors are more important that agents, and in turn directors are more important than casting directors. They’re the ones who actually hire you. If you’ve worked with professional directors in your final year, keep in touch with them; they may hire you in future (or get you your first job)!

Making your own work isn't for everyone, but if you can do it then do it – Mischief Theatre, who created The Play That Goes Wrong are living proof of just how far you can go just from starting in a pub theatre. But people from my year have set up successful theatre and film companies from scratch in the 8 years since we graduated and I’m so full of admiration and respect for their drive and creativity – I know I couldn't do it!

And don't give up if things don't work out right away. I’ve come so close to quitting more times than I can count, but things can and do change overnight. A guy from my year after graduation for years barely worked, briefly became a baker, and now he's starring in a major West End musical. Before my current 14 month contract with the RSC I was almost totally unemployed for a year. But find ways to keep busy, write letters to people (trust me, it works) and know there's more luck than talent in most successful careers (but hard work is a big help up).

What do you think of (RE)PRESENTED as a project (is it something you’d have gone for)?

(RE)PRESENTED is exactly what I’m talking about when I say keep busy. It’s ideal as a next step into the industry and I wish something similar had been around when I graduated; I'd definitely have gone for it myself!

Kristin is now represented by United Agents

You can catch Kristin in the RSC's Rome Season in Stratford until September and then at the Barbican in London from November. For more information click here

To apply for (RE)PRESENTED please click here and fill in the online registration form. Applications are open until 1st November 2017.

(RE)PRESENTED - Kieran Knowles by Kieran Knowles

In 2010, I graduated from LAMDA without representation. I was 25. I had met with agents, but I'd bottled it. I didn't have confidence in who I was as an artist, I had no idea of my casting, and the 'industry' was a word that struck fear into my very core.

I'm not even exaggerating, I was once shivering with fear as I left a meeting with an agent.

I wouldn't have taken me on as a client. 

It was somewhat disappointing though.

When you get the letter to say you got into drama school, theres a complacent side of your brain which goes 'job done, I'm an actor.' It seems impossible that you'll get into these institutions when you apply, so when you do, it feels amazing and the confidence only grows as you feel yourself getting better as a performer during your training.

Then you meet the real world, and its even more selective, even more formal, corporate and intimidating than drama school auditions.

And like with any new job it feels insurmountable, at least it did to me.

But it isn't. It just appears that way. The first day at high school you feel like you could get lost at any moment, but by the time you leave sixth form you have memories of every nook and cranny in every building and you know every side passage and sneaky short cut.

In an acting sense, the 32 year old me would give a little re-assuring whisper to the 25 year old me and say, don't apologise for being you. Embrace it, its the only unique thing you have. Don't worry about representation, it will come, don't worry about your voice in interviews, meetings or on stage, you'll find it, focus on the work and the opportunities in front of you. Take your time, don't try to have it all from day one, you'll be setting yourself up to fail.

 As Bottom in my final year at LAMDA

As Bottom in my final year at LAMDA

The phone will not ring off the hook with or without an agent, unless you make it.

Work begets work. 

And the 25 year old me would look at me now and go "you smug bastard, what gives you the right to be so preachy", and I'd probably baulk at that, take my patronising hand off little me's shoulder, nod and walk away, shivering like I did when I left that agent's office, still unsure of my voice, still scared of being 'found out'.

But I guess I would look more convincing when telling people 'it'll all be alright', when they don't have access to my brain or my bank account, and so instead of whispering into the ear of a quantum version of myself, I came up with an idea along with Jamie and Salvatore who I run From Ground Up Theatre Company with - its called Represented and it is a project which will give graduates a bit of time and experience to transition into the industry.

Applications are now open, and we are looking for graduates from UK drama schools from the last two years (2016/2017) who do not have representation. If you apply, you will get an audition, and if you audition you will receive feedback.

From the applicants we will build a company of 5 actors with whom we will develop a new play which will be performed at the Pleasance theatre in Islington for 3 weeks Feb-March 2018. We're hoping the project may even tour!

And the best bit, everyone will be paid. It'll be a professional job. And it'll be a role written just for you in a brand new play, so it'll be another chance to showcase your skills.

But its more than that. We hope that the project will show people how easy, and rewarding creating and producing work can be, and with the help of Pleasance Futures we are going to provide workshops on forming companies, getting work programmed, networking and a lot of other really useful advice for young artists.

If this sounds like a project that you'd be interested in, or if you know someone who might. Then please click the box below.