“Ben, I don’t want a child right now. Actually screw that, I can’t have a child right now…”
Does anyone really belong to us? Do our friends, our lovers, our children? “Mine” by Georgia Taylforth, explores three couples route into pregnancy, and questions whether they have a right to claim ownership of that child and indeed each other.
Following it’s successful run at The Courtyard Theatre in April 2016 Who Said Theatre’s “Mine”, written by Georgia Taylforth, is transferring to The Etcetera Theatre, Camden as part of the Camden Fringe.
If you missed it the first time round (or you just want to see it again!) then you can book tickets online at: https://cam.tickets.red61.com/performances.php?eventId=3113%3A1249
“Fresh, vibrant and energetic, moving along at a brisk pace, yet delivering the more poignant and shocking moments with emotional sensitivity and awareness.” – Peter Brown, ActDrop, *****
“Exciting, thought provoking material.” – Scatter Of Opinion “Excellent.” – Brenda Blethyn
So Patch how did you get into acting, did you always want to be an actor?
Like many I’m sure, I first got into it at school. There was a production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory which I auditioned for so as not to be outdone by my older brother (he had played Robin Hood the year before). To my surprise and secret glee I was cast as Willy Wonka, and so dedicated myself to learning the part. In hindsight I probably gave an utterly garbled rendition, but it was enough of an experience to chase as much theatre as I could thereafter. Aged 14 I don’t think I seriously considered the possibility of being ‘an actor’, but I suppose the ambition came about as a natural result of never wanting to stop.
You did a course at the Guildford School of Acting. Why did you decide to train? How do you feel it set you up?
To the first part of that question, the short answer is that I wanted to be a better actor and start growing a network within the industry. The short answer to the second part is that it did both those things. In more depth, I knew there was nothing else on this earth I wanted to do and it seemed like the best way to get a foot in the industry’s door and give myself some credibility. I feel it set me up pretty well; attending a school does of course qualify you for Equity and Spotlight memberships and I was lucky enough to leave with an agent as well. Furthermore, I’ve had work that I’ve got directly through contacts I made at GSA. Drama school worked for me; it was a great way to start my career but it’s certainly not the only way to start.
Many people can’t afford drama school and the rising fees cause people to choose different paths, how important do you think it is to maintain an inclusive industry?
Goodness me how do I approach such a significant subject? I feel very underqualified to share my opinions on this. I’ll start by saying what’s important at the moment is not to maintain but to pursue an inclusive industry. We don’t have an industry that is all-inclusive and that’s the problem. As you say, the cost of training is huge; the ratio of the cost of going to drama school versus what you are likely to earn when you leave has to be one of the most unfavourable of any vocational course I can think of. Understandably this puts people off as at face value it looks like a terrible investment. Then, once in the profession, there is a relatively small amount of paid work available compared to a vast number of actors, none of whom have any greater or lesser right to work than any other. This too squeezes out people who simply can’t earn enough by juggling day jobs and taking acting work when it comes along. These are people who are just as likely to be talented, skilled and have stories to share as people whose circumstances mean they can wait it out, and it leaves sections of society without a voice. So, it’s extremely important. In the long-term what can be done? As well as the easy answer of MORE SCHOLARSHIPS, networks of like-minded people such as Actor Awareness are wonderful because they provide a platform for people to showcase their stories and skills and meet professionals at the same stages of the careers, as well as actively seeking deals to help members find ways of keeping their business expenses down. I’m full of admiration for the work you guys do. I also found out about a group called BOSSY (I have limited understanding of as it is a women’s only group) it is a forum for female industry professionals to come together and support each other, groups like these are amazing places for people to help each other through the same challenges.
Tell us about the new play ‘Mine’.
Mine is a play about 3 pairs of people and how pregnancy changes their lives. In order of appearance, the first ‘couple’, Ben and Sophie, meet on tinder and engage in a no strings attached relationship (can I call that a relationship?), then my character Chris is in a couple with Emma, played by the playwright Georgia Taylforth. They appear to be the perfect couple; completely in love, supportive of each other and still having plenty of ‘fun’. The third pair is Toby, a gay man unsuccessfully trying to adopt, and his best friend Lauren who offers a solution to his problems. The play asks what ownership the characters have over their future children, and indeed each other (I may be slightly plagiarizing from the official description…). I’m also proud to say we’ve made it onto Stagedoor’s list of most anticipated shows of Camden Fringe!
What have you got from your experience working on ‘Mine’?
Today I have a headache and bruised pride because I was an idiot and misjudged where the arm of a sofa was and smashed my head against the wooden bit of it in rehearsal earlier. I’m also exhausted and I think I might smell a bit. However I’ve got the satisfaction of working with hugely talented friends, playing some seriously challenging scenes and, well, working. Just working. I cannot tell you how much I always love just having the opportunity to work.
We all know it’s a tough industry, so what advice would you give other actors and what do you tell yourself to keep going?
I’m only at the beginning of my career so I would feel like a complete fraud giving any advice! What I will say instead is the way I try to approach what I do and if anyone is able to make sense of it then all the better. My outlook is based on the old cliché ‘the harder you work, the luckier you get’. I try to treat acting like a full time job. I make sure I do something to help my career every day, even when doing the day job, and treat days off from that as a gift. What I can do in a day obviously depends on how much time I have available, but believe me, now I’m in the habit of keeping busy it’s a hard one to break! I tell myself that that elusive breakthrough might not come along today, tomorrow, or even the day after that, but it’s out there somewhere so it’s up to me to be available and to be ready. I’m lucky enough to have found an extremely flexible day job (they are out there), so much so that I’ve never had to miss an audition because of it, and affordable enough rent (they’re also out there!) that it’s not a big deal if I have to cancel a couple of shifts here and there. That’s availability covered, and as far as being ready is concerned, I just try to make sure I’m always working on or towards something. It keeps me on the ball.
‘Mine’, by Georgia Taylforth, is performed by Who Said Theatre directed by Blake Barbiche, at the Etcetera Theatre on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd August at 2:30pm.
For more information (as well as booking links) you can visit our website at:http://www.whosaidtheatre.com/#!mine/tiwj8