My time at NNT started when a bloke I’d met only a few days prior, Ollie Shortt, told me about this little theatre on campus doing plays that he thought I’d might want to join. I’d always done musical theatre previously, but never straight plays. Cut to 3 months later and after playing copious amounts of Mafia, I had my trousers round my ankles, running around the stage like my life depended upon it.
I spent my the rest of that year, and my second, acting, before realising I really did suck at learning lines and fancied doing that bit where you still got to go to the rehearsals, but didn’t have to learn any of the words, and could actually pick which play you wanted to do. Coincidentally, it was at this point that I really began to feel the effects of an anxiety disorder that prevented me from acting for a good while, and something which would impact a lot of the manner in which I directed theatre.
So from then on, I started directing. My first couple of outings were wonderful fun, from the female focused Sex Cells, a show I believed proudly brought back some of the spirit of the NNT comedies I’d been a part of in my first year, to Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me, which I genuinely believe is the show with the least percentage of correct lines ever performed on the NNT stage.
Not ready to leave university yet, I took on a Masters degree. I was then given a show called W;t, possibly the hardest show I have directed to date. Directing a show about a dying woman learning to come to terms with her terminal cancer through metaphysical poetry was not something I’d ever expected when I came in, a staunch comedy actor in my first year. The experience of directing that show, and the wonderful reception it received, is not something I’d ever forget.
For what was meant to be finally, I decided to see just how much in the other direction I could go, and took on the behemoth of directing a show which I’d been told in my first year “would probably get laughed out of proposals.” Lots of drugs, one very disgusting toilet, and the audience seeing slightly too much of Pete later, Trainspotting was meant to be the moment I bowed out at NNT. Immensely proud of it, I was finally ready to go.
Over the Summer of 2017, I got incredibly sick and found myself still at university writing my LLM thesis in October. Still clinging onto the last vestiges of my studentship, I proposed a show with a friend, but as producer this time. Sadly, that was not to last as the friend was required to drop out of the show relatively quickly, and I somehow ended up directing Collaborators, a show about a show which the writer is forced to write. Everyone saw the irony. But after a wonderfully large cast, many of whom I am proud to say were brand new members to the theatre in a show I hoped they enjoyed as the first of their careers, I was tired and ready to go.
NNT gave me some of the most phenomenal experiences of my university career, and I can’t thank all those who made it what it was enough.
After I graduated, inspired by my work on Trainspotting, I applied to study Applied Theatre MA at Central School for Speech and Drama, looking to move into theatre designed to foster integration among communities damaged by austerity, and newly released prisoners. I was lucky enough to be accepted, but unfortunately due to changing circumstances and the cost of fees, I couldn’t take up my place. The place is still waiting there though, and I’ll let you all know when I finally get there…
But for now, I’m working in press relations for StepChange, a debt charity helping people suffering from problem debt in Westminster, and seeing theatre at every opportunity I get.
Bio last updated 2019-01-10, submit updates.