Category Archives: Uncategorized

Thunderbirds are GO!!! – But are they as good as the original series?

A very interesting discussion on the pros and cons of the new Thunderbirds Are Go series, from my long-time collaborator Collette Knowles of Rough Magic Theatre.

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Despite my initial suspicion, given the lack of puppets, the new reboot of Thunderbirds for ITV (Thunderbirds Are Go) has a lot of merit and is great fun to watch.

I tend to find in general that films and television that use CGI rather than puppetry are just not as effective.  You can always tell when something is CGI rather than animated or using live puppetry and it does tend to feel a bit cheap, fake and disappointing.  There are obviously exceptions.  The work of Pixar for example does not attempt to make CGI look naturalistic but instead uses caricatured visuals which are much more effective.

Puppets have a character and expression all of their own and unlike CGI where every action is programmed a puppeteer can be surprised by the things their puppet does.  A puppeteer does not impose a set of actions and movements upon the puppet, rather the…

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“Local Performer to Debut Riverbank Tales”

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On the 30th of May, High Bentham will see the world première of 3 new short stories by celebrated local actor and writer Tim Austin.  Told to visitors in venues around the town as part of this year’s “Carnival Bentham”, the event marks a departure into straight storytelling that Tim has been planning for a long time.

“I’ve been writing for stage, page and audio for a while now,” explains Tim. “And much of my work has been short stories.  I’ve already performed self-penned shadow theatre shows and even a monologue or two on a West End stage but this will be the first time I’ve written and performed a story without props or puppets – the purest kind of storytelling.”

Tim will be telling stories about life and fantastical events on the River Wenning, which runs beside and through High Bentham.  The hubris of kings, magical creatures, an adventure in the undergrowth and the great Wenning Oak (a local landmark) will all feature.

The River itself provides the inspiration for this year’s Carnival Bentham; an event that’s now in it’s 4th year.  Along with Tim’s storytelling trail, the carnival will include a vibrant mix of street entertainment, a street procession, live music and fun competitions for all.

“I’ve been involved in the Carnival every year since it started,” continues Tim. “It’s a great event!  This is the first time I’ve been presenting my own work there and I’m really looking forward to it.”

As well as a busy Actor, Tim is a prolific writer, having penned many theatre plays and shadow shows for long-time collaborators Rough Magic Theatre.  He is also a published short-story writer, with his “Christmas Tails” collection riding high in the Amazon book charts every December and another collection on the way later this year.

Tim will be performing on streets and inside shops around the town.  Carnival Bentham takes place on Saturday the 30th of May. For more details on the event, please visit their facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CARnivalBentham

(From a press release submitted to local newspapers)

Medical Roleplay and The Man with a Plan

As 2014 chugs merrily on, I’m encouraged by the opportunities that are springing up – some on the acting side, some on the writing and some on the Dramaturgy.

I’ve recently started working with a company in Lancaster on some medical roleplay for the local hospital.  It’s a fantastic way to keep your “hand in” between stage and screen roles and the people involved are marvelous.  It’s also nice to see employers who are still pro-active in employing local actors –  it’s a frequent complaint that I hear in my position at my local Equity branch: why do many Northern theatres and TV producers mainly audition for performers in London?  Why does this still happen when there are so many talented performers right next door?  Are the actors in London better?  In most cases, the answer is simply “No”.  Yet it happens.

Sorry, bit of a rant there.

Writing plans are a touch hush-hush but things may pan out in very interesting ways as the year goes on.  Keep ’em peeled!

What I can say is that I’ve a radio drama script in contention at the Beeb – it’s a play that I wrote from my previous experience as an ambulance call taker and dispatcher.  Feedback has been positive so far but you can never tell; the commissioning structure at the BBC isn’t the most straight-forward process in the world.

I was down in London t’other day (as a Dramaturg) to meet with Puppeteers and producers about the process of writing for puppets.  It was a fantastic event that threw up a bunch of interesting questions.  I’ve written for puppets quite a bit and it’s great to be able to share some of my experience.  If you’ve a puppetry play that you could do with a little feedback on, even if you’ve not started scripting it yet, do drop me a line – timaustin2000@googlemail.com.

Back to the acting:  last year was a slow year, with many other concerns (a lot of them to do with feeding myself each month) distracting me from pushing hard on the acting side of things.  I’m determined that this will change in 2014 and, to help myself capitalise on my experience and ability, I’m drawing up a plan.

If I could give one piece of advice to new-comers to the acting biz it’d be to plan.  What are the types of shows that you’d like to do (be specific!)?  Who makes them?  When will they be most open to hearing from you and what’s the best way of getting in touch?  How can you be seen by them in performance?  If you’ve nothing coming up, is there a way of making some work of your own in their area?

All these questions go into a year planner on my wall.  A career is a career, after all:  Acting is not a hobby.

So I’ll end on a question – just pop your answers in a comment, below.  How do you plan out your acting career and what kind of actor do you want to be?

Until next time, stay frosty!

Tim x

“Officer Buckle and Gloria” Announcement

Hello all.  Yes I know that it’s been a while but I’ve been awaiting the contractual ink to dry before announcing some very exciting news!

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In June, I’ll be starring in a brand new stage adaptation of the multi-million-selling children’s book “Officer Buckle and Gloria” by Peggy Rathmann.

Premièring in the last week of June at East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley and City Park in Bradford, West Yorkshire,  “Officer Buckle and Gloria” is a new commission produced by my long-term collaborators at Rough Magic Theatre.

It’s the story of an American cop who travels between schools to give dull and largely-ignored safety talks.  Things change when his bosses give him a Police dog called Gloria to accompany him,… a dog with a surprising talent for show-biz!

Gloria will be a full, Alsatian-sized dog puppet and is currently under construction in the Rough Magic workshop.  Boy is she cute!

I’ll be back with more details very soon, along with exciting news of other projects that are still on the QT.

Don’t be a stranger!

Tim Austin is an actor, writer and dramaturg based in North Yorkshire, UK.  Take a look around the site to find out more.

Officer Buckle and Gloria © 1995 by Peggy Rathmann.  First published in the United States by G. P. Putnam’s Sons.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.

16th of November – put it in your diary.

A quick news update!

I shall be performing in the DT3 space at the Dukes Theatre in Lancaster on Friday the 16th of November, as part of this year’s Theatre Uncut.  I’ll be performing the monologue “Dead Point”, a great little piece that tackles the mental impact of our crashing economy.  Please come along to show your support.

For tickets to the event, please click here: http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/org/948101577?s=1 

I have further showings of Alice in Wonderland with Rough Magic Theatre coming up soon too.

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This November, I’ll be showing my support for the fight against prostate and testicular cancers by sporting a ‘tache for Movember!  Follow my progress on my Mo Space page and please donate whatever you can.  You can find my Mo Space here:  http://mobro.co/timaustin

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Talking of raising money for charity, my short story collection, Christmas Tails, is back on sale over on the Amazon Kindle store.  Proceeds of every sale go to the BBC Children in Need Campaign.  Spread some Christmas cheer and enjoy the stories here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Christmas-Tails-ebook/dp/B00642GS5E/ (UK) or http://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Tails-ebook/dp/B00642GS5E/ (USA)

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Playing to Type

I’ve made some amendments to my profile page, “About Tim Austin”, please take a look. As I mentioned briefly in a post below, I’ve recently been reminded by a few people, casting directors included, how important it is to have an obvious “type” or, to use business-speak, a “unique selling point”. I’ve spent a fair while asking others what mine is (never guess yourself, you’ll always get it wrong!) and I’ve now adapted my biography with this in mind.

I’ll be writing about the importance of creating a “brand” in my first article for Frost Magazine next week, stay tuned!

Tim Austin is an Actor working nationally and internationally from his base in the UK. You can find his Spotlight CV here; http://www.spotlight.com/8218-3497-0502 and watch his showreel by clicking here.

A Moving Experience

Hello, greetings, greetings! Take a seat!

I’ve been out of circulation recently, moving house and taking a short break in the Netherlands to help my wife with her toy theatre show Hansel and Gretel (no pay but a great experience – if you want to know more, please visit http://puppetlandy.wordpress.com). But now I’m back! Huzzah!

So, what news? Well, not much right now. Had a meeting with the lovely Sue McCormick, a Lancaster-based actor/director last week. She does a lot of work with Demi Paradise and there is interest in bringing me on board as an actor for their 2012 show at Lancaster Castle. I’m looking forward to having a good look around the building with company AD Stephen Thomlin sometime later this month. I’ll keep you posted.

I’ve now recieved the first clip for my showreel (I have in my hands the completed edit of the rather wonderful short thriller “Hunted”, which I filmed last December) and am actively chasing a second. I’m waiting to hear from Morph Films about shooting A Price on Life sometime in either June or July, which will complete the line up. I’m also planning more VideoTim shorts but the house move has rather delayed things on that front.

It’s an odd feeling when you’ve been off doing other things for a while. I feel a little dis-connected after moving house – it doesn’t help that I’ve now lost internet connection.

On the up side, I found a whole box full of Dramaturgy materials and workbooks from previous theatre projects during the move. It’s a treasure trove of work that I had previously assumed lost. How wonderful to get it all back again! I shall be discussing this further on my Dramaturgy blog over at http://dramaturgtim.wordpress.com soon. Keep your eyes peeled!