Down on the (Worthy) Farm: Glastonbury Festival 2014

Today I can officially announce that I’ll be starring in a brand new stage show at Glastonbury Festival in June 2014.

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The new show, Clueless and Wuffles: the Case of the Missing Jewels, is a family comedy farce.  Packed with slapstick, song and puppetry, the show has been put together for Professor Panic’s Big Top and will be performed on the Kidz Field.

I’ll be starring as DCI Clueless, a vain detective who’s as inept as he is self-absorbed.  His faithful canine partner, DS Wuffles, supports him by,…. well, by solving all of his cases for him!  But have they met their match when the Crown Jewels are snatched from the Tower?

It’s a fantastic show and a brilliant showcase, and I’m thrilled to be taking on yet another leading role for my long-time collaborators at Rough Magic Theatre.

If you’re at the festival, do make the trip across and enjoy the show!

Glastonbury 2014 takes place between the 25th – 29th of June at Worthy Farm near Pilton in Somerset.  For full details of this year’s festival, click here.

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

Winning Awards in a Fascinating Year.

At the start of 2013, I acted in a short film called “Life Like Mine”.  As the year draws to a close, then, it’s a great time to announce that the film has now garnered not 1 but 3 awards at the Angel Film Awards at the Monaco Film Festival.

The awards, now in their 11th year, are among the most prestigious on the short-film circuit.  These three awards are a testament to the hard work and talent of the crew and I’m delighted to share in their success.

What a lovely way to end the year.

And what an interesting year it’s been.  I’ve continued my successful partnership with Yorkshire-based Rough Magic Theatre, performing a number of street shows with the company and starring in their brand new theatre piece “Officer Buckle and Gloria”.

I’ve also spent a good chunk of the year training my screen performance with the help of Beverley Keogh in Manchester, as well as auditioning for a number of shows, among which was a brand new BBC sitcom.

The feature film that I shot last year, The Rise, has also had its cinema release and is now out on DVD.

My work with the local Equity branch has also been rewarding, with recent discussions and efforts delivering real benefits for performers in the region.

All in all, a fascinating time.  What will 2014 bring?

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, all!

Tim

New Headshots And a Robin Hood Cameo

Hello All (and, indeed, Sundry)!

You may have noticed a new look to my website and blog, as well as my Spotlight page.  A week back, I jetted across to the grand old Roman city of York for a headshot photoshoot.  An hour or two later, in the company of the charming (and frighteningly good) Tom Jackson,… ta daaa!

Do take a look at my gallery page or hop over to my Spotlight page for a good look at the results.

A couple of weeks back, a friend and I popped across to Williamson Park in Lancaster to watch The Dukes’ “Robin Hood”.  We were particularly keen to support the play as  a year back it looked like the Park Plays would be gone for good.  But thanks, in part, to the hard work put in by my local Equity group (of which I’m a committee member), The Dukes decided to push ahead with future Williamson Park events.

And boy was it worth it.  It was a great little play – all dystopian, Orwellian steampunk (which I love).  I was glad to see that the Dukes had gone non-traditional with the story – it’s such a well known story that it borders on cliché.  Taking a different tack made it surprising and engaging in a way that I wasn’t expecting.

And there was plenty of audience interaction – which is where my wife and I come in.  We’re old thesps, she and I, so when Robin came into the audience looking for food (a plot point) our hands, naturally, shot up.  Donating a family-sized bag of Lancashire Crisps (always keen to feed our fellow actors in time of need!), we were, for a minute, the centre of attention.

A few lines to Marion on Robin’s behalf (and some wonderful ad-libbing from my wife) later, and the play continued on its way.

After auditioning for The Dukes’ “Merlin” a couple of years ago, I was glad to finally get my face in a Park Show,… even if it was just for the briefest moment.

Another One Bites the Dust,…

After a frantic few weeks of rehearsal and revision, “Officer Buckle and Gloria” finally went before audiences in West Yorkshire at the end of June.

Amidst sweltering heat and occasional torrential rain, I donned a fat suit and baked in the name of my art.  Jumping around, running about and performing pratfalls is a bit of a challenge when you’re lumbered with a belly the size of Texas – subtle it was not (fun it was)!

But Gloria is now resting comfortably in her basket and I’m thin and trim once more, eager to push forward into my next project.

Which will be?  Ah, well that’s the thing: you never can tell.

I’m due to return as Fred Fettler in Rough Magic Theatre’s street show “Fred Fettler’s Pony 3000: the Transport of the Future” in late August and early September.

I can also announce that I’ve been commissioned to write a brand new stage play for a theatre company in York – all a bit hush-hush but I’ll be back with more news on this soon.  I’m going to be writing and sketching out the script later in the year, with “mood” scrap books and character breakdowns already under way.

On the performing front, however, I’m searching out new roles and new challenges going forward.  I’ve found the screen acting course I’ve been doing in Manchester recently (see posts below) to be invaluable in this regard.  It’s been extremely helpful in fine-tuning my screen presence and I look forward to taking these new skills into auditions through the rest of the year.  I’ll be doing a whole blog on screen acting soon so keep a weather eye out!

So meetings, contacts and auditions will be filling up my calender in the months ahead.  Stay tuned!

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

Introducing Officer Buckle

With the première of “Officer Buckle and Gloria” fast approaching, I had my first costume fitting t’other day.  As we had a spare moment, we took a few promotional pictures for various newspapers while we were at it.

Feast your eyes on these:

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As you can see, we’re going all-out to re-create the colourful, larger-than-life feel of the original book – and having a great time doing it!  I’ve also had a blast working on the character and acting out his,… ahem, “mature” physique!

But here’s the big question:  why couldn’t I grow a tache that bushy for Movember?

You can see Officer Buckle and Gloria at East Riddlesden Hall in Keighley on the 25th of June and Bradford’s City Park on the 28th.  Performances run throughout the day and are free to the public.

For more information on the creation of the show, please visit http://puppetlady.wordpress.com

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.

“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.