Tag Archives: Manchester

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

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Larkin’ About

Well, I’ve now finished my temporary assignment in the “Real World”, doing the 9-5 (or, in my case, the 8 – 6.30) and I’m back chasing new work as a performer. And, as lovely as the guys at the GP surgery were – and they were seriously lovely! Thank you, thank you! – I’m glad to be back chasing my career.

And, wouldn’t you know it, within a week of finishing at the surgery I found myself on stage at Contact Theatre in Manchester, helping out my old friend Aliki Chaple.

Last Saturday I performed in an improvised, and frighteningly high tech, social gaming show as part of an evening arranged by Larkin’ About. Aliki was producing and directing an interactive show called Improv Avatar and I volunteered to be one of her guinnea pigs professional actors.

The idea was this; Three other actors and I would perform together and improvise around words tweeted to us by selected members of the audience. No script, no warnings as to how to react; nothing. Imagine Whose Line is it Anyay?… on Speed. But madder.

It was hillarious. Flat out anarchy from start to finish and I loved it!

Although I’ve helped to create devised works before, I’ve never performed straight Improv, except when playing to an audience for Alice and in Panto. It was a truly remarkable experience! You had to be quick!

One moment I was attempting to force a Hippo into a cooking pot, the next I was trying to wrench my jaw out, the next I was floating in space trying to convince someone that they weren’t in Australia after all. Which was true enough.

Manic, energetic and great entertainment.

I’d like to thank my fellow performers, Jack Coverdale, Sharon Lancaster and Nathan Birkinshaw for being such sports, and a big thanks to Aliki for inviting us along!

The stage for Improv Avatar

To learn more about Larkin’ About, please visit thier website; http://larkin-about.co.uk

Only two more weeks to Christmas! Don’t forget to buy a copy of my short story e-book, Christmas Tails – it’s a great gift and 50p of every copy goes to children in need! Click here to find out more.