Tag Archives: stage

Keepin’ on Truckin’

On Tuesday I met the wonderfully creative and talented Steve Byrne, artistic director at Interplay Leeds. After congratulating him on his increased National Portfolio funding (and if you know Interplay, you’ll know how much they deserved it!) we got chatting about our past work together and possibilities for the future.

Steve seemed keen to work with me as a performer and we discussed some projects that he has in the pipeline. Nothing concrete, but I’m hopeful that I’ll be back in rehearsal with Interplay before long.

I also had a chat with Darren at Morph Films about filming A Price on Life, the NHS protest piece that I developed a few weeks back (see my post below). We hope to be putting it in front of cameras sometime early in June, although we haven’t got a firm date fixed yet. I should have more news on this in my next blog.

I’ve been busy applying for new castings all over the shop this week. The most exciting of these is an opportunity to perform for the simply wonderful Theatre Company Blah Blah Blah on their Stig of The Dump tour later this year. I’ve wanted to work with the Blah’s for simply ages and I have many fingers and toes crossed for an audition. I love the ethos of the company and, having worked with disabled actors and audiences quite a few times in my career so far, I am always excited when a new project like this comes up.

My chat with Steve at Interplay got me thinking beyond my acting career, however. Having worked with me when I was Dramaturg on Daughter of the Winds and Happy Days, Steve was curious to know why I hadn’t been actively chasing Dramaturgy and writing work in recent months. I started explaining to him that there was little interest in this side of my career when it suddenly hit me; that wasn’t actually true.

In recent months I have been asked to write two plays and provide Dramaturgical feedback on a full movie screenplay! Red Ladder seem keen to engage me in more script reading too, although their plans are a little up in the air due to their recent ACE funding cut.

In fact, whenever I start talking to people about my career so far, ears seem to prick up when I mention my Dramaturgy. Life, as they say, is what happens when you’re busy doing something else – and I can testify to that.

With this in mind, I’ve decided to push ahead with the launch of a blog dedicated to this side of my career – You’ll find it at dramaturgtim.wordpress.com. It’ll launch tomorrow night (17/5/2011, about 20.00 GMT) so keep your eyes peeled!

You may also have noticed a major facelift to the site. I’ve re-jigged it to make things more accessible and information about me easier to find. Please take a good look around.

I’m off to a meeting with the Arts Council later today so I shall have to disappear off. But you stay frosty, y’hear?

Tim Austin is an Actor and Theatre Dramaturg working nationally and internationally from his base in the UK. You can find his Spotlight CV by clicking here and a full biography by clicking here.

A Month in the Playground

It’s been a frustrating and mixed few weeks since my last post.

“Disowned”, the short film that I was due to complete late last month (wonderfully witty and clever script!), had to be shelved due to a sudden and unforseen funding withdrawal. This left quite a sizeable hole in my timetable and was a blow to the momentum that I was building up. It quite took the wind out of my sails and now leaves me one segment short of a full showreel.

But, swings and roundabouts, I was asked to write a short play to protest at the cuts and back-door privatisation of the NHS. My friend Aliki, one of the driving forces behind Lancasters’ Theatre Uncut show, joined me on stage for a rehearsed reading of the play at an NHS fundraiser and the script was flatteringly well received. Indeed, so successful was it that the good people at Morph Films have offered to film it (a replacement segment on the showreel! Yay!) The script has also been posted on the Proper Gander Goose blog, to be used (for free and gratis!) by protest groups and performers anywhere in the UK.

Swings. Roundabouts.

Having liked my performance in Whiff Whaff a couple of months ago, Joe Sumpsion – Artistic Director at The Dukes Theatre in Lancaster – offered me an audition for their upcoming “Merlin and the Legend of King Arthur”. This was a fantastic opportunity to perform in a nationally-recognised piece of event theatre. Great News!

Swings. Roundabouts. Slides.

I didn’t get the part.

Not that I’m particularly upset at this – if you got upset every time you didn’t get a part, you’d be a pretty lame duck as an actor!

Indeed, I’m very proud of how well I did in the audition and my performance was welcomed very warmly – but it wasn’t what they were looking for. And that’s fair enough, frankly; the play’s the thing, as Billy the Bard once wrote. I am hopeful that I can work with them at some point in the near future and we’re staying in touch.

Sand pits. (Am I stretching this analogy now? Be honest.)

With nothing new on the immediate horizon, I start my own set of filmed monologues (see below or click on VideoTim in the sidebar). The first of these, An Invitation to Dinner, is very well received and I’m very proud of the finished product. I’m up again! Feeling good, feeling positive!

SeeSaws.

But I seem to hit a brick wall. With the lovely weather and two 4 day weekends in quick succession, I find it nigh-on impossible to publicize myself. What follows is 2 painfully frustrating weeks where calls and e-mails seem to dissapear into the ether. Self promotion can be a difficult thing at the best of times but, with more days off than days in the office, casting directors and producers seem to blank me entirely. Oof.

Well what are you to do? You dust yourself down and get back on the wagon, that’s what! My determination undimmed, I pick myself up and continue to chase down new projects and new collaborators.

After all, what else is there to do?!

Tim Austin is an Actor and Theatre Dramaturg 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 his bio here https://actortim.wordpress.com/about-actortim/

Run VT!

Something a bit different this week on Actortim;

Presenting VideoTim, a brand new YouTube channel dedicated to new and unique monologues and performances!

I have decided to fill the time between acting jobs by presenting new work online. I prefer to keep myself busy and stay in practice as much as possible but, without a stage on which to perform, I have no feedback and no audience. Well VideoTim will put pay to that!

This isn’t a replacement for a showreel; I am in the process of putting a full one of those together and I’ll be sharing it as soon as it’s prepared. No, this is more an experiment in staying sharp and encouraging the development of new monologues.

Y’see, VideoTim is an open channel where writers are encouraged to get in touch and send in new monologues for me to perform. Viewers are then encouraged to comment on the results and to suggest changes; it’s completely interactive.

With that in mind, if you have a monologue of between 1 and 5 minutes in length that you would like to see put into action on screen, email it in to thevideotim@gmail.com, I’d really love to read it – and if I like it, it could be the very next VideoTim presentation! Share the news and encourage others to contribute!

Oh, and don’t forget to comment on the video’s yourself and to share them as widely as possible.

Without further ado, here’s a quick introduction followed by the very first video; An Invitation to Dinner. Enjoy!

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

A Very Public Mugging

A Man for All Seasons

 

Welcome back to Actortim! Take a pew.

Now, you may have noticed the comic at the top of the page and, if you have, you’ll probably have a fair idea of where I’m I’m going with this week’s post. If you’re of a nervous disposition you may want to go off and read something else. Something about bunnies or kittens or clouds. Maybe listen to some whale song while you’re at it.

Still with me? Good.

Engage rant mode.

There is a strange rumor going about. Apparently, we’re skint. Oh yes, apparently, the government hasn’t got two farthings to rub together.

Except for the £4000-a-piece missiles it’s shooting at tanks in Libya. But apart from that they’re skint.

Though no-one told Vodafone who have just persuaded the government (who are skint, let’s not forget!) to let them off from paying a multi-billion pound tax bill.

And the government kindly, out of the generosity, kindness and fairness of spirit that we’ve come to expect from them, allowed Barclays Bank to pay tax on only 2% of the profits they made last year; because the government obviously doesn’t really need the multi-billion pound income that this would provide. No, that would be silly; it’s not like they’re skint or anything. Except they are. Or so they say.

All well and good, you say, but what has this got to do with acting?

Well you see, because they’re “skint” the government can’t afford pesky things like paying for public services. They can’t afford to keep all those Police on the streets or to fund school renovations, sustain current levels of nursing or, indeed, pay us actors to “prance about on stage in tights”.

And before you all go running off to the Daily Mail to bemoan “another fucking woolly, liberal thespian crying because his funding has been cut!” just hold your horses; I am not for a moment suggesting that theatre and arts funding should be lauded or protected above and beyond other, potentially life saving, public services!

Of course arts funding isn’t as important as nursing or childcare provision. Given the choice, of course the money should be spent on front line public services to help the disadvantaged, the disabled and the infirm! But my point is this; none of these cuts are necessary; not cuts to nursing, policing, schooling and certainly not the arts!

The current financial situation wasn’t caused by us (and by us I include every man, woman and child in the UK who is suffering the effects of the banking collapse) and yet, breathtakingly, we are the ones who have been told to pay the price. Not asked; told.

And with that in mind, what I witnessed last week, where truly brilliant and inspiring theatre companies like Chol and Red Ladder were either wholly or substantially cut from the National Portfolio of Regularly Funded Organisations (NPO) by the Arts Council in England, was truly heartbreaking.

These companies, with inspiring outreach services that took theatre into deprived areas and spoke up for silent minorities in society, became the victim of a collective mugging. A mugging for money that the government doesn’t need.

Y’see, there’s a silent truth that stalks the halls of Whitehall. It is so dangerous and inflammatory that no one ever discusses it outside those hallowed halls. And here it is (hold on to something!);

If the government collected all of the tax that it is owed by the multinational corporations and banks based in this country, we could eradicate the public debt instantly. Not next year, not 5 years down the line; today.

Take a second to think about that. Let it sit in your mind.

Greedy, irresponsible and immoral banking practices got us into this mess. They effectively stole trillions of pounds of taxpayers money when the bubble burst. But has the government chosen to recoup this money from them? Has it placed significant taxes on them to claw some of this money back? Has even one UK banker gone anywhere near jail for this?

No.

I’m not here to second guess why the government would prefer to make the society that it’s supposed to serve pay for rich bankers to remain rich. I’m not in a position to guess why the profits of Vodafone come before local bus services in rural areas. And I don’t have the training to question why the Arts Council in England was forced to take away £100,000,000 from theatres, galleries, directors, actors, stage hands, arts administrators, puppeteers, musicians and dancers across the country.

All I know is that peoples livelihoods and careers have been put at risk this week. Theatre companies will have to close, outreach services will be struck down, kids who would otherwise have had access to the arts that we have, until now, taken for granted, will no longer get that chance.

And that stinks.

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

What’s in a Name?

As Shakespeare once famously observed “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” (Romeo and Juliet, Act 2, Scene 2). However Billy The Bard never met Max Clifford.

And nor have I, so let’s not go nuts.

The point I’m trying to make is this; a name can tell a person something about you before they actually meet you. Now, this message needn’t actually be true or accurate (what would you think of me if I was called Poobags Bugmuncher? Would you let me work with kids?) but it’s there.

So this week I asked myself the question; What is my professional name saying to directors, producers and casting agents? Should I be Tim Austin or Timothy Austin? Should it be something else entirely (“The Royal Shakespeare Company presents Poobags Bugmuncher as Hamlet”)?

After a great deal of thought, I settled on a change from Tim to Timothy but I’m very aware that there may be other opinions out there (Hello Aliki!). So, what do you think? Fire up those Mice and get a-clickin’! ALL of you! It’ll just take a second!

<<Update: The poll has now closed, thanks for all your contributions>>

And now, the News,….

After a day recovering from a fantastic show night on the 19th, it was straight back to work. I’m not the kind of person to sit back and wait for my agent to call; in fact, this is the worst thing you can do, especially when you’re just starting out! Gotta make some noise about Actortim!

On Wednesday night I spent a lovely evening with street theatre bods at the Green Room in Manchester, care of XTrax. There’s so much going on out there on the streets, people! From the insane but wholly adorable antics of Thingumajig Theatre and their Giant Hippo’s to the dedicated team at Lakesalive who are fighting to make Cumbria a Centre for Street Arts Excellence. It’s a fantastic and vibrant sector of the artistic universe and one which is far too often overlooked here in the UK.

This week also saw me getting in touch with a few old friends – namely Rod Dixon over at Red Ladder and Steve Byrne at Interplay, both of whom I’ll be having a cuppa with in the next week.  I’ll also be having a chat with Joe Sumsion soon to catch his thoughts on Theatre Uncut.

On the casting front, this week I’ve applied to be; King Arthur, A Terry Thomas Sound-a-Like and a character on a Blackpool pleasurebeach “4D” ride (scream if you wanna go faster!)

So it’s onward and upward. It’s meetings galore and networking MADNESS over the next few weeks before I drop in front of the camera again in MCT Production’s “Disowned” in Liverpool.

As ever, wish me luck!