Tag Archives: Theater

Books, Acting and Things: ActorTim is BACK, baby!

Where does the time go?

But let’s not start with all that!  I have been having a very busy year as a performer and as a novelist.  Let me tell you all about it,…

As you’ll have seen in my last post – oh, so long ago – I spent part of my Summer working as a storyteller in my home of Bentham.  I have also been hard at work as a medical roleplayer in Lancaster and Manchester.  It’s one of those jobs that is an enjoyable and reliable “filler” between more visible acting work.

I continued my association with Rough Magic Theatre last year, returning to perform as Lewis Carol and The Mad Hatter in a short summer tour of their “Alice In Wonderland” show at a number of festivals.  I also returned to the role of Fred Fettler in “Fred Fettler’s Pony 3000”, a street theatre show that went down a storm at Lancaster Encounter, a summertime festival in Preston.

 

Beyond acting, I have been busy writing.  My “Christmas Tails” collection of short stories has been selling well over the holiday season and I’ve been typing out stories for the sequel collection, due out later this year.

Santa Cover

Just before Christmas I released “The Santa Beneath The Ice”, a short comic/Noir crime thriller set in 1900 New York.  It quickly drew a set of Five Star reviews and sold in good numbers – though the fashion on Kindle these days seems to favour full-length novels.

With that in mind, I have already begun work on my first full-length novel featuring Keegan and Lestrade, characters that I grew very fond of during the writing of “Santa”.  Their first full-length adventure (currently under the provisional title “The Ripper of Red Hook”) will be written over the course of 2016.  I’ve already mapped out the mystery they will face and many of the characters they’ll meet on the way.  Lets see what happens!

I’ll be blogging solidly about my experience writing this first full-length work over the next year.  If you’re curious about how it feels to write a novel and what challenges a writer faces, subscribe to this blog and keep updated on my progress.

Which reminds me: this blog is going weekly.  After an eon in suspended animation, I’m ensuring that I update it every Wednesday from now on.  I hope that you can join me.

Until Wednesday, though,…

Stay Frosty.

Tim xx

4 Days To Go – Clueless and Wuffles are Heading to Glastonbury (and other BIG news)!

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Rehearsals for Clueless and Wuffles: the Case of the Missing Jewels are now complete, with a dress and tech rehearsal dusted over the weekend.  Now it’s just a waiting game before we head down to Worthy Farm for the festival itself.

Wuffles Poster

In case you didn’t know (or you’ve lost the ability to scroll down to the post underneath this one), I’ll be performing as DCI Clueless – a hapless and unbelievably vain detective who, along with his faithful Sergeant, DS Wuffles, must hunt down the stolen Crown Jewels.  The show will be performed at the Panic Circus Big Top on the Kidz Field from Thursday the 26th until the close of the festival.

If you’re at Glastonbury this year, keep an eye on the hashtag #wuffles for show times, pictures and all kinds of random micro-blogging goodness.  I look forward to seeing you there!

I’ll be writing up my experiences and thoughts on the festival for Frost Magazine upon my return.  Keep a weather eye out for that.

In other news, I’ve recently been cast in “Justice”, a site-specific theatrical event being held at Lancaster Castle over the Summer this year.  Work has already begun on the show, with showings taking place on weekends through July and all week through August.  More on that in my next blog post.

Plans are progressing on a funding application for a big show in March 2015.  The project, which I’ll be keeping under wraps until things are a little more firmed up, has a producer, director and musical director attached, with work due to begin on the script and music in August/September.   We’ve finalised an initial budget and our first funding bid goes in this week, with a further GFA bid emerging in July.  I’ll update you on details for the show once we know that it’s definitely happening (fingers crossed!)

And, to round things off, I’m continuing my work as a medical role-player and enjoying it immensely.  It’s a fantastic team of actors to work with and a marvellous team in charge.  I’ll be jetting back up from Somerset for another performance the day after Glastonbury (I know!)

Until next time, stay frosty!

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

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.

Out and About: Performing for the Queen (of Bentham).

Gracious, doesn’t time fly!?

Well I hope you all had a great bank holiday weekend.  Might I say, though, that while you were drinking Pimms from Union Jack plastic cups, I was hard at work!

No, not that terrible 9-5 stiff collar kind of work – that’s so 2010!  I was, once again, working with the wonderfully inventive puppetry geniuses at Rough Magic Theatre, who brought me on board for two Street Theatre shows to celebrate the Jubilee.

Some theatre types go all sneer-y at the idea of Street Theatre but I’m an equal-opportunity thespian: I don’t discriminate!  My job as an actor is to create characters and take audiences on journeys.  You don’t need a theatre stage to do that.  Plus, street theatre is tremendous fun!

First up was a brand new improv show called “Fred Fettler’s Pony 3000: The Transport of the Future!”, in which I played the eponymous Mr. Fettler – inventor extraordinaire.

It was a great show which attracted fantastic crowds of onlookers and victims volunteers.  It was described by some as “Monty Python meets the Goodies”, which is a pretty good description of the show.  Madness, it was: utter madness – in the best possible British tradition of absurdity.

The show took place over a day on the 2nd of June, as part of the Bentham leg of “My Last CarNival” – an event that highlighted a future without the motorcar, using art installations, music and theatre.

My second street show was an extension of Rough Magic’s “Alice in Wonderland”.  I took thier “Mad Hatter and the March Hare” puppetry rig on a tour around a mass Jubilee picnic.  I was even knighted by the “Queen”!  Images below.

I attended the inaugural meeting of the North Lancashire and Cumbria branch of Equity a couple of weeks back.  It’s a campaigning branch that has already been responsible for successfully lobbying the return of The Dukes Theatre’s Play in the Park show – before the branch was even official!

It’s wonderful to get involved with Equity.  Not only does it give you a feeling of community within the industry, but it also allows actors to take more control of their careers and opportunities.  If you’re an actor, I encourage you to join and get stuck in!

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A Few Thoughts on the “High Profile Credits” Conundrum.

Earlier this month I made my way down to London to meet BAFTA Nominated film director Gabriel Gauchet. I auditioned for his latest short thriller, a tightly written heart-stopper about stalking. If you’re not familiar with Gabriel’s work, I suggest you check him out. You can find out more about his work at www.gabrielgauchet.com.

I also managed to sneak a few words with ace casting director Brendan McNamara, who was kind enough to answer a few questions that I had after regarding his book “It’s the Audition, Stupid!” You can read my book review and a snippet of the interview over at Frost Magazine.

My chat with Brendan re-enforced my view that casting directors and directors put a lot of stock in the profile of an actors’ credits – the higher the profile, the more dependable the actor.

While Brendan was keen to stress that he likes trying out new people and taking a few risks, my impression was very much that casting directors still concentrate on what is written on your CV.

Now, by “high profile credits” I don’t necessarily mean leading roles. What I’m talking about are appearances with the leading theatre companies, speaking roles on popular TV shows and working with influential directors. The roles don’t need to be big, but it’s remarkable how a few names on your credits can affect your career.

So if high profile credits are important to you being considered for high profile gigs, how do you ever get high-profile credits? Surely it’s a vicious circle?

Not necessarily.

Casting directors like to see new work. They don’t always have the time to go and see every show that’s playing across the country but if you ask casting directors or, indeed, theatre/film directors, to see something that you’re in, it’s a good bet that they’ll at least consider it – just remember to get them free tickets.

If a casting director sees you in the flesh and likes what they see then suddenly that CV becomes less important.

And specialise. Sure, you may not have major credits on Doctor Who or Great Expectations but what if the Casting Director needs someone who can ride a horse or juggle? All of a sudden, you’re ahead of the pack; you’ve got something they need. And if they need it for a feature or a TV role then,… well, you might get that credit after all.

I’m mentioning this because I’m stuck in a frustrating lull at the moment and I’m not going to rest on my laurels and wait for my agent to call.

I’m in contact with 3MT in Manchester and tentative plans are afoot for performing in a comedy radio show in front of a theatre audience. I’ve also been asked to create original content for their upcoming internet TV station (more news soon).

But, more importantly, I’m in the early stages of putting together a one man show at the venue. It might be months before I’m cast in a mainstream show at a large venue – months that are wasted from a casting point of view. By creating content with a partner venue, I can control how and when casting bods can see me live.

They can also, of course, see my newly updated showreel on my Spotlight, CCP and Starnow profiles.

On the specialisation front, I’m actively seeking out courses in everything from camera acting technique to circus skills, horse riding, sword fighting and many others. Obviously I’ll not do all of these at once, but it’s good to see what’s out there. I’m also ensuring that my current specialisms, my Dramaturgy, my puppetry experience, my period features and voice, and my high-energy comedy chops are pushed to the fore.

And you’d be right to think; “Heck, Tim, isn’t that all rather expensive? How are you going to afford it all?”

Aha, well that’s a story for my next blog,…

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.