With the company now in rehearsals, we interview the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School actors cast to play alongside theatre professionals, Timothy West, Stephanie Cole and David Hargreaves in King Lear.
Here we get to know Alex, one of the Theatre School’s talented rising stars.
Edmund / Captain
BOVTS: Talthybius in The Trojan Women, Bun Bourke in The Madame Macadam Travelling Theatre (both Bristol Old Vic Studio); Scrub in The Beaux’ Stratagem (West Country Tour); Mark Antony in Julius Caesar (Edinburgh Fringe Festival and TIE Tour); Herod/ Narrator in We’ve Got to Get to Bethlehem! (Schools’ Tour); Chebutykin in Three Sisters, Joseph Surface in The School for Scandal, Peter Kyle in Flare Path, Claudio in Measure for Measure, Boy in The Events, Marat in The Promise. Pre BOVTS: Aunt Sponge in James and the Giant Peach (Northcott Young Company); PC Thompson in Blackouts, Bobbies and Bombs (Devon Youth Theatre Tour).
Where are you from and how did you get into acting?
Although born in Hampshire, I grew up and went to school in Somerset and Devon. Since playing God in reception class, then taking speech and drama classes through primary school, I’ve always been keen on this acting lark. After appearing in whatever amateur productions I could wangle my way into, I eventually decided to have a go at doing it properly and somehow found myself at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School…then in King Lear alongside Timothy West……cor!
Who are you playing in King Lear and what challenges have you faced in that role?
I’m playing the part of Edmund, villainous bastard extraordinaire, and it’s a tonne of fun. I feel Edmund is one of the more enjoyable parts in the play, simply because he has such an intimate and playful relationship with the audience, letting them in on his schemes, mocking other characters with them. It really is a joy to be able to directly connect with an audience in that way. The hardest thing I’ve found about him is trying to ensure that he’s a real person whose actions come from a place of real emotional hurt. I don’t particularly want him to come across as a pantomime villain, coming just shy of tying shrieking heroines to train tracks while twirling a twiddly moustache.
What’s your favourite thing about training at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School?
Aside from all the invaluable training I’ve received about how to do ‘dead, good acting’ (in the words of our Artistic Director, Jenny Stephens) I’d have to say my favourite thing is the people I’ve met and the friends I’ve made. After three years spent seeing each other in the tightest of tights, being crammed into minibuses on tour and relentlessly acting with and to each other, you’d think I’d be sick of them. But no, they’re a stand-up bunch and I know I’ve met some lifelong friends. Of course, we haven’t graduated yet…it could well all go pear-shaped.
How does it feel to be taking the Bristol Old Vic stage in your graduating show?
It’s so exciting. Both of my other graduate shows were in the studio and it’s always been a little bit like being the child pressing his nose up to the toy shop window. Getting the chance to act on such a historic stage, not to mention one that I have personally seen some fantastic shows acted upon, is a wonderful opportunity and I couldn’t be more grateful.