With the company now in rehearsals, we interview the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School actors cast to play alongside theatre professionals, Julian Glover and Lynn Farleigh in Julius Caesar.
Here we get to know Harley, one of the Theatre School’s talented rising stars.
BOVTS: Doctor Gibbs in Our Town (Circomedia); Blind Pew/Ben Gunn in Treasure Island, Angelo in Measure for Measure, Pinchwife/ Harcourt in The Country Wife, Lord Morton in Vivat! Vivat Regina!, Michael/ Helge in Festen, Alan Strang in Equus.
Pre BOVTS: Irwin in The History Boys, Owen Marshall in Semi-Monde, Judge Ives in Judgment at Nuremberg, Winston Smith in 1984, Gooper in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (all Oxford University Dramatic Society); Face in The Alchemist (Bradon Forest Theatre); Miles in Eight (Stroud Open-House Theatre), Dromio of Ephesus in The Comedy of Errors (OUDS/ Thelma Holt International Tour).
Where are you from and how did you get into acting?
I’m from Swindon (so South West born and bred!) and was really lucky to go to a school that had its own theatre and a brilliant drama department. I started acting there, doing some Shakespeare, Commedia dell’Arte, and devising my own work. After that I studied at Oxford, where with the university drama society I performed in plays at the Oxford Playhouse, and took a tour of the Comedy of Errors to Tokyo. Since then I’ve been loving my training in Bristol, and can’t wait to get out into the professional world.
Who are you playing in Julius Caesar and what challenges have you faced in that role?
I’m playing Trebonius, one of the conspirators who plot to kill Caesar. Simon has done a great job with condensing the number of characters in the play – Shakespeare kind of fills the second act with people we’ve never seen before displaying unbelievable heroism. But that does mean I’m having to reconcile two very different roles in the original script (Trebonius and Titinius) into one whole, but it’s been an interesting challenge and one I feel only makes the character richer.
What’s your favourite thing about training at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School?
I’ve learnt loads from the teachers I’ve worked with at the school, who’ve really challenged me to develop my craft after the last two years. But I’d say the best thing about the training has been the other actors in my year – I’ve grown so much just from acting opposite them, and found a group of fab people I’ll really miss seeing and working with every day.
What’s the best thing about working with Julian Glover, Lynn Farleigh and John Hartoch?
Julian, Lynn and John have been brilliant to work with, not only offering so many words of wisdom, in terms of verse-speaking and handling the emotional weight of a scene, but also just as fellow members of the company. They’ve been incredibly humble and supportive throughout the process, treating us all as equal parts of the ensemble, and most of all being a really great laugh.
How does it feel to be taking Bristol Old Vic’s stage in your graduating show?
I’m thrilled to be acting on that stage in my last show as a student. The Bristol Old Vic has been the sight of my favourite productions I’ve seen in the city – Pink Mist, Long Day’s Journey into Night and The Crucible to name a few – and I certainly hope it’s not the last time I get to perform in this stunning theatre.