The main difference between an amateur and a professional is simply that one of them gets paid. People do a range of creative activities – acting is one obviously, but also singing, playing an instrument, painting. Most people choose to keep those endeavours as hobbies, to be done in their spare time. They don’t choose to try to make a living at those things. In fact many people would say that you are sensible! Becoming a professional artist of any sort is a brave and difficult decision and the majority of those who decide to do so are likely to have a challenging time ahead.
As an amateur, however, the world is your oyster! For the past year I’ve been learning to play the ukulele. As it happens I’m terrible at it – but I’m also loving it and I’m taking lessons to improve.
Even in the amateur theatre world there is competition, whether you are auditioning for a role in your local society or for a particular organisation or group that you’d like to be involved in. The good news of course is that you don’t have to rely on getting the role to make a living and if you don’t get the role you want this time then maybe you’ll get a different role and you can try again next time.
If you really do want to improve your acting technique or work on audition pieces or scripts for forthcoming productions, however, then I can certainly help.
Don’t be afraid to come along because you think I might only want to deal with professionals or aspiring professionals. I’m as passionate as I ever was about the craft of acting and still have a desire to discover new characters and to tell stories. I’d love to share my experience with you and help you to achieve your acting goals, whatever they might be.
I first got into acting at school, with my first production being Emil and the Detectives. I’ve even managed to find a photo. Sadly – I’m in the bottom right of the picture so you can’t even see my face!
At secondary school I played the title role in Oliver! but remember choking rather spectacularly on a piece of dry bread during my first song. If only I’d have used the bread in rehearsals! I’d learnt one of my first valuable lessons about acting. I went on to perform in several other plays in school and then joined a local amateur dramatics society where I continued in plays such as A Christmas Carol and The Sound of Music. During a quiet period some of the members became impatient because there was a large gap until the next production, so we took it upon ourselves to do a smaller cast play which I both appeared in and directed. Even then I was happy to take control.
I did go on to make my hobby into a career but it was my amateur days that gave me my first taste of what was possible and I certainly look back on them very fondly. Some people can be a bit snobby about the amateur scene. I don’t understand it myself. Most professional actors were also amateurs at some time and it’s all about the same thing in the rehearsal room.