Job title: Actor in training at Rose Bruford College

My position in a nutshell: Rose Bruford College is one of the leading drama schools in the country, where we’re trained in acting, voice, movement, dance, singing, combat and various other forms of performance and expression. I’m here to to soak up whatever wisdom my tutors impart from their years of experience in the industry – it gives me a wide array of choices when developing my personal process.

How I got here… I started acting when I was around 10 years old, doing musicals and plays at school, as well as a couple of feature films. I kept this up pretty much every year, having starring roles in The Lion King, Grease and Oliver! I also took IGCSE Drama and IB Theatre studies, in which we studied various theatre practices from around the world.

After I graduated, I did a foundation in Acting at Regent’s University in London. I was then accepted onto the Certificate of Higher Education in Theatre Arts course at East 15 Acting School. I then started working as a freelance actor in London. I was fortunate enough to be involved in around 5 or 6 short films and one commercial, while continuing my drama school auditions. After 3 years of trying, I was finally accepted onto the BA Acting course at Rose Bruford, and I am very happy to be here.

My typical day… There isn’t really a typical day. We’re always engaged in something new, no matter what class we’re doing. We are either in a skills block or a project block. Skills blocks are usually made up of the core skills and project blocks are where we are tackling plays or scene studies, with the aim of a production or showing at the end. What actually goes on in the rooms? Magic.

My most memorable moment… I was playing Fagin in Oliver at my school and, on one performance night, I was about halfway through one of my solo songs when there was a power cut. Despite the obvious terror of the show potentially being ruined, I heard my music director still playing the flute., I hadn’t stopped either. The backup generators then kicked in a minute later so the spotlights were working but nothing else, and I actually managed to get to the end of the song. The elation I felt running off stage afterwards was unlike anything I’d experienced before, and the show was able to continue relatively as normal.

The worst part of the job… I think initially you’d think it was the criticism and rejection that you face constantly, but I’ve come to appreciate that it’s all for your benefit and there is always something to learn. Acting is often disregarded as unnecessary in schools and not something that will help you when going for ‘real jobs’, but I completely disagree. I think there are so many transferrable skills within acting training that are vital to everyday life.

The best part of the job… Every day is different. And I think the most wonderful thing is seeing new things in the people around you. I love being surprised by people when they get up on stage and do something I’ve never see them do before, and really show their talent and why they love doing what they do.

Key skills/attributes needed for anyone wanting to become an actor… Openness and willing to try and fail and try again. You need a thick skin to face a lot of the criticism actors do, but if you can learn from that and keep going, then that’s a great asset.

Advice for someone who wants to become an actor… Perseverance is key. Know that it’s not all going to come together right away, and it’s going to take a lot of work. But communicate with people who are also thinking of going into it, ask for their thoughts and opinions. Research drama schools and their prospectuses, see what they’re about. Reach out to people who’ve had first-hand experience with them and see what they think. If you can get work in student films, great. They’ll quickly let you know what you like and what you don’t in a working process.

Listen to interviews with actors you really admire, not a chat show, but those career videos on YouTube are worth a watch. Anything to do with films and acting is great for bolstering your own ideas, while opening you up to other ways of thinking. The directors of Chaskis Theatre basically run the first year of actor training on YouTube, and they’re doing online classes at the moment, so I would highly recommend that. But, above all, keep watching films, keep seeing theatre when you can and keep invested in the thing that you love.

Matthew has appeared in the following short films: Old School Runescape Advert, Your Lucky Money, The Answer