I’ve barely wanted to blink, to be honest.
Thomas Pickles, actor in the RSC Winter Season
Yeah, this last fortnight, I’ve been on loads of occasions walking around the RST with eyes wide, jaw dropped and brain processing the reality of something which, to sound completely like a clichéd X Factor contestant, I’ve dreamt a lot about.
Anyway, I was up on the west coast of Scotland in July with my parents when I got a phone call. In big capital letters my screen said, AMANDA HOWARD ASSOCIATES. My tummy turns in to a butterfly farm whenever I see that. Five minutes later, my parents were stood opposite me, the three of us and our dog stood on a secluded Scottish beach. As we walked along the whispering shore, I started to relay the conversation I’d just had on the phone.
“The Royal Shakespeare Company want to see me in London.” After finally finding a book shop, I bought a copy of The Merry Wives of Windsor and set off to Carlisle. From there I’d go to London and to Earlham Street to meet director Phillip Breen and casting director Helena Palmer. It was all a hectic, excitable rush which, when I’m typing this now, makes the memory stunningly stronger.
There’re two of us for which this season with the RSC is our first professional job. There are two others who left drama school at the same time as Calum and I and for Paapa and Obioma, this is their second job. We share a dressing room and we all know there’s a magic to this place- it’s everywhere whether that be in the headshots of the esteemed actors which adorn the walls of The Dirty Duck pub, or seeing our names typed on tags and stitched in to fluffy white towels, or the amount of people available, equipped and committed to creating top class theatre or simply- well, just there’s a definite magic in the sheer beauty of Stratford-upon-Avon.
I was told when I got the role that the RSC is a fantastic place for a first job and that it would be a brilliant place for a young actor to learn. Of course, that’s completely true. I’m taking a magpie approach to everything and trying to learn all the shiny bits from the proper good actors around me. You know, soaking it all in like a big soggy sponge- with head right up and eyes wide open.
Dreaming with eyes open.