Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Centre Stage on What's Peen Seen?: Sam Lupton

Sam Lupton, currently starring in the award-winning West End hit musical Wicked, took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down and have a chat with us here at What's Peen Seen? about his life in theatre, aspirations, and upcoming projects; and offers some advice for those pursuing a similar career.

And if you're a fan of musical theatre, then we've got a fab competition coming very shortly which we're very excited about... 

You’ve performed in a number of productions in theatres in the north-west, in and around Manchester – what’s it been like performing in regional theatre?

I love regional theatre. There is so much fantastic work being produced all over the country, with regional theatre producing some of the most creative and experimental. There is also a great sense of community that surrounds the regional theatres. The audience, casts and creative teams form a community that enjoy watching and creating great theatre. That said, regional and London theatre are part of the same industry. From an acting perspective, the way you approach the work doesn't change. I would put the same work and effort into a performance taking place above a pub somewhere in the north, that I would performing at a huge West End venue. The work and responsibility for an actor stays the same, regardless of location or production size. 

In what way is it different touring and performing in the West End?

Sam Lupton
They both have their pros and cons. Touring is great as you get to see loads of interesting places. You also get very close to your fellow company members as you spend nearly all of your time together. In the West End you are obviously in one place, meaning you can get involved in workshops, unpaid projects and other industry related activities such as teaching and doing concerts. You also get more of an opportunity to go and watch theatre. An advantage of being in the West End is coming home after a show and having a cup on tea in your own house, on your own sofa. That’s a big luxury that you miss whilst on tour. It was interesting on tour to see how different audiences react around the country. I noticed whilst performing  Avenue Q that the audience in Edinburgh would react very differently to the show than the audience in Newcastle. It was a fun challenge to experience these different audiences and see how that changed the dynamic of the production from week to week. 

Is it good for performers to keep a balance of straight theatre and musical theatre?

I think the best thing for a performer's well being is to do what they are happy doing. Personally, I love all kinds of theatre. Performing in a play creatively stimulates something within me that a musical cannot. Likewise, performing in a musical satisfies an element of my desire to perform that I cant reach performing in a play. Different work offers different challenges, experiences and teaches us different lessons. I wish my career to be as varied and as challenging as possible, and I feel the best way to do that is to experience many different forms of theatre, film and performance. Saying that, actors often dont have much of a choice about which job will come up next, which is why I think the main question has to be "am I happy in my work?". As long as the answer is yes then everything is going well. 

What are some of the shows you've most enjoyed working on so far?

Love on The Dole at the Bolton Octagon completely changed the way I approached acting. I just wouldn't have a career without that job and I’m forever grateful for it. Likewise, my work at The Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester was a huge challenge. It was with a great company of young actors and a fantastic creative team. It taught me some valuable lessons about acting which have now formed the basis of a lot of my work. Avenue Q was maybe the most fun I've ever had on stage. It's such a great story to tell and the people I was working with were fantastic. We were touring the country together for 7 months and our bond as a company was very strong. It was a very special job and very emotional when it ended.  I’m currently working in Wicked which is just so much fun. It's a very spectacular show with a great story line and fantastic score. To get the opportunity to sing that music every night, perform with a full orchestra and tell that story is a real gift. It's hard work every night, but also very enjoyable to be part of, I’m learning a lot watching great performers work. 

You recently performed at the Battersea Barge in an evening of Contemporary Musical Theatre – can you tell us a little more about the event and your part in it?

That event was a charity fundraiser for a friend of mine who is running the London Marathon for “Children in Crisis”. Myself and a few other West End performers got together and sung some material that doesn't get performed very often. When you’re working on a long running show it's nice to be able to perform different material at these events every now and again. It keeps you fresh. It's also great that we can use our profession to promote charity and help raise money for a great cause. 

 What roles you would love to play in the future?

The role of Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire is one I would love to have a go at. His journey through that play is a real gift for an actor, and a real challenge to play. These aren’t specific roles, but I’d also love to do a Chekov, maybe The Seagull, and a Noel Coward. I love both of their writing. “The Actor” in Woman in Black has also been something I’d like to do. In terms of musical theatre, anything in London Road, I just think it’s a great piece of work that would be so exciting to perform. Also Jamie in The Last 5 Years, which is a real test of acting through song!

What advice can you offer to those seeking to get into acting and musical theatre?

Just act when ever you can. Work on your craft and take part in plays, musicals, short films. Read about acting and theatre and learn about the industry of which you want to be part of. Go to drama school if you would like to, it’s a great foundation for learning how to act. See as much theatre and film as you possibly can.

What are you looking to for your next project?

I’ve still got a while in Wicked so I’ll be continuing to work on my performance in that. I’m also writing a play at the moment which I hope will be finished in the next few months. 

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