Louise Burston had a nice chat with Young and Hungry actors Jessie Tuke, Will Collin, Hannah Banks and Andrew Clarke
I’m going to begin as if we were in an Internet chat forum and ask for your A/S/L (Age/Sex/ and original Location, for those of you not in the know).
J: I’m 19, I’m male and I’m from Kirikiri but I went to school down in Auckland.
W: I’m 20, I guess I’m a male, and original location is Hamilton.
H: I’m 22, and I’m a girl, and I’m from Masterton in the Wairarapa.
A: I’m from England ages and ages ago but I’m from Hawke’s Bay… I’m in my second-year doing Theatre at Vic.
Were you one of the theatre kids who did drama at school?
H: Well, I went to the school which had the strong drama department but in terms of the actual town… you know that theatre style where you sit around at tables and eat shit food and they do some kind of crap performance which no one likes?
J: Yes, I was always in the school shows right throughout… it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.
W: Yeah, all the way through. Directing, acting.
So what prompted you to audition for Young and Hungry?
W: I did Young and Hungry once before, two years back… I didn’t do any theatre last year and it was kind of like the first time I hadn’t done theatre for over ten years. And it’s something that I really can’t get away from… So I decided that even if I wasn’t doing it at university I could do it here and since I’ve done this before I decided to audition and got in.
A: I didn’t know about Young and Hungry before I came here and then last year I heard everyone talking about it and lots of people that I knew from the Theatre course were talking about Young and Hungry and had auditioned and got in and it sounded like a really cool opportunity so when it rolled round this year I auditioned.
J: I was really interested in getting into theatre down here. I’m up at a hall at Te Puni and one of the RAs told me about Young and Hungry and said I should audition so I gave it a go.
H: I did it before as well, I did it in 2007 in my first-year, I knew about it because my sister did it in her first-year… I think it’s such a cool programme—we’re in a cast of sixteen and some people have not only never been at BATS before but they’ve never been in a show before and I think it’s a really cool opportunity and it’s really exciting to be in a play with people who are having that first-time experience and I feel they sort of reinvigorate you almost with their love of theatre.
What do you think are some of the challenges that a young actor in Wellington might face?
H: I think one of the things that I learnt through my theatre experience is that you can’t just wait to be cast or wait for auditions and I think making your own theatre is the easiest way to get in and there are places like BATS theatre which sort of open the doors which is really cool. But, yeah, I think make your own companies, make your own theatre—that’s a way to get in and people start to know who you are and you can start doing other things as well.
W: I guess the first challenge is kind of finding stuff. The theatre department at Vic is really great since there’s heaps of emails about auditions and things like that so if you get yourself on that mailing list, you know, it’s really useful.
Are you all thinking of continuing in theatre?
J: Just hopefully audition and get as many more plays under my belt as I can, so get as much experience as I can, and potentially audition for Toi Whakaari at the end of the year.
A: I’m interested in acting and directing but I’m also really interested in writing and the Playwright’s Initiative that Young and Hungry also does. I’ve currently got a little bit of a brain child and I’m trying to grow it into an actual sort of plot that I can submit and hopefully it’ll get picked up and in two years it might be produced into a play which would be fantastic.
Because the opportunities in Young and Hungry aren’t only for actors, right?
W: Yeah, all of our technical staff—lighting, sound, everything, they’re all being mentored by professionals in the industry, getting the chance to form their craft.
What advice would you give to young actors in Wellington?
J: Probably just audition for as many things as you can and just get out there and try and get your name out there.
W: Well, it sounds cheesy, but just don’t give up I guess. A lot of people feel real gutted if they don’t get in on their first audition and they lose faith but you’ve got to back yourself and know you’ve got what it takes to get in the industry.
H: My advice would be to study it. I know personally that in my four years of theatre I learnt so much and it’s not necessarily a knowledge that you can just pick up from just being in shows—it’s a different kind of knowledge.
A: Go out and find theatre to watch because you’ll find companies, you will find areas of theatre that you didn’t know existed before and it will open up so many doors. Actually you may find that you are interested in musicals or you are interested in anything that is available to you. Don’t limit yourself—get out there.