Why did you decide to become an actor?
I was very small, about 3 or 4 I think, and just wanted to be the people on telly telling these wonderful stories. Obviously the idea grew and matured with me but I can't ever remember wanting to do anything else. I've just sort of taken it for granted all my life that that was what I would do.
Did you receive any formal training?
I have a BA (dramatic studies) from the RSAMD (Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.)
Do you think an academic course in acting is useful?
The course I did was run in conjunction with Glasgow University so we spent one morning a week studying some of the theory of theatre and film and I think it complemented the practical work back at drama school. It was useful to me who knew nothing about anything but I suppose it depends on the individual.
Do you think a full degree rather than a short course or diploma is more useful?
I think any kind of training in the arts is inevitably a voyage of discovery. Each individual will require different things and will be starting from their own level of experience-professionally and emotionally. I'm glad I did a full three year course because I was very young and very green but I wouldn't like to prescribe what anyone else might find useful.
If you had to choose, would you do an academic course again?
I wouldn't have missed the practical training I got for anything. I might like to do an academic course as well.
Are there any acting courses that you would recommend?
Again I think it's a very personal thing. What might work for me could be a terrible waste of time (or worse) for someone else. There are several good drama schools and many good teachers but I think people have to sniff them out for themselves. The course I did doesn't exist any more and most of the lecturers at the RSAMD have changed now. However it seems to be thriving and students I have talked to recently seem pleased with the training they've received.
How do you think training has helped you in your career?
Drama school is a pretty intense experience and I think it changes who you are. I think I grew up at drama school (which was fairly useful personally as much as professionally) and I certainly got exposed to a huge range of ideas, techniques and practices that I had no previous experience of. I wouldn't have known what I was doing as an actor if I hadn't gone.
Is training a pre requisite for success in this field?
Not at all. There are a host of very successful actors who have had no official training. It was a pre requisite for me, but again I think it's a very personal thing. Having said that, I would probably recommend anyone thinking about acting as a career to go to drama school rather than not.
Was it difficult to start in the business? And did your academic training help you in this in any way?
I was only out of work for about four weeks after I left drama school which was very lucky. Of course it's a horrible profession to get started in. There are far too many of us after far too few jobs and although you always know that theoretically I don't think the reality of how miserable that can be really strikes home until you graduate and have to start making it happen.
In terms of my training helping me get work: presumably the person I was and the skills I had to offer would have been considerably reduced without my training.
How was your first acting experience?
'The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui' by Brecht. Touring Scotland in a minibus for 7:84 Scottish People's Theatre. I had a great time with some great people. I was just overjoyed to be finally doing what I had always wanted to do and getting paid for it in to the bargain.
Do you think training in drama helps in other fields such as musical theatre or films?
I think they are all part of the same field.
Which do you prefer theatre or films?
My preference is to mix between screen and stage work. They are very different skills and I love the challenge and the variety of trying to hone skills in different arenas.