Ed Currie - a Young Performer in London
The Young London Performer's Point of View
Josh Tonks | Friday, March 27, 2015
Being a young performer is tough.
Particularly in London where, for every fairhaired, 5'10", Caucasian male like me, there are another bazillion performers with exactly the same look and skill-set, all striving to be the next Ryan Gosling or whoever. In fact, whatever your 'breakdown' may be, you can pretty much guarantee that there are countless others ﬁtting your proﬁle.
So how do you become the next Ryan Gosling, or Jennifer Lawrence, or Cynthia Erivo, or Russell Tovey? How did they get to where they are now? What happened between training and stardom? Did they train? How did they afford rent? These things always seem to be missing or glossed over in interviews, making their current success seem completely unattainable.
So, I had a thought... ("A dangerous past-time" "I know" - points for guessing the quote!). Why not get the points of view of young London performers who are just starting out, but may be a few steps up the ladder than say, those who are in training or still at school? Why not get down to the nitty-gritty about taxes and paying for classes and all the stuff that can seem so overwhelming when you hit the 'real world' for the ﬁrst time? Why not make a career in the West End seem realistic and attainable?
So here we go. This is the first of my YLP POV articles - the Young London Performers Point of View.
First up is Edward Currie, fellow ArtsEd graduate who is currently appearing in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Aldwych Theatre) and previously as Bobby in the brilliant West-End revival of A Chorus Line (London Palladium). I had the privilege of snagging an interview with Ed just before dress rehearsals.
DSC: Hi Ed.
DSC: How are you?
EC: Tired, but enjoying it. We went out a couple of nights ago, so there have been a few husky tones going on.
DSC: This is your second West End gig, congrats.
DSC: What have the difference been between this Beautiful and A Chorus Line?
EC: Obviously, there is no dancing for me in Beautiful. So I feel like I'm getting fat. (he laughs) I mean, in A Chorus Line I was in peak, physical condition.
DSC: Because you did class every day?
EC: Yes, we did 'boot camp' - an hour of body conditioning before rehearsals every day.
DSC: So what do you do now to keep in shape?
EC: I cycle everywhere and go to the gym four times a week, but I haven't been to dance class as much as I should. Sometimes, I'll take what I've learned in a show, like the sit-ups from A Chorus Line and do those, or maybe a bit of ballet barre... which is always quite funny at the gym.
DSC: And what about your voice? How do you keep that in shape?
Every audition I'm there trying to screech out songs for tenors when I'm a bass-baritone!EC: I haven't had a singing lesson since I left college, but I've been in shows where I'm warming up and singing every day. The great thing about this show is that everything is all low for me... like serious bass.
DSC: That must've been great in the audition. Not having to worry about the high notes.
EC: Oh yeah. They [the producers] were like "What's it like to sing a bass line?" and I told them "It's an absolute dream!" Every audition I'm there trying to screech out songs for tenors when I'm a bass-baritone! I'm like... "have you checked my CV?"
DSC: What's the craziest mishap you have ever witnessed on stage?
EC: I did hear over the tannoy one of the stage management team drill a nail through their hand. That was horrible. It was on panto. That was kind of scary.
DCS: Nothing directly to you though?
EC: A light blew up on A Chorus Line, up above our heads.
DSC: Scary! Any funny things happen?
EC: During A Chorus Line, a friend of mine had to développé her leg (which means lift it really high) and her supporting leg just buckled and she just rolled into the wing.
DSC: Really? She fell off the stage?
EC: Oh, no. Purposely. She fell over and thought "what's the best way to get off stage?"
DSC + EC: (together) Roll. (laughter...followed by copious amounts of singing "I really need this job!")
Professionally Made, Professionally Paid
DSC: So anyway - you're involved with Equity?
EC: Yes, very much so.
DSC: Why do you think being a member of Equity is important for young performers in London?
EC: It's so important, because it's about supporting your industry. It's not just about you, it's about everyone. Equity is run by its members. It's not some old codge behind a desk, it's all done voluntarily by its members, working for its members. It offers so many different services now.
DSC: Such as?
EC: Its newest endeavour is "Professionally Made, Professionally Paid" - an initiative which is trying to stop this culture of "it's okay to work for free". Young people, just graduating from college, by working for free set a precedent for people after them to say "it's okay to work for free" - and it's not. You've done your three years training, you've paid your tuition fees, you've been to one of the 'best school's in the country' and then... why are you working for free?
DSC: That's a very good point.
EC: A debate that rages on.
DSC: So, two West-End musicals are great credits to have on your CV, but what about in-between? What did you do when out of work?
EC: I actually worked front of house, weirdly, at the London Palladium where I'd just closed A Chorus Line.
DSC: How was that?
EC: I loved it. I knew everybody, there's great crossover their between cast and theatre staff. Everybody was like, "Ed, what are you doing?" But I was like, "I need a job!"
DSC: No shame.
Josh Tonks was talking to Ed Currie, who is currently appearing in Beautiful: The Carole King Musical at the Aldwych Theatre, London. Look out for more articles from Josh in the future as he provides points of view and tips for success and survival from - and for - young performers in London.
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