Puppetry Intensive Training

How would you describe the current project you’re undertaking?
The Grinning Man is a show about a guy called Grinpayne whose mouth was carved into a grin as a boy, and the piece tells the story of his journey to discover who inflicted this mark upon him, and how along the way his disability changes people, as well as how he perceives himself.

What are your roles and responsibilities in the show?
I play Grinpayne and at various points throughout the show I puppeteer my younger self!

Have you worked with Gyre & Gimble before?
The Grinning Man was the first time I’d worked with them, but since then I’ve participated in a few development weeks for other projects of theirs.

What training have you had?
I trained at Guildford School of Acting.

How did you find your way into puppetry?
Through The Grinning Man, the piece demands that the actor playing Grinpayne puppeteers. Luckily, Finn and Toby thought that my audition for the show was passable!

What previous performing experience have you had?
Since graduating I’ve worked in TV and theatre. Particular highlights include Fiddler on the Roof at Chichester Festival Theatre,  My Fair Lady at the Sheffield Crucible with Dominic West and, of course, The Grinning Man.

What do you think makes puppetry such a unique performance discipline?
Puppetry is unique because of its simplicity and honesty. As actors and actresses we tend to over-think and over-complicate things. What we as performers achieve in multiple thoughts, a puppet can achieve in one.

What are the joys and challenges of bringing a puppet to life?
For me, the joys of puppetry stem from overcoming its challenges. In my experience, bringing a puppet to life has only ever been a team game – one which demands total and utter concentration from everyone, and that, believe it or not, is incredibly difficult to sustain for long periods of time. But, once achieved and you’re in sync with one another the sense of achievement is colossal!

What career ambitions do you have for the future?
To keep challenging myself and learning.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a footballer and play for my local team, Crystal Palace F.C.

Which five people, living or dead, would you invite to a dinner party?
King Henry VIII – I was obsessed with learning about his life when I was younger. Plus, he’d hoover up all the leftovers!
John Williams – I love listening to movie soundtracks and, well, he is the master! I’d demand him to compose a theme to accompany our dinner.
Adam Garcia – because a long, long time ago (last week) I wanted to be him. I took up dancing after seeing him in Saturday Night Fever at the London Palladium. Thanks for the inspiration, Ad!
RuPaul – because she is fierce as f**k.
Her Majesty The Queen – because she’s The Queen.

What inspires you?
Failing at something inspires me. It makes me work even harder.

What makes a great piece of theatre?
Good writing!!

The Grinning Man is playing at the Trafalgar Studios in London until 5th May, more information and ticket booking can be found HERE