Oliver J Brooke
This year I finish my time at Drama Centre London. No two actors are the same, and the paths we take in the industry will vary just as much. I have finished Drama school at the age of 38. My path into the industry has been organic (for want of a better word), through drama, music, singing and songwriting.
One of the benefits of getting a bit older is that many of the previous chapters of my life which I once saw as separate, now begin to form something of a consistent direction. I’ve been signed to a record label, been the leader of an orchestra, sung Classically, Musical Theatre, and stripped down acoustic. As well as building a career on the stage in local theatre productions, with Bristol Tobacco factory Theatre, York Theatre Royal, and Vincent Regan’s East Riding Theatre forming much of this work to date.
For me, if I could possibly define any talent I have, it would be my creative brain. Regardless of the pathway I find to express this creativity, it is a natural in-built, visual, and colourful imagination that I bring to playing the violin, drawing, writing lyrics, or acting.
My reasons for going to Drama Centre were to deeply look at my techniques and even myself, in order to further develop skills I can now begin to work on for the rest of my life. I owe Drama Centre much in just how rigorous, transformative and empowering the training has been. Equipped is a word that springs to mind as I try to articulate the confidence and renewed enthusiasm I have been lucky enough to gain over the course of my time there.
There is a showcase to take place in January and then a career to build. I’m pleased to say that I have been off to a good start already this new year by securing a job on an advert, and a casting for a play in this first week of January. I’m very excited to take the next steps in my career
I wish you all a very Happy New Year.
I am currently half way through the intensive training of the Drama Centre London. I’m doing the MA course which focuses particularly on Screen acting.
This in no way neglects the possibility for future stage work, much of which I’ve done in the past. I do however see that with Netflix etc there is a great, and growing demand for screen acting, and a seemingly insatiable appetite from the general public for it. I’m really glad to be on such a course that is forward looking and relevant to where the industry may be headed, aswell as being grounded in the best of the uniquely contemporary Drama Centre method.
It is impossible to sum up here the many moments I will take with me from my time as part of the cast of the recent York Minster Mystery Plays. But here are a few bullet points that stand out as having made the whole process intense but so worthwhile.
- The York Mystery plays are part of a tradition of being performed by the local residents dating back 700 years.
- This year, for only the second time in their history, the plays were performed in York Minster. The Nave having been stripped of its usual seating and replaced with a 1,000 seater theatre.
- Over 200 cast and more crew made this a community experience like no other. Ultimately its the people that make these things worth doing, and its the people I miss now.
The audition process started in November 2015, rehearsals began in January 2016, and we did;t really stop until the end of June. 8 shows a week, for a 5 week run…alongside a job at the same time. I doubt I’ll ever experience anything quite like it again.
Here is a snippet of what it was all about:
Leaves In Fall continues to go from strength to strength on the Film festival circuit. Credit to a great team, and a privilege to be a part of. For me it was just a fantastic time and a great learning experience.
Watch the trailer below:
This Xmas I am proud to be part of a wonderful company of actors who are putting on a unique retelling of the Dickens classic. This is in no small part due to the adaptation by actor and creative director Vincent Regan (Troy, 300, Snow White and the Huntsman) and the inspired direction of Mike Friend. It is also great to be part of the inaugural show at a brand new theatre right in the heart of Beverley: the East Riding Theatre. There is still time to come and see it now, but you best be quick as it is almost sold out.
It is a show where the actors muck in and do almost everything on stage. A Brechtian circus where we do everything from striking set to playing various different parts each. I am an undertaker, belle’s husband, fred scrooge’s friend, the ghost of christmas present’s chef, chorus….a dancer at Fezzywig’s party and the ghost of Christmas yet to come!
It’s safe to say its certainly not a dull show, and it’s simply been great fun.
Hope to see you there but if not a very Merry Xmas to all.
This October, I filmed a short film with the Northern film school, called ‘Leaves In Fall’, directed by Laura Torenbeek. The film explores the tensions between a father, his daughter, and his new girlfriend. It’s ultimately a very human story of hope, solace, vulnerability, new relationships and inevitable change. Laura is a great talent and I wouldn’t be surprised if you hear much more from her in the future. The whole crew were great to work with and it was an experience I won’t forget.
(credit: photo by Vicky Jones).
‘Thirty Little Plays About Life’ is a collection of micro-stories being performed at York Theatre Royal in July 2014. I’m a strong believer in feeding your creativity in any way possible, as all creative experiences in life inevitably benefit others. This way you never stop learning. Therefore, I’m very proud to be making up part of this company of actors and I would love it if you got a chance to come and see the shows.
Details can be found (and tickets bought) by clicking the link below:
Since taking the important step to walk away from the company I was with last year, I have been putting the last six months to good use.
I have been involved in some acting workshops at York Theatre Royal. I am continuing to write music, and I’ve been developing my voice for musical theatre with a wonderful singing teacher in London.
There are many aspects to this new year that remain uncertain, and are yet to still unfold. However, it already feels like I’m in the driving seat of my career again, and I’m surrounded by positive supportive people. So far, that’s all I could have wished for 2014.
I think it’s going to be a good one. I wish you all the same in whatever you do.
Thanks for the support.
‘The Foole doth thinke he is wise but the wiseman knowes himselfe to be a Foole.’ (William Shakespeare: As You Like It).