How did you get into acting and when did you first decide you wanted to perform?
I started performing when I was about 6 or 7 at school. Ever since then I've tried to constantly be involved with something. I took part in school productions and did as many amateur shows as I could. When I was 16 I realised that it was definitely what I wanted to do as a career and took the plunge, applied to drama school and was lucky enough to get in.
What's been your favourite part to date and why?
I think my favourite part so far was Harry in Love On The Dole at the Bolton Octagon. Mainly because of the amazing learning experience playing the part was. I learnt a lot about the actors “process” while I was creating the character and he was just great fun to play every night. I was also surrounded by an amazingly talented and supportive company which made the whole experience really special.
You are currently in rehearsals for Great Expectations. How is it going?
Great Expectations is going fantastically well. Its a big ensemble piece and the whole company work together in huge group scenes to create the different locations of the play. Its very fast moving and it has a great story. Dickens in famous for creating such detailed, complex characters and its wonderful to be able to have the chance to work on a great Dickensian character like Herbert Pocket.
Is this a traditional version or are there any new additions/tweaks made to the original?
It's very faithful to the book. The production is period, and there are no major changes. It's still the same classic story with all the great characters. The themes and moral issues that the book raises are also very clear and prominent in the play. The originalproduction of this adaptation was produced by the RSC and “Cheek by Jowel” in 2005, so even though the piece looks and technically is period, it has a very ccontemporary feel. It is very much an ensemble piece, which is a really interesting and different way of working. It leads to a lot of exciting group discoveries.
Tell us a bit about your character?
I play Herbert Pocket, who when we first meet him is a confident, playful young boy, who very briefly befriends our lead character, Pip. They meet again later in life when Pip moves to London and their friendship is revived. The share lodgings together and become very good friends. Herbert teaches Pip how to behave as a gentlemen, takes him to the right places and introduces him to the right people. He is a humble, good humoured polite young gentlemen who would never discriminate and never judges a book by its cover. He doesn’t really buy into the stuck up attitude of the upper classes of the time. It's great to play him, I wouldn’t mind going for a drink with him actually!
Do you have any dream roles you would like to play and why?
Too many! I love pretty much all types of theatre and I would love to play many very different characters. I really admire a show that can really affect an audience. Plays like The Woman In Black achieve huge reactions from audiences, and to one day be part of a company like that would be a dream come true. Tennessee Williams' work is full of great characters to get your teeth into, Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire would be a real challenge. I've also always had a soft spot for Seymour in Little Shop Of Horrors, mainly because he's a vulnerable, loveable part in such a silly and fun show, and the music is brilliant!
Many actors love performing in Manchester. How do you find audiences here?
I think the Manchester theatre industry is brilliant. Before I moved to Manchester I knew very little of it and was almost shocked by how big the industry is here. There is such a great variety of productions and companies to see. Some of the best theatre I have seen has been in the North West. You can go see a huge touring musical one night, followed by a tiny fringe show with seating room for only 10 people the next. It's very invigorating to have such a variety of theatre literally on my door step. There is also a great sense of community between the audiences and the companies. It seems very close and friendly, which I suppose is why the industry is thriving so much up here. Audience just keep coming back again and again to be part of the theatre community here.
Sam Lupton was speaking to Glenn Meads
Great Expectatons runs at the Capitol Theatre from 2 - 5 March. For more details, click here.