Rising star

Rising star

I’m the youngest of three children. I was brought up in Northern England, in the Lake District of Cumbria. It’s a very beautiful part of the world and my village has a population of around 1,500 people.

Northern people are a specific group. They are great and very humorous but at times very narrow-minded. They live in a world of their own and see London as the bright lights. I think I was the only gay in the village. I couldn’t wait to leave.

As a kid I was also quite shy. When I was 15, I started to get involved in school plays. But it wasn’t until I was 17 that I got the courage to tell my parents that I wanted to be an actor. Mother and Father are old school. Dad is in the merchant navy and my mother is a housewife, so it was an issue for them at one stage.

When I was 18 I moved to London and also came out to the family. It was hard growing up as I didn’t know anyone in a similar situation but it wasn’t like one of those horrible stories, as I wasn’t bullied at school because I kept it to myself.

London was very liberating because all of a sudden I was finally meeting people who were similar. My parents didn’t take it well and mean things were said. But nine years later everything is fine. It’s now got to this fantastic place but I think it needed to go through this negative period to get where it is today.

I went to Middlesex University and studied performance. When I finished I found an agent and tried to find work. I didn’t really get any at all, maybe because I was a novice. I auditioned for the School of Acting, which is one of England’s most prestigious acting schools. I was lucky enough to get a scholarship as well. In my final year I met my current Australian boyfriend. He is journalist and was travelling in London at the time.

London has a short shelf life. I was in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and in a new production called Another Life but I was becoming very burnt out. I wanted something different and my boyfriend wanted to go back home to Australia.

There’s not much work in Australia but in England there are more actors, which makes it more competitive and ruthless. There no major demands for British artists in this country, making it harder to find work. I also had to neutralise and tone down my accent. I still think they need a resident Pommy backpacker in Home And Away.

We moved straight to Sydney, taking me a month to acclimatise. I had a one-year working visa but was lucky enough to get residency as I was with my partner for such a long time.

We’ve been together for six years now. The key in having such a successful relationship is all about mutual trust and respect. This takes years to build up which makes the relationship so special and of course you have to have love. Also, being open to change is a big thing because the dynamics of the relationship have altered since we moved to Australia. I don’t want to be stuck in a rut where you just live and work. We like the idea of the exciting possibilities. We’ve been to Uluru and the Great Barrier Reef. We are planning on going to Kakadu National Park this year.

I admire actors who can date other actors. I don’t think I could date one because they are extremely selfish people. I see my partner as something very solid and grounding.

My latest production is Romeo And Juliet. It’s going to be very sexy and has lots of dangerous stage combat involved. I already have lost feeling in one of my fingers from the fighting. There is this raw and masculine feeling to the play, which makes it extremely hot.

Romeo And Juliet is playing at the Bondi Pavilion Theatre from Thursday 31 May. Bookings on 1300 306 776 or at www.mca-tix.com.

Interview by Sunny Burns

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