Thursday, 30 August 2012

Blog 110! I'm Becoming A Battered Old Man! :-)

Hey Everyone

Happy Thursday.

Hope you all had a good week since my last blog. Mine has been pretty varied really.

Last Friday I woke up and could barely move my head. I hurt my neck during the evening show the night before so having rested it over night it had clearly seized up. I headed to see my physio and he did all he could and actually spent half of his lunch break continuing to work on me after my session as he said I was not in a good state and reckons its because I've been really busy with everything since before the summer school so my body was just having a bit of a hissy fit!

He made it feel a little more comfortable but I knew getting through 3 shows over the weekend was gonna be a challenge.
I then went to watch the matinee of National Youth Music Theatre's production of 13 which is written by composer Jason Robert Brown.
It was incredible. The talent in those teenage performers was outstanding and I was seriously impressed with them. I love seeing talented teens who have decided to pursue a really healthy and satisfying hobbie that could potentially become a career (hence working on my summer school for so many years). My good friend Drew McOnie was the choreographer of the show and his work is always amazing and I was really impressed by his intelligent imaginative movement which he'd created within the show. It's a shame it was only on in London for 6 performances as I'd have harped on about it for ages urging people to see it!

My friend Hollie came to watch Ghost on Friday night so I had a quick catch up with her before the show and then afterwards I headed home to well and truly rest as my neck was so painful that I couldn't feel my right hand in certain parts of the show- never a good sign really.

I had a dreadful sleep on Friday night because I could not get comfortable and it was worse in the morning instead of better so I called our company manager and explained that I would not be in to perform either of Saturdays shows.

I had originally made plans to head to my friends house after the show on Saturday night  so that we could enjoy a day together chilling on Sunday. She called me and said she and her husband were going to a wedding party and wouldn't be back until late so offered me their house to just chill out in. I jumped at the chance because I can never lay and do nothing in my own place.
So I picked up some nice food to cook myself and headed over to her place in Hampshire and just watched TV and lots of Brothers & Sisters and was then entertained by the two of them who arrive home late after the wedding and they were hilariously drunk! I was on water patrol!

Sunday morning I spent online, googling properties as I've decided to buy a new place and then in the afternoon we went for a walk and for some lunch. My neck was feeling a little looser but was still painful.

Sunday evening we went to meet another friend of ours for her birthday and had some amazing Thai food in Windsor. I love Windsor, it's a stunning place with so much class and character! It was a lovely evening and then we headed home to chill.

Monday morning I wondered down to check out an area in Epsom where there was a property for sale that looked interesting then I headed into town for a work out in the gym. I worked everything that doesn't immediately involve the neck. It was hard work. I then had physio and he mended me a little more and told me that the tension around my neck and shoulders would probably cause a few minor problems for my voice which it certainly has this week. I've been trying to sing and although it sounds more or less the same as usual it feels as though someone has a hold of my throat and is squeezing! Just what I need when I'm belting I Had A Life! Not!

I'm actually writing this blog on my way to the physio as my voice is still effected and not right. I don't want to miss any shows this week, particularly today's matinee as there are about 70 people in watching from North Wales. They're travelling on a coach 5 hours each way and doing it all in a day,it's been planned for over 4 months and they're all from my village up there and specifically coming down to see me! If I wasn't on, they would be, quite frankly, pretty pissed!

Another thing I did on Monday was watch the film TED at the cinema! My god I thought it was really bad! Didn't find it funny and  I was really disappointed as I love Family Guy which is written by the same man! I wouldn't recommend it unless you are really drunk, and if you plan on getting drunk especially for the film, don't bother cos the hang over won't be worth it!!!

The rest of this week has just been about house hunting really which is boring for you but exciting for me! Oh we also had a cast photo shoot for the West End Bares Calendar which was in minimal clothing! It was funny, a load of ensemble boys walking around the stage wearing socks somewhere other than their feet! Some were little trainer socks and a couple were football socks! I knew you were wondering! I'm joking of course!
The calendar is apparently to be released at the beginning of October and each month features a different West End Show baring too much!

So anyway, I'm at physio now. Hope you all have a great week. See you at West End Bares on Sunday if you are coming! Keep loving life folks!



Thursday, 23 August 2012

Blog 109!!! Summer Schooling for the last time!!!

Hey Everyone

Happy Thursday!

Happy Blog day. Apologies for not writing a blog last week it was chaotic with the summer school and so I thought it'd be better to write about it when I had more time!

So I'm gonna crack on cos there's a lot to fit in!

The journey back to Wales after the show on the Saturday night was really smooth (even if we departed 20 minutes later than scheduled because we had a power cut in the Theatre which resulted in a 20 minute show stop!)

Myself and one of the summer school staff Evan were singing all the way back to Wales! Crazy Welsh boys with hoarse throats when we woke the next morning!

The Sunday was just a day of final preparations and sorting through props and costumes before heading to my friend Aimee's house where we were all staying that week and we watched the closing ceremony of the Olympics. I'm pretty sure we all agree that there were some great parts and some not so great parts to the closing concert but I still enjoyed it and was very sad when they extinguished the Olympic flame! It's never gonna happen again in our life time - and the fact that it was so successful for London and TeamGB makes me feel so happy and proud and lucky to have been living in this amazing city during the whole thing! The whole world got to see just how incredible London is!

So Monday morning was the first day of West End In Wales - the musical theatre summer school I've been running since 2006 and the beginning of the final ever course!
It always starts the same way, me acting like an idiot to try and make the students feel comfortable and relaxed and to allow them selves the freedom to join in with all the new challenges they are faced with during the week.

By the time we finished the first morning session which includes a singing audition where each student has to sing in twos, we soon realised that it was possibly the best group of students we'd ever had! 74 hard working and committed 8-18 year olds who were an absolute pleasure to teach the entire week!

The week consists of rehearsals in singing, acting and many styles of dancing in preparation for the showcase which is performed twice on the last day of the course which always blows the audience away because the students learn an hours worth of material in just 5 days. That's 22 numbers in the showcase!
It's a tough week for them but that's the whole idea, it gives them an insight into professional training and the quick pace of a performers professional life!

We also do many improvisation workshops and confidence building sessions to ensure that no matter whether they leave the school at the end of the week desperate to be a west end star or just realising that they don't want to do it as anything more than a hobby - I give myself the responsibility of making them feel that life is theirs to do with it as they please and to work hard and be confident in everything they decide to do and to not let anyone persuade them they shouldn't do it- whilst all the while being realistic of course, there's no point hoping to be the next Elaine Paige if you cannot sing in tune!
It's basically a fun week and a celebration of a large group of youngsters who share the same healthy passion and interest towards an art form which is one of the most challenging and rewarding performing art forms that exists in my opinion. I would have cut off my arm to have the opportunity to do West End In Wales when I was in my teens and that is the exact reason  I have been running the course for 6 years!

The end of week showcase was the perfect ending to the summer school. I felt so proud to stand in front of all the students as they we're dripping with sweat at the end of each performance and simply say to their parents 'do you see how much your children can achieve when they are pushed and given the right guidance and support' - By that point in the week it is always one of the most exhausted moments of my working year but also one of the most rewarding! It's a humbling reminder to any successful performer where they've come from, what they've achieved, why we do it and how lucky we are to get paid to do what we love!

I wish every single person who has ever been involved in my summer school the very best of luck in all you do and remember to keep working hard and focus on determination and your goals and remember to let me know when you've achieved them!!!

Ambition never stops, no matter how successful one may become and that is the joy of being a self employed actor- the challenges just keep coming to hopefully fulfil your ever growing passion for what you do!

So once the summer school was done and I'd packed all the stuff away - which took twice as long as two of nieces were 'helping' me, otherwise known as trying on every costume and playing with every prop they could get their hands on! I didn't mind though, I just enjoyed some fun times with them and then had a big banquet of Chinese food with my family and chilled in my sister's garden until late!

I drove back to London on Sunday afternoon. I was so keen to just get back to a normal schedule where I only have one full time job to focus on and to try and allow chill out time. By the time I was driving through London the sun was blazing, my car windows were down, music was pumping and as I drove past Hyde Park it felt really good to be back in good old London town!

Sunday evening I met my friend who lives near by and we went for a walk and ended up randomly finding a Spanish tapas restaurant so we went in there and had some good food and a laugh before watching a film and then I went to bed and for the first time in a long time, I didn't set my alarm.

I naturally woke early on Monday but then fell asleep on my sofa for a couple of hours whilst This Morning was on the TV - I'm not afraid to say that I seriously cannot stand to watch Eamonn Holmes. Just my opinion!

I had a long swim in the afternoon and then saw my physio for a session on my voice to make sure it was ready to return to the show after a week of shouting and singing with all the kids! I then slept again in my dressing room for an hour.

It was good to be back at work on Monday and after the show I headed home and slept like a baby all night! I spent most of Tuesday in the gym (or at least that's how it felt). I could tell I hadn't been for a week because I nearly passed out and vomited at the same time from pushing myself so hard! I'm feeling determined to get back on form as I was before all the excess summer school work started!

Wednesday (yesterday) I spent the afternoon at the National Theatre watching the Shakespeare play Timon Of Athens, which my friend Craige's in! I really enjoyed it! Some incredible acting, particularly from Simon Russell Beale who plays Timon!

This morning I came into town early for a swim and then a rehearsal for West End Bares with Louise Dearman. We're singing a brand new song written especially for us for this event and we'll be surrounded by practically naked west end performers! Worth buying a ticket???...... I think so! And it's all for the charity TheatreMAD! It's a week on Sunday, September 2nd at Cafe De Paris in Leicester Square, central London. Two performances 9pm & 12pm don't miss it!

And that brings me to the present! Sitting in my dressing room having just had our 15 minute call for the matinee and I think my body is a little bit in denial about what it's got to go through today....twice!

Thanks for reading folks! Have a great week!

Keep Believing!



Thursday, 9 August 2012

BLOG 108!!! I Want To Enter The Olympics As Spiderman!

Hey Everyone,

Happy Thursday. I hope you're all keeping well. All I'm gonna say is GOLD GOLD GOLD! Great Britain are doing phenomenally well in the Olympics and I'm SO proud! But hey, I rabbited on about the games a lot in last week's blog so I'm gonna leave it there for today!

Last Friday I spent the day with my friend Caroline in Hyde Park (watching the Olympics live on the big screens). The atmosphere was amazing and the sun was blazing (that rhymes!) and we had a great few hours! Although when I got to the theatre that evening after catching up with a friend of mine who was visiting from New York I realised that by being patriotic in the park and wearing my TeamGB t-shirt I had pretty nasty tan lines and had very prominent lines from my T-Shirt sleeves on my arms. Needless to say I had to use quite a bit of make up to cover up Sam's dodgy tan in the first scene where I wear a white sleeveless vest. I proper burned my nose too! Silly!

After the show on Friday I headed home watched some Brothers & Sisters and then got to sleep. The end of last week seemed to go on forever! It was really tough.

I decided to combat the fatigue and generate some energy on Saturday morning by Swimming 50 lengths before my guitar lesson and my matinee! It worked until half way through the second half of act two then I crashed like a demon!
After some food and a sleep in my dressing room (with the Olympics in the back ground on the telly) I was geared up for the last show of the week. It ended up being full of laughter and good times (off stage of course) - mainly because in one section of the show my trousers split in the behind - from the top all the way down the centre seam which resulted in me having to do the whole of the subway station where the subway Ghost is teaching me how to move things with at least one hand holding my trousers up else they would have literally dropped down to my ankles. The whole of the cast were either in the wings or watching on the monitor and were very amused by my challenge that had arisen. I exited the stage, got into my dressing room and was rolling about on the floor with laughter, my dresser had to tell me off because I literally have about 90 seconds to get changed and she needed to give me new trousers! It made me delirious!!!
We also kept getting updates of all the gold medals we were getting in the Olympics which got the whole cast so excited, my second act on Saturday was inspired by Jessica Ennis! She is an absolute machine!!! She's a legend!

By the end of the show I had exhausted every ounce of energy in my reserve tank and gladly headed to my mate Sally's house to stay the night and within 45 minutes of my arrival I'd devoured a whole bottle of wine to myself and then I hit the hay!

Sunday was a day of lounging in jogging trousers with Sal and her mate and we just ate nice food and guess what we watched on the TV all day?! Yup you guessed it, the Olympics! Andy Murray played some amazing Tennis on Sunday and I was so pleased he got the gold in the men's singles!

Sunday evening I headed home and could feel a cold trying to get hold of me so I dosed up and went to bed (after doing lots of work on my summer school)

I woke Monday morning and felt really weak and quite unwell, but I never let an illness get the better of me if I can help it, so I dosed up and had lots of vitamin C and worked on my summer school all day and then headed for a swim and a steam before work.

I got to the theatre and it was great to do the show with Siobhan again as Molly. She had a two week holiday from the show and I really missed her. So it was a good show on Monday and it helped me get through by focussing my attention on Siobhan as oppose to feeling ill!

Tuesday I woke and forced myself to have a relaxing morning and get some rest before heading into town in the afternoon for a swim and to run a few errands!

By Tuesday evening I think my sickness was bored of me not allowing it to take hold so it gave up- I felt much better and the show was great with a superb audience!

I went to the cinema yesterday (after even more work on my summer school!) to see Spiderman. It was amazing! I want to be spiderman. I have decided to cancel the jobs I have lined up for after Ghost and go into a science lab and stay there until I work out how to become spiderman. I got a C in my GCSE science so I'll be fine!

After watching the film I met my brother from another mother Ben Stott who I worked with in Wicked. We had a good catch up over a smoothie and then I headed to work.

I got home last night and watched more Brothers & Sisters. Those actors are so inspiring!

And that brings me to Here Right Now (the moment not the song!) I'm about to head to buy some tile samples before going for a swim and then i might do  cheeky matinee.

I am not at Ghost all next week as I will be in Wales running my summer school WEST END IN WALES. We have 74 students and the best showcase planned so I am warning you now, next weeks blog might be considerably shorter than usual as the summer school week is always my busiest time of the year.

Have a great week folks! Enjoy the closing ceremony of the Olympics on Sunday. Have heard some of the great things that will be happening from some people involved and it's going to be amazing! I LOVE THE OLYMPICS (had to get it out there one last time!)

Keep Believing!



Thursday, 2 August 2012

Blog 107! An Olympic inspired week!

Hey Everyone,

How are you all doing. What a great week it's been eh?!

Loving the atmosphere around town because of the Olympics. Although I have to say that although we were majorly warned that London was going to be extremely busy during the Olympics, it is actually quieter than usual. That's just in central London of course, I'm sure it's much busier on certain forms of transport and in the event venues. So many people were doubting London's ability to host an event as large as this and I think the organisers are proudly proving those pessimists wrong - I have to admit that I had worries about how the transport system would cope but it's been organised brilliantly, and actually it's so refreshing to be surrounded by happy patriotic people from all over the world instead of miserable London commuters who hate their jobs, hate their lives and hate everything else that exists!

Last Friday I spent 6 hours on summer school admin work and then went tile shopping for my new bathroom - (I know, thrilling eh?!!) it is actually REALLY difficult. It's such a massive decision. Bathrooms can look sexy or naff and I don't want mine to be the latter! Its all about the sexy!!!

Then Friday evening I headed to a mates house near by and there were 5 of us drinking and eating and enjoying the Olympic opening ceremony, but even more  enjoyable was the novelty of having a Friday night off. We felt like we had 'normal' jobs and worked 'normal' hours like 'normal' people.

I personally thought the ceremony was incredible. Danny Boyle who directed it is a genius. Every element of it was so well thought out and beautifully executed. The only slight disappointment for me was the vocals of most of the singing. I'm not naming names but lets just say there wasn't really anyone that stuck out as being good in my opinion, which I think is a shame and a poor representation of our countries great artists and musicians.

I thought I might be extremely hung over on Saturday morning after consuming a LARGE amount of alcohol the night before, but I woke up fresh as a daisy and went for a swim before my guitar lesson and then did the final two show day of the week.

Saturday night I watched a film with a mate. It was a horror film called Grave Encounters which I loved. It was pretty jumpy and scary but was done very well and not silly and unrealistic like most horrors are.

Sunday I spent nearly 10 hours working on summer school things to get on top of it all and after that I went for a walk to my mates house to get some air and we sat writing silly songs with my guitar and having a laugh.

Monday I did more office work before meeting the musical director of my summer school to work through all the music and then headed for a work out at the gym and a swim.

After the show on Monday night I headed home to start a new series of Brothers & Sisters. The actors on that show are amazing. Sally Field leads an incredibly talented cast and she herself is just phenomenal and heartbreaking! I always feel inspired when I watch that show, which is a good way to feel before going to sleep! 

Tuesday I woke early and left the house immediately after breakfast to make sure I gave myself a day away from summer school work because it was beginning to define the very meaning of my life!

I headed to the gym and worked hard for two hours including a nice swim in an empty pool.  After that I met a good friend of mine for a coffee and a catch up before chilling watching the Olympics on the TV in my dressing room.

After Tuesdays show I of course headed home to watch Brothers & Sisters again.

Yesterday (Wednesday) I decided to do an early gym session again. Pushed myself hard for 2 hours and then after a steam I met my friend who'd just retuned from a holiday.

I spent the afternoon chilling with a mate and after the show last night I headed home for a couple of hours work on West End In Wales. You'll be pleased to know there is not much more preparation work left to do at all for the summer school now so we're all systems go to start a week on Monday.
It's gonna be a great week's course and we're fully booked with 71 students attending.

Right, that was my week, I hope yours was good. I'm off for a swim and then a physio session before heading to work for the matinee.

Have a great week folks and keep supporting which ever country your from in the Olympics- those athletes are incredible and the amount of hard work they put in to their training to represent their country in the best possible way is mind-blowing, they certainly deserve our support!!!

Keep believing and love your lives.