BSC Address

Thursday, April 19, 2007


I have always resisted the notion that I am sentimental but each time I see a drama school graduation showcase I feel the same sense of moment.

As a member of the audience you are watching a group of people on the brink of the rest of their lives. It’s normally during the closing number I find myself wondering what will happen to this group of people, this group of very different individuals. What has life got in store them; how many will achieve their burgeoning dreams, on and off the stage? It’s a moment of profound reflection and it never fails to move me.

What it is to be a human being on this planet.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


It illustrates the state America has got into that I am struggling to feel sympathy for the country in the wake of the massacre of Virginia. It’s hard to feel sorry for a nation that persists in a pattern of behaviour that repeatedly causes national disaster: gun ownership.

It is incomprehensible in the wake of the tragedy that eminent senators and congressmen have seriously suggested the answer to preventing future calamities is to arm more people so they have a chance to defend themselves. That if the students had all carried guns, they could have killed this madman themselves. They insanely argue that increasing the number of people who carry guns will reduce the deathtoll that haunts their country. Are these politicians evil or simply deranged?

11,000 Americans kill each other with guns every year. That’s nearly four times the amount of people who died on 9/11. And they do it every year. America’s reaction to 9/11 has been catastrophic for the Middle East, yet they doggedly side step the disaster that happens annually on their doorstep. Their own ability to kill each other makes Bin Laden look like an amateur.

I love many things about America and Americans. But their perverse attachment to weapons of violence is incomprehensible and indefensible. And it is hard to feel sorry for someone who despite all the evidence staring them in the face, still likes to play with guns, shooting themselves in the foot again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Even more!

Rudi, my very great acting teacher at Bristol Old Vic, said many wonderful things about acting.

Here are a very, very few:

Acting is the gentle art of living - (later he would add 'the gentle art of living together')

Everyone is an actor - we just call it 'good manners'

Acting is the art of reacting

Acting is playing -that's why you're called players

You spell 'art' with a capital F

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


There is nothing guaranteed to drive you into insanity more convincingly than looking through thousands - and thousands - of CV's. We've just started re-casting DANNY - and my mind is already in jeopardy!

There's more

The other advice Mr Cleese gave me (he won't leave me alone) and certainly the most challenging:

The hardest but most important thing to discover in your life: to find out what you need, as opposed to what you want.

I think in this business, that advice is extremely to the point.

Monday, April 02, 2007


I was given a piece of advice when I was nineteen by John Cleese. Actually he gave me two pieces of advice but I never did take up tia chi.

You can obtain the maximum growth from one initiative involving your emotions: do the thing you fear most.

I think it's a wise piece of advice.

Very hard to put into action!