Why I Started the Actors Forge

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Why I Started the Actors Forge The Actors Forge

As the Actors Forge turns two this month, I thought I would take a moment to put my fingers to the keys and reflect on why I started this venture in the first place. 

A lot has changed since I was living in London, pursuing the dream of being an Actor, and quite frankly, getting no where with it. 

If I was going to stay in the creative business, it had to be on my own terms, and in my own way. 

I remember sitting with a pint in the Shakespeare’s Head, an apt place to tell my friend and fellow actor from Sunderland that I was moving back to the North East with the intention to, “start my own fucking thing.” 

I don’t regret moving to London, there I trained for three years in various places, The Actors Centre, The Actors Temple and the Unseen School of Drama. 

I studied under incredible names like Natalie Dormer, Neil Maskell and Robert Sheehan, to whom I was a massive fan. So much so when he told me I was the most Welsh sounding person he had ever met I simply smiled and laughed.

To this day I think he was just testing me to see if I was a dip shit or not. I fear he might have been right. 

While cobbling together my training I met some of the warmest, kindest, creative people I have ever had the pleasure of sharing the stage with. Many of them I am still friends with today, and some of them, the ones we all knew would, have gone on to star in massive UK T.V dramas, Netflix shows, and even the odd Hollywood movie. 

During that time it all felt possible, it was all right there in front of you, just a stones throw and an awkward meeting with the right agent away. 

But really, when I looked back on that time I realised it wasn’t the dream that kept me going, it was the community we had created, and the trust and experiences that bonded us together. 

I was done with London, but I wasn’t done with the craft, nor was I finished with the people that make this pursuit so worthwhile. 

I’d lived away for ten years, first in Edinburgh, then in Melbourne, then in London, and now it was time to go back to where I belong and actually build something. 

You can only email so many agents, before it’s time to actually do the work to be signed.

And just as I am a long way from my early days… so is The Actors Forge. 

The first class of three would be actors atop a concrete tower in the centre of Newcastle has transformed into a network of over 60 Actors each working hard to put the region firmly on the creative map. 

We’ve worked together to move through the journey of becoming a professional actor, getting onto spotlight, creating a show reel and getting an agent. 

I am proud to say I have helped many actors achieve goals that can often seem distant and intangible. 

Now we are working with some of the top Agents in the region and extending our reach to Leeds and Manchester. 

Some of the countries biggest Casting Directors have held workshops with the Forge, giving everyone the opportunity to be seen and heard and gain those all important first credits. 

We’ve had over ten actors be accepted onto Spotlight and just as many obtain their first representation! 

But the most rewarding aspect of running this network is seeing peoples discovery and re-discovery of their love of acting. 

The look on an actors face when they nail a scene or a monologue, knowing that when you ask them the question… were you in the moment? 

They don’t need to answer. 

They know it as well as you do. 

There are individuals in the Actors Forge who have been with me from the day I started, and many more who have such a dedication to the craft I know they will be with us for years to come. 

So when I ask myself why I stared The Actors Forge, the answer is simple, it’s for them, it’s for you, it’s for the kid who grew up in the North East and wish he’d found it sooner. 

Because without you all, there would be no Actors Forge. 

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