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The Essentials

Zoe Bloss, who lives in the South West of England, gives her tips for performers working outside of London.

I’m going to say something controversial but stick with me. Living in London is beautiful and exciting… but it’s not for everyone. I know, crazy right? There are thousands of actors shocked by this statement. In fact, there are knife-wielding, flame-throwing acrobats that are shocked by this statement.

London is, without question, one of the most vibrant cities in the world. I love visiting London, I love working in London and I absolutely loved living there. It’s a hub for creativity and culture and, as an actor, it’s certainly the most convenient place to be. However, the extortionate cost of living and frantic lifestyle can be a bit of a killjoy for some people. Thankfully, there are plenty of other thriving artistic communities all over the UK and the days when it was essential to live in London are long gone. Can I get a hallelujah?!

Whether you’re considering a change of pace or have been part of the regional scene for a while, here are some tips for actors working across the UK.

1. Nail your self-tape setup

Living outside of London would be a hell of a lot harder if it wasn’t for self-taping. However, the days of using a messy kitchen as your backdrop are well and truly over. Self-taping is now a bona fide way to audition, so when you get a free afternoon, try and create a self-tape just for fun. The more you practice your self-tape moves, the easier it’ll be when the real thing comes around. You don’t need expensive equipment but you do need a plan. Think around what backdrop to use, what lighting you’ll need and where to put your camera and I guarantee it’ll be those small choices that make a difference.

2. Make the most of regional showcases

The acting gods truly blessed us with some wonderful organisations that are all about providing more opportunities for actors throughout the UK. One of the big players is Monologue Slam, produced by TriForce Creative Network, who hold actor showcases in cities all over the country. Opportunities like these are a great way to test new material, meet other like-minded actors in your area and perform for an industry panel. What more could you want?! It’s always worth a Google to see what opportunities are in your area.

3. Find your people

The acting industry is hard. It’s a hard place to work in and a really hard to place to ‘rest’ in.  For every incredible high there can also be a crushing low and, if you’re not in that blissful bubble of work, it’s easy to feel isolated. Wherever you’re based, it’s definitely worth making the effort to connect with local actors because you’ll be able to build another support system with people who can truly appreciate what you’re experiencing. For the sake of your mental health, reach out to other local actors and join nearby acting classes. You’ll make new friends and have a network of people who can read lines with you at a moment’s notice. It’s a win-win situation!

4. Support regional work

Shout it loud and proud, great – art – exists – outside – of – London. Fantastic work is being made all over the UK and, thanks to Equity’s Cast it Here campaign, more companies are utilising local talent for their productions. If we want to work across the UK, and not just London, then we have to support the amazing content being made across the country. So check out work at your local theatre and introduce yourself to filmmakers in your area. The more you connect with regional talent, the more you’ll open yourselves up to regional opportunities and, who knows, you could be in the next Bait!

5. Prepare to travel

It’s more than likely that, at some point, you’ll have to come to London for an audition or meeting. Knowing your luck, you’ll probably get an email at 10pm asking you to come in the next day at 9am. Cue, stress! As fun as that sounds, let’s help ourselves out a bit and prepare for the unexpected. It’s time to become best friends with as many travel timetables you can get your hands on. Get your head down and research the latest buses, the earliest trains and plan as many routes as possible. When the time comes, you’ll know exactly how to get there so you can focus on nailing that audition!

It can be really challenging to be out of the London loop but hopefully these tips will help you feel more connected, more prepared and more supported. So best of luck and maybe I’ll see you on the sleeper train some time.

Zoe Bloss is an actor and content creator, currently working across film, theatre and voice overs.  Her most recent work includes appearing on ‘The Trouble with Maggie Cole’ for ITV.

Photo by Nathan Riley via Unsplash.