FEATURE: Marcus Crawford Guy – My Story

In 2010, Lochwinnoch’s Marcus Crawford Guy became the first Scottish actor accepted at New York’s prestigious Juilliard School. Out of thousands of applicants from across the globe, Marcus became one of only 18 students to gain successful entry into the school, his esteemed classmates include this year’s Best Actor in a Play Tony Award-winner, Alex Sharp and Wallis Currie-Wood who stars in CBS drama Madam Secretary. Following in the footsteps of Jessica Chastain, Kevin Spacey, Viola Davis and the late Robin Williams, Marcus is carving out a career for himself across the pond. Glasgow Theatre Blog caught up with Marcus during a break in his busy schedule, where he charted his journey from schoolboy in Renfrewshire to the Big Apple and beyond.

“I grew up in Lochwinnoch and discovered the stage at Right2Dance in Paisley with my friend Bethany Nicholls. We then decided we wanted to move AND talk and moved on to PACE Youth Theatre where I really began to find my feet.

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In Firebird at La Mama

At PACE, I was involved in six annual pantomimes, featuring in 2002 as the Genie in Aladdin. I was also in four touring Theatre in Education productions that played primary schools, high schools and the annual Choices For Life Event at the SECC, AECC and Braehead Arena in 2004, 2005 and 2006. At the same time, I also directed my own original play Airbrushed Lies , what a cliched title, can you tell I was 16? which won the Verona Cup Challenge in their 4th annual competition in 2008.

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I left PACE with my friends Megan Hair and Paul Treacy (who has appeared to great acclaim in Taboo and Starlight Express) and went to the Musical Theatre Course at the Dance School of Scotland. My training there was phenomenal. I’m not a natural singer but my teachers really unlocked my voice and I played the leading role of KoKo in The Hot Mikado at the Citizen’s in 2010 and the villainous Reecey in Our House: The Madness Musical  in 2011.

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As much as I loved my training at Knightswood, I knew acting was the thing for me and I auditioned for Juilliard (having never been in America before) in the Winter of 2010. It is no joke when I say I have never felt more welcome in a place and I was thrilled to be accepted to an institution where I truly felt comfortable and able to learn.

At Juilliard, I joined Group 43 (each year group is identified by a group number, Group 1 started in 1968) along with 17 other talented individuals and had a really impeccable four years of training. We worked with Tony-nominated directors, met award-winning actors and had a training program that was sculpted to meet our specific needs as a company of actors. Our class were followed in the 2012/13 season by French TV production company Arte TV for their six-part TV documentary by Priscilla Pizatto, A Season at the Juilliard School, shown on SKY TV in the UK.

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The Juilliard School

I was auditioned by, and met, the man who is now one of my heroes, Moni Yakim. Moni is the only member of the Juilliard faculty who has been on the program since its inception in 1968. I will be featured alongside Jessica Chastain, Viola Davis, Kevin Spacey and Michael Urie in the Tribeca Film Institute documentary that tracks Moni’s Legacy – The Moni Yakim Legacy Project.

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Moni Yakim

I graduated from Juilliard in 2014 with Scholastic Distinction for my paper Shakespeare: The Power of a Word which challenges traditional methods of teaching Shakespeare.

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As Malvolio in Twelfth Night

I also won the Joseph W. Polisi ‘Artist as Citizen’ Award for my contribution to communities around the world: I run and program an annual arts immersion workshop, stART Osceola, in Central Florida which reaches over 150 kids each summer at a nominal fee. It is the only program of its kind in North America and this summer we launched a scholarship program that will help take our highest achievers to colleges that might otherwise be inaccessible. I went to Tanzania in 2011, ’12 and ’13 to work with the Arusha Arts Initiative, taking Arts empowerment workshops to some of the most impoverished communities surrounding Mount Kilimanjaro.

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Since graduating, I have developed relationships with some of New York City’s most exciting up-and-coming theatre companies: The Greenhouse Ensemble, The Cutout Theatre, and NYLon Fusion. In June 2014, I won Best Actor for my performance in WickedFrozen! A Musical Parody Mashup! at the West Village Musical Theatre Festival. Last winter, I worked with the Little Orchestra Society in their production of Peter and the Wolf at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and this Spring I was in Shakespeare on the Sound’s touring production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

In addition to my acting work, I have started developing multimedia work with composer and percussionist, Brian Shank and we premiered our first piece in March of this year thanks to the support of The Juilliard School. The piece, Maintenance Inspection, examines the process of selecting a profile picture.

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In Maintenance Inspection

For now, I am excited to return to New York to begin work on my own adaptation of A Christmas Carol for actors and musicians that The Secret Opera will be producing this December and next year I will take the lead in Nicholas Giuricich’s feature length film Wavecrest”.

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On set with Francisco Huergo in Wavecrest

With such an impressive CV, it won’t be long before Marcus Crawford Guy becomes a household name, keep your eyes peeled.