At just 22, Stewart Clarke has a CV that would be the envy of most actors, currently garnering rave reviews for his portrayal of the tragic hero Sam in the highly acclaimed national tour of Ghost the Musical, Glasgow Theatre Blog caught up with Stewart during the Edinburgh run of the show.
Can you tell our readers a bit about your background and what or who inspired you to become an actor?
Both my parents are actors so it was perhaps inevitable that I would follow a similar path! I initially wasn’t too interested in the world of performing, rebelling in a typical teenage fashion but when I did eventually dip my toe in the water there was no looking back. My parents have and always will be so supportive of me, they are definitely my biggest inspiration.
How did you go about pursuing your career?
It just kind of happened! I knew I loved performing and would like nothing more than to follow a career in the arts but after four years at University, the prospect of continuing further studies at a drama school was going to be too expensive. It was only when my agent spotted me at a concert with the National Youth Music Theatre that it all become a reality.
You have a wide range of roles on your CV – up until Sam, which has been your favourite?
Leo Frank in Parade will always hold a special place for me, simply because I adore the show. The true story it is based on is just unbelievably heart breaking, and Jason Robert Brown’s music only serves to heighten this. It was a fantastic acting challenge and one of those parts that really stays with you long after the curtain falls.
You were involved with the short-lived but publicly loved Loserville – a lot of buzz was generated around the show, how did it feel being in it?
It was great fun! I only joined the show in the summer for it’s West End transfer but it was one of those shows where everyone was a similar sort of age and many of us were making our West End debuts together. It was a colorful, fun show that never took itself too seriously and as a result was a joy to perform. The fans of the show were so enthusiastic, you could really tell that it made an impact on them.
The reactions to Ghost have been overwhelmingly positive, how are you enjoying the tour so far?
Loving it – it’s a draining role but so, so rewarding. Plus, the cast around me is fantastic too. I love working with Rebecca Trehearn playing Molly – she’s a dream, and David Roberts is a superb Carl. Wendy Mae Brown’s Oda Mae is a thing of comic beauty as well; it’s just such an honour to be performing with such talented people.
Ghost has been said to be the most technically complex production ever to tour the UK; has that had an impact on the actors?
Surprisingly not! I think it’s because we have such a phenomenal stage crew behind the scenes who just ensure everything runs so smoothly that we never even notice the tech. But the audience definitely will notice it – some of the illusions and technical set pieces are jaw-dropping.
You have big shoes to fill in this part; how did you go about making such an iconic role as Sam your own?
Well by not actually watching the film surprisingly enough! Still haven’t seen it and don’t plan to as the Sam I’m currently playing is purely my Sam. Obviously I’m aware of the Swayze legacy, but this is a different piece in a different medium and I want to reflect that.
In such an emotionally draining show how do you unwind in your down time.
Been watching a lot of American TV on things like Netflix recently – there are so many quality shows being produced over there right now. Also a few of us try to hit the gym as regularly as possible, we’re very lucky here in Edinburgh to have a spa as well so the steam room/Jacuzzi certainly helps with the relaxing!
What advice would you give to anyone contemplating an acting career?
Make sure you seize every single opportunity you are handed. You never know who is going to be watching or what will come of it in the future. People talk about needing to be lucky to get into acting and that is certainly true, but you can make the odds fall in your favour if you are putting yourself out there as much as possible.
What career ambitions would you still like to fulfill?
I’m 22 and just starting out – I’d say there is still everything left to fulfill! I’ve been blessed so far and as long as I can keep performing then I’m going to be happy.
Finally, what three words best describe Stewart Clarke?
Still always learning!
For more information about Stewart visit http://www.stewartclarke.co.uk/
Follow Stewart on Twitter @StewClarke
GHOST runs at the King’s Theatre Glasgowfrom Tuesday 1st October until Saturday 19th October – tickets here