With a starring role in the ever-popular Dreamboats and Petticoats straight out of drama school (she graduates this summer), Hannah Boyce is a star on the rise. Here she talks to Glasgow Theatre Blog about her journey from Scotland to the professional stage.
Can you tell us a bit about your background and what inspired you to become a performer?
I grew up just outside Glasgow in Milton of Campsie with my parents and Becky and Greg- my older brother and sister. I did amdram with the Kirkintilloch Players and did lots of drawings and wrote silly stories! At this time I wanted to write and illustrate kids’ books and I don’t think I understood that being an actress was a real job! Then on Pancake Day, 11 years ago, my parents got tickets to see Cats in the Kings Theatre Glasgow and I loved it SO much! I got the CD and the video and collected loads of memorabilia and that was the first musical I saw! After that we would go and see everything that toured close by and that’s when I realised that I wanted to be on the stage!
Tell us about your training.
My first formal training was at UK Theatre School, once I’d started to show a real interest in Theatre, which was such a great start for me as a young performer. They managed to get the balance right between fun and actually teaching some pretty challenging stuff. I was lucky enough to be taught by some really great people including Paul Christie and Chris Wilson who were very supportive and played a big part in my training at that time. I also met some lovely friends there who I am still in touch with and can’t wait to see while I’m back in Scotland! I then auditioned for the Preparatory Theatre Course at the Dance School of Scotland in Knightswood Secondary School, gaining a place and starting proper full-time training. I then progressed onto the Musical Theatre Course, where I was helped by the amazing staff with my auditions for drama school. Four years of brilliant training meant that I was accepted onto the BA Musical Theatre Course at the Guildford School of Acting which had been my ultimate aim from the start of my training! I trained there for three years and I’m technically still there I suppose- I graduate in August! The training at GSA is exceptional and the way the course focusses on building up technical stamina to perform ‘8 shows a week’ has been the best preparation for this tour! Whilst at GSA I was very fortunate to be part of a hugely talented and hilarious year group who have done so well already! Very proud.
You’ve just started the UK tour of Dreamboats and Petticoats- tell us a bit about your character, the rehearsals and how it’s all going so far?
I’m playing the character of Laura. She’s a 15 year old, geeky girl who loves writing music and is completely in love with Bobby- fellow school swat, but doesn’t know how to tell him! The story’s main plot is about Bobby and Laura’s relationship and a song writing competition that they want to enter. This part is so much fun to play. She’s at that stage where she’s flooded with hormones and never really knows the right thing to say! She’s so awkward and endearing, not your traditional leading lady! We’ve just opened the show after twelve days of rehearsal! It was heads down and late nights but the cast is so lovely to work with and we managed to have fun and stay positive even under that high pressure situation.
Can you give us an insight into the show and why you think it is so popular with audiences?
The show is just completely harmless and funny! It is so accessible and fast paced with amazing pop songs that most people already know! I think it’s so popular because it’s a great night out that literally gets people dancing in the isles. The characters are so real that they’re easy to relate to and the script is hilarious which makes it almost like a funny little sitcom as well! I met a man the other night who had seen the show over 40 times and says he still enjoyed it as much this time round as the first!
Up until now what has been your favourite role to play?
My favourite role to play was in GSA’s production of Sweet Charity where I was ensemble but was given the amazing opportunity of being Dance Captain. It was all original choreography, so I did lots of work shopping with the choreographer, Stuart Winter, to come up with some really special stuff! It was such a challenge and I will always remember it!
Are there any roles you would like to play or shows you would like to be part of in the future?
I would love to do all sorts of things! Working professionally in theatre at all is amazing. The statistics are absolutely against us! I would be so happy doing anything, but there are some shows that I have my eye on while I can still get away with looking really young! I would love to do Mamma Mia- I went to see it with my family and it’s the only show that my Dad has given a standing ovation to! Says it all really! The big West End shows like Wicked and Les Miserables are obvious choices and dream shows for every performer, but Nessa Rose in Wicked is a lovely part! Also, it’s always been a big ambition of mine to originate a role. That would be a massive deal!
There are many people out there contemplating a career in acting- what advice would you give to them?
I think everyone approaches this strange career differently but I can tell you what worked for me! I think getting a good training is very important! Auditioning for drama school is really stressful and can be off-putting. Most people don’t get offered a place first time but I think it’s so important to persevere to give yourself the best start! With training, don’t read too much into things! Pick and choose the things you are taught that work for you! Not everything will, and it’s just as important to discover the things that don’t work, because then you can come up with your own unique strategy that gets the best out of you. Take criticism and act on it. Have at least one part of your life that isn’t to do with theatre or acting, whether it’s a part time job or a hobby, it’s very useful to have an escape from it all when it gets a bit intense. Learn an instrument! That’s what’s in demand- you’ll thank me when it comes to auditions!!
If you hadn’t become an actor what do you think you’d be doing now?
Well I wanted to do all sorts of things growing up! But I think I would be doing something in art. Which is just as tricky as acting! I never choose the easy option!
Which performers inspire you?
There are so many people who inspire me from all sorts of productions and films I’ve seen! When I see an actor who listens and when you believe everything they say, that’s what does it for me. Anne Hathaway in Princess Diaries was a huge inspiration to me growing up, and I still think she’s an amazing actress and such a beautiful woman! She seems happy and healthy too, which is lovely to see when there are so many actors who get overwhelmed and fall apart. She’s a great role model, I think.
What can we expect next from Hannah Boyce?
Oh God, I have no idea!! This is my first job and who knows when the next one will come along! Until then I’ll hopefully be doing lots of auditions and hope to get back to teaching, which I’m missing already! I would love to try and settle in London and have an address again! But although it’s scary flying constantly by the seat of your pants, it’s also exciting never knowing what’s next! It’s not the most stable of career choices, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!
DREAMBOATS and PETTICOATS visits Edinburgh and Glasgow this summer:
8 – 13 Jul 2013
Edinburgh Playhouse, Edinburgh
Click here to Book Tickets or call the Box Office 0844 871 3014.
19 – 24 Aug 2013
Kings Theatre, Glasgow
Click here to Book Tickets or call the Box Office 0844 871 7648.
Follow Hannah on Twitter @HannahKateBoyce
On Facebook https://www.facebook.com/hannah.boyce.7