FORMER Stratford College student John Leader has really landed on his feet.
Not only did his time at the college as a drama student encourage him to embark on a three year physical theatre course at East 15 Acting School at the University of Essex but because of this he has landed his dream job within the heart of a ground-breaking puppetry production – War Horse.
The 23-year-old started at Stratford College doing a BTEC in Performing Arts when he was 18, and he told the Herald it had set him up for where he is now.
He said: “I never really found theatre and dance until I was 16, I was at a school that had a theatre programme.
“I did a lot of dance and went on to teach dance, but I decided I wanted to improve on my acting ability and technique.
“I auditioned, got in, and that really set me up for where I am now.”
The highlight of his time at Stratford College was being cast as Orlando in As You Like It.
“When I was growing up I didn’t have a huge interest in Shakespeare, but when I got to Stratford I found a love for Shakespeare and learned a lot,” he said.
After graduating from Stratford College, John had already decided he wanted to work in the industry and so decided to go to drama school where he learned a lot about mask work, circus skills, acrobatics and puppetry.
He had finished his final year when he auditioned for War Horse.
“It felt right and I knew I wanted it. To get this job using my physical theatre skills as soon as I graduated – well it really is a dream job!
“There were quite a few levels and I had to go through quite a few auditions.
“Then we spent two weeks in rehearsals with just us puppeteers and then the actors joined us and we spent a further six weeks together.
“I’m the heart of the two big horses [Joey and Topthorn]. There are three of us – the head, the heart and the hind. It really is an ensemble piece and the three of us have to work very closely together, we each have key emotional indicators. I’m in the middle of the horse, so I look after his front legs and his breath.
“The preparation was amazing, we were taught to be horses and we did get to visit the National Horse Trust. Before War Horse I was never a big fan of horses, but I am now.”
This major tour of War Horse comes to Birmingham Hippodrome on 16th October from Plymouth before continuing its UK tour.
The show has been seen by over four million people worldwide since its premiere at the National Theatre in 2007 and continues its hugely successful run at the New London Theatre.
War Horse (based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo and adapted by Nick Stafford and presented by the National Theatre in association with Handspring Puppet Company) is the powerful story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned to fight for Britain in World War I.
Caught in enemy crossfire, Joey ends up serving on both sides during the war before landing in No Man’s Land, while Albert, not old enough to enlist, embarks on a treacherous mission to find his horse and bring him home.
It runs at the Birmingham Hippodrome from 16th October until Saturday 9th November.
He has even chosen to set up his office well away from any kind of police building—for the time being in a county-...
Now that a scheme to develop up to 800 homes on the site has been given official government backing, the proposals are e...
STRATFORD-on-Avon District is an attractive place to live and its population has grown rapidly over recent decades. &nb...