FORMER Stratford College drama student, 24-year-old Sam Swann, went to see everything he could at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre during his time studying but when he received an email from the world-famous theatre company offering him a lead role in the forthcoming festive show, he couldn’t quite believe it.
He said: “I couldn’t quite process the news, I was in a café with a friend at the time – she seemed more excited than me, but it didn’t sink in straight away.
“I didn’t do a lot of theatre as a child, although me and my best friend at school messed around because we were both interested in weird characters.
“I heard there was a good drama course at Stratford College and was precocious enough to think I’d do well – I’d by then formed some early naive ideas of theatre.
“I had the best time there, there were some amazing people and I think I went to see everything that was on at the RSC.”
Being on the stage became Sam’s ambition – he admits he has never wanted to do anything else – and so he went to drama school (LAMDA – London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art) and started to get work.
He also staged a production of Macbeth with fellow Stratford College students at the MAC in Birmingham.
“It is amazing to be given any opportunity to act, whether it is a lead or not, it doesn’t really matter,” he said.
“But it was amazing to receive the email from the RSC,” he added.
Sam was offered the role of Peter, in the RSC’s production of Wendy and Peter Pan, which opens on the main house stage in preview next Tuesday and since then his feet have not touched the ground, quite literally.
“I thought there were only a limited number of ways you could fly, but I didn’t have a clue how I’d do it. I’d never really done much physical theatre before, but we worked with Circus Space in London to train us up on circus skills, which really was fun and I learned a lot, especially about my core strength.”
The production, directed by Jonathan Munby (who previously directed The Canterbury Tales for the RSC), is a new version of the classic tale adapted by Ella Hickson.
Sam said: “I saw the Disney version many, many times when I was a kid, but I hadn’t read any of the Peter Pan stories until now. I absolutely love it!
“Ella offers an interesting retelling, it is dark and sad as well.
“It is slightly different as it explores the character of Wendy as a mother role, but fundamentally it is the same framework.”
Wendy and Peter Pan runs in the Royal Shakespeare Theatre from next Tuesday (official opening night 18th December) until 2nd March.
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