Friday, 5 August 2011

Home From Home: Nostalgia. Part One

As I'm edging towards the end of a relatively, both interesting & eye opening (to say the least) two weeks holiday from the dredges of work, (I know, that last part sounded dramatic) I thought it was only right to share with you some of the places that I returned to on my travels.

This also gave me the conclusion, that places of your past, don't change, but then its not just the places, but in retrospect, the people in those places don't change either. (this by no means is aimed at anyone in particular... Or is it???)

One place that stands out and played a vital part in my childhood, is West Witton near Leyburn in North Yorkshire. A place I have only skimmed past in recent years, so in truth in its actual entirety returned to last saturday for the first time in Twenty One Years. Yes I may have visited for personal reasons, five months back, but to actually get out of the car and walk in the traces of your old footsteps from twenty one years ago, is another thing. I was fourteen then, a teenager, unaware of what I would be doing throughout the next twenty one years to come.

To the left is a place very close to my heart. what used to be the village shop, owned by my late grand father, back in the late 70's & early 80's. Memories!!!

What also is surprising, is how compact this small village is, in comparison to when I was a small boy living there when I was just 3,4,5 & 6 years old. Things, were so much different then, back through the eyes of a child. My grand father would walk from his cottage daily, to open up shop, and to me the distance would seem like miles, but now as an adult, is literally a stones throw away.

Above, the apparently cosy Fox & Hounds, which is right next to what was my grand dads cottage. As much as I love an occasional beer now, I have never ever been inside this pub. Remarkable really!!!

Lets play catch up...

Well hello there, readers, observers, and followers. (Okay, I may have only two followers on here, but two is better than none) Anyway, I digress...

It's been a while since I have published a blog entry, needless to say since the Royal Wedding (my last blog entry) and in short a lot has happened since then...

The last three months have been indeed a journey of creative discovery. I recently as mentioned in an earlier blog, joined The Dolman Theatre here in Newport. Where I auditioned my socks off to get parts in their next season of plays. And While doing so, I managed to bag myself a a part as a Film Extra in Newport Playgoers last show,  "The Titfield Thunderbolt". This was my first show for NPG. Here I got to rediscover my passion for the theatre and also got to know a lot of great people in the process.

I also auditioned for a part in the Ray Cooney comedy "Out of Order", and bagged myself the part of the hotel manager, rehearsals start in October. A great role which will hopefully establish myself at The Dolman. Fingers crossed. "Out of Order" goes out in January, 2012.

Since then I have currently been rehearsing for "Fawlty Towers", NPG's first play for the next season which goes out next month. Here I can dabble in a little versatility in the terms of characterisation. I'm playing three roles. A hotel inspector in "The Hotel Inspectors", A German, in "The Germans" and Terry in "Communication Problems".

Needless to say, as well as working to help provide bread and butter for what I would say is in part pursuit of pursuing my dream and achieving it, I am indeed a pretty busy guy. However other things have been in the offing, and I may to decide to divulge in due course.

In the mean time, summer is here, so enjoy!!!

P x

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Inspired by love, Inspired by romance, Inspired by a Prince & his Princess.

As an actor, who at the moment is currently waiting to hear the out come of recent auditions, aside handling the consistent amount of hurdles that life puts in your way, you tend to lose sight of other things that make you who you are in life. Other things that have you lose track of what inspires you in the first place. What ignites your creativity, what inspires the words that form a line in a poem, and what inspires you to put a certain amount of emotion into the portrayal of a certain role. Here I am talking about life experiences. We all can lose our way from who we really are because of the different things that we experience in life, but at the end of the day (and I hate that saying) it depends how we handle it.

It's been over a year since I became single and that I have gathered dust on the shelf of singledom, and despite trailing a dating site and going on as many dates as Henry VIII had wives, I found that the more I was doing this the more I was writing myself off romantically. Don't get me wrong, I met some weird and wonderful ladies, more the weird than the wonderful, but at the end of it all, I think I lost who I was, and what I wanted in life as well as a successful career, a loving family, and a handful of great friends. I had in fact written myself off romantically, and in all honesty thought that it had died along with the last relationship I had.

But then, the morning of  the 29th April 2011, changed things, it made me think, it made me feel, and it of course made me a little sentimental, and realise what the other thing I was missing was and want out of life . Love and romance. Who would have thought that the marriage of the future King of England would have made me realise that what I really want, and have always wanted but with the right person, was still there, deep down inside of me.

From the second I saw the live coverage of Prince William & Kate Middleton's wedding, I was pulled in to what some people would call a fairytale, but it wasn't, it was real. This was the first Royal Wedding of its kind for 25 years. But this time I was watching a Royal Wedding through the eyes of an adult. Twenty Five years ago, I was ten, and without a care in the world, and oh how things have changed Ha!. Back then it would have had the fairytale quality of the previous two Royal Weddings I experienced through black Joe 90 style specs in the 1980's. But nothing like the sense of real love that I was witnessing right now. Between a man and a woman, the Prince William and the now Princess Kate.

I was watching our future Queen of England being driven to Westminster Abbey, I saw her beauty glow as she stepped out of the car and walked down the aisle with her father at her side and her sister as Chief Bridesmaid trailing behind her.

I saw how Prince William's eyes met Kate's behind the bridal Vail, I saw how they both smiled with each other and how he leaned in and told her how beautiful she looked. And Kate did.

Kate Middleton looked perfection. It wasn't until in retrospect, looking at more coverage, of the exchanging of vows, and how the carriage took them off to the palace, which led to the famous kiss on the balcony at Buckingham Palace, that it hit me. Here we have a couple who are without doubt genuinely and deeply in love with each other. I have never really seen love like this before. Let alone have I lived it or breathed it. And it is from this I wish William & Kate every happiness, as Husband & Wife, Prince & Princess and future King & Queen.

And then it hit me again. Here I am, a guy in his mid thirties, who has never really been lucky in love but still wants it, still wants to give it, and wants to live and experience this with his Princess, whoever she maybe. And I am under 100% believability that I will meet her, but hey, that's me, the dreamer.

I'm just hoping that one day my dream becomes reality.

P x

Sunday, 27 March 2011

The Read Through : Time To Familiarise.

If anyone was to ask me what the actors terminology of a read through is, I would have to reply that it's about the actor getting to grips with the play, pre - audition. This could be (in this case) about getting to know a play you just know nothing about, and this alone could lead to a few problems that an actor that has been out of touch with his creativity (one such as myself) would have to over come.

Sight reading, which I'll admit, I'm a tad rusty at and if you know nothing about the play whatsoever, you wouldn't really know about the character you are reading for. And this is why we have the read through, to help us, as actors familiarise ourselves, with not just the dialogue, but the play itself.

This was certainly the case today.

The theatre company I was with this morning, sat around this long table, a bit like a board room and also a lot like the read through that I once saw on last Christmas's Doctor Who Confidential. Of course they were professional actors on TV. however the actors I was with this morning, were indeed a close match and a pleasure to be in the company of.

We briefly skimmed through eight plays, that The Newport Playgoers would be producing from September this year, and after a few rusty stumbles and nervous thumbles, I managed to make it through the read through with my head held high. Being at this read through also gave me an idea of how other actors tackled various other characters, and also more importantly tackled their site reading. This I believe that this vastly brought me up to date with current values that as an actor I would have to under take.

Firstly, speaking clipped and clearly. Pronounciating and articulating the words.
Secondly, don't rush the dialogue, take your time in reading it out loud. Being able to take your time will help you relax into it, and in time your confidence will build.

This certainly was my experience today and most enjoyable.


Saturday, 26 March 2011


As mentioned in my very first blog entry, I discussed that the whole reason behind me ever blogging in the first place was because of  the plan I have to return to acting, not only as a past time , but also as a start to pave the way forward professionally. So what better way other than to return to acting but by heading off to the Dolman Theatre in Newport four weeks ago to attend my first audition in almost two years. To some budding thespians, having an audition looming ahead can be a daunting experience and a nerve racking process. But to me, this wasn't the case. The best thing you can possibly do is to enjoy it! Which of course I did!!!

The audition was to potentially be part of the Newport Playgoers, who were looking for new actors to join them, with the hope of being invited back for read through's to the eight plays they are going to produce for the next season, which of course would go on to another audition for one of the plays. I had already prepared an audition piece and thought that one I was very familiar with would be key to cracking what I would call the first stage of the audition process, in the hope of landing a role. The monologue that I chose was a piece from "Brassed Off" a stage play by Paul Allen.

Myself as Phil in "Brassed Off", Summer 2008. Doing my oh so favourite monologue.

And so there I was in The Dolman bar area, on a gloriously sunny day, feeling good, and with no surprise a Starbucks latte, which I drank earlier swimming through my body, in order to perk me up on the 09:30 call.

Once my name and contact details were given, I noticed that the turn out was relatively small, so far anyone feeling the rush of nerves, needn't have been nervous at all, and so it was... I was the first one up. The audition scene set. About six chairs on stage and  I was to take my place centre stage. With about five of the committee members watching, I still didn't feel nervous. In all honesty I was the most comfortable I had been with myself in months, and to me this could only be a good thing. I soon came to life as I walked into the auditorium and to be back on a stage performing even if for only a couple of minutes, well it was the happiest I had been in for about a year. More importantly was the fact that the monologue I had chosen was still fresh with the committee members as they had recently produced "Brassed Off" in the previous year. Once the audition piece was finished, it appeared that they had enjoyed it, and asked me to read something different, and so added into the bargain I did a bit of sight reading, which okay, I was rusty with as I hadn't done any in two years, and then a duologue, just to see how I worked with other cast members.

However, I knew that this felt right. I was finally making a step in the right direction. And to hear that the committee invited me back for a few of the read thru's as well, it proved that this was the inevitable. I had been putting off for eighteen months, what of course was meant to be.

The stage was indeed calling me.


Friday, 18 March 2011

An Introduction... To The Introduction.

Well this is me Paul Howells.

Doing the inevitable, in one of the most creative ways possible. For some time (years, even) I have written a lot personally, privately but very little publicly. So what else better to do, other than set up my own creative slice of blog with  a clean language of banta (well mostly), instalments of adventures, grumbles and anecdotes of everyday (well every other day) life to hopefully entertain you, the reader!!! Not only this but I may place a few reviews up on here to grab you by the short and curlies to help sway you in the right direction of seeing the perfect movie, or to have you listen to that All - Fantastic CD!

For those of you that don't know me, I'm a versatile trained actor of about 8 years (out of the 15 years I have been a budding thespian) and to have plugged away proffessionally like a desperate actor would since graduating, I am sad to say, to that I couldn't even compare. This of course has been down to the occasional obsticles that life / fate chooses to throw at you without warning. So, yes! It is obvious that things in life are indeed sent to try and test us. However throughout this I have done stints of extra / walk on work for North East  TV Productions such as "55 Degrees North" (Zenith North, BBC), "Wire in the Blood" (Coastal Productions) and "Byker Grove" (BBC) to name but a few. But in good sted to truly find my way creatively I went back to my theatrical roots back in 2008, and appeared in stage shows back home in Richmond, North Yorkshire at the world famous "Georgian Theatre".  One of the oldest, long standing existing theatres in England. With roles in  the drama "Brassed Off" in the summer of that year. By far and large a role that I connected with, and did myself proud. This to me landmarked a restoration in my creativity. 

Sheridans comedy "The Rivals" showed that I am both versatile and capable of performing comedy, as I hadn't previously divulged comic value on stage and finally John Godbers black comedy "Bouncers", and  it is with thanks as always that I will remain forever greatful for those very good friends and associates at  RADS (Richmond Amateur Dramatics Society). As not only did they help restore confidence in my acting ability, but also reignited my creativity and passion for a career I thought had been long gone from my life and am now long over due in persuing proffessionally.

So what lies ahead is the real work, the real chance at poking proffessionally at the theatrical pie and take a  slice of oppurtunity, and when potential success does happen. I'm hoping that you will share with me, the journey I will have embarked on. But until then, you will have to make do with the usual shanannigans that I'm very well known for.