📷 : Ben Wilkin
Having attended The BRIT School for two years, a couple of months ago Will Pattle made his professional stage debut in the revival production of Confidence as Dean at London’s Southwark Playhouse. In the ’90s based show, Will’s character had his sights set on Ella, played by Tanya Burr, which often saw him perform in front of a sold out crowd. Sitting down to chat with us, Will tells us about his professional debut, auditioning for Confidence and his dream stage role.
When did you decide you wanted to become an actor?
When I was very young acting was always in the back of my mind as kind of a hobby that I’ve always enjoyed, as far back as I can remember I’ve always loved watching films and going to the theatre. From a young age I’ve been doing acting workshops and acting classes. At one point it kind of clicked that this is the thing I actually want to do for the rest of my life. It was crazy to think like, yeah I can actually do this, and I can actually get paid for it. That’s kind of the dream isn’t it, doing something that you love and getting paid for it.
Would you like to do TV and film?
100% yeah I would! I love theatre but I’ve always been a film buff, I’ve always loved film, I’ve got an Odeon Limitless card so I’m a bit of a film nerd, hahaha I go to see a film whenever I can really. I would love to be in some big films with some of my favourite directors, you know that’s always the dream isn’t it. With doing Confidence though I would love to carry on doing as much theatre as possible as well.
What would your dream stage role be?
Mmmm Shakespeare, any role from any of his plays really, I think it would be so cool, something for the RSC or at The Globe, you know something like that, doing a tour or something as well, that would be amazing.
When did you join The BRIT School and how long were you there?
I was there for two years and left a year ago, so started three years ago, yeah hahahaha that’s how maths works! I was at the London Oratory School before that, then I went there for sixth form and it was a great experience, a really great school.
What was the experience like?
The experience was really good, the school doesn’t mould you into one thing or force you to work hard but it gives you all the tools, so if you are ready and if you are willing to work with what you’re given then you have got access to whatever you need. For example, at the end of my last year, about twenty of us managed to do a showcase which lots of agents and casting directors were invited to, so if you work hard enough and you manage to get into that showcase then you have a lot of exposure, and that’s really cool. I signed with my agent from that which is obviously a massive help, so yeah I definitely recommend it.
Have you had the chance to perform in anything other than stage?
Yes, I’ve done a few things, I’ve done an advert, a music video, I’ve been involved in a couple of short films, and had a small role in a new film, Two For Joy. It’s been fun to get an experience in front of a camera and know how that works, but it’s completely different to theatre obviously!
What’s been your favourite stage show you have watched?
The Flick, it was on at the National Theatre, the Dorfman a couple of years ago. I just remember it was so naturalistic, it was quite bleak, quite depressing but also quite funny, and I love that kind of mixture of comedy and darkness, and very slow, they just let it kind of simmer, some of the longest pauses I’ve ever seen in theatre. It was all set in a cinema and there was a point where they literally took the film up to the top, there was actually a little projection booth, you couldn’t hear them, they literally went up to this little projection booth and were just putting the film in for a good minute, I just really liked it, I was like, ah this is cool, this is like real life, and yeah very captivating.
What can you remember from your first audition?
I can’t particularly remember my first ever audition but I can remember my first one or two, completely different to what it is now. I was really nervous, it wasn’t a nice experience, it was almost like I would go in and want it to be done rather than show myself off. It was all new to me and it was all scary and I didn’t really know what I was doing, there are certain techniques for auditions that you kind of need to know. I think the main thing is to know that the casting director is on your side, they want you to do good because they want to get the perfect person for that role, so they want you to be perfect for that role. I think when I first went for auditions I was like, ah you know they’re judging me, I have definitely got better since then hahahaha!
How was the auditioning process for the play Confidence?
It was good, the director Rob is a lovely guy, he was in both of the auditions, I had a first audition with him and the producer Roxanne, they were both very lovely, very warm. I’d been used to auditioning for film and TV so I kind of wasn’t 100% sure whether or not I should learn all the lines or not, generally you can just read the lines as long as you’re not staring at it, but just to be on the safe side I learnt it, everything, it was much more relaxed than I thought it was going to be, we sat down at the table for the first one and had a little read through. The luxury of theatre auditions, I don’t know about every theatre audition but this one anyway, is that in film you’re kind of churned in and out in five or ten minutes max, but this was about half an hour, having a good chat about it, reading through a couple of scenes, which I think really helped them to get to see me in the best light which was nice. At the recall the writer was there and it was cool to see the writer and to talk to her about it.
📷 : Helen Murray
Was this your first time on stage at Southwark Playhouse and how have you found it?
Yes it was. I’ve been to the Southwark Playhouse to watch things a couple of times and I really like it there, it’s a lovely theatre, I like Elephant and Castle as well it’s a nice area. It’s been cool, it’s been really fun, everyone there is very warm, all of the staff and front of house team are really cool. I would definitely recommend to go watch a couple shows there, it’s a great place.
How has your professional stage debut gone?
It’s gone well, it’s been a really fun experience, it’s not as nerve-racking as I would have thought it would be. We had a month of rehearsals so I did feel like I knew the character in and out, I was a little bit nervous obviously but I was never too bad, I felt like I could actually just relax into it and just enjoy the fact that I’m being able to show off this character that I’d worked on for a month in front of people. The cast are all lovely, we all get on really well, so that’s been nice too.
Can you tell us about your character Dean?
Yes, Dean is sixteen and he is from Brighton. The show is all set in Brighton in the nineties, he doesn’t really know what he wants to do, he’s at that age where he’s not at school, he’s kind of just floating, he hasn’t fully become a man yet, so he hasn’t really knuckled down or thought about what he wants to do in his life. His brother runs the pier and he’s got him a job working in an ice cream kiosk, he’s doing that for a little bit to make some money, he sees this girl Ella and becomes infatuated with her, who’s played by Tanya Burr, and that’s kind of the catalyst for him. In a way it makes him grow into a man, he figures out what he wants to do, I think that’s the interesting part about the character anyway, you kind of see him grow and see the effect that she has on him. I can kind of spoil it now because it’s ended, she ends up playing everyone and she ends up crushing him, he was kind of in love with her but she never really reciprocated it and ended up messing around with his brother and everybody under the sun hahaha! Towards the end he’s very heartbroken, I think there’s a moment for him where he’s like, cool, now I can get on with my life and start moving on.
How did you find the opening night?
I guess that was the most scary of all the nights but again it wasn’t too bad, I managed to go on and do what I wanted to do. The previews were a little bit funky haha, on the dress run there were a couple of technical things that went a little bit wrong. We only had two previews so the press night was after only performing it twice in this space, so that added an extra level of like, oh ok I’ve got to kind of knuckle down and make sure we don’t mess anything up! I think it went ok, there were no major issues anyway haha!
Was there anything that stood out from the script which drew you to the part?
Yeah, similarly to the play that I said I really liked, The Flick, Confidence is kind of comedic but quite bleak as well. I think for me, my favourite type of comedy is where it comes from somewhere a little bit dark, I don’t know, mixing those two kind of shades together really works for me. I thought it was a very enjoyable script and I had a fun time reading it, you can always know by how quickly I’m getting through a script whether or not I like it. The character Dean really stood out to me as well, he’s funny, he’s very relatable, he’s very likeable, and I think that’s what drew me to him, he’s one of those guys, you read his character or you’ve watched him, and you’re like, I want to be his friend, he seems like a cool guy.
What’s the response been like to the show?
Ah it’s been good. It’s a show that’s got a very specific audience, it’s quite quirky, it’s quite a weird show, I think a lot of people really like that, and it’s light and funny in some ways, but then it kind of twists and gets a bit dark in other ways. There’s been a lot of great creatives working on it, the set’s amazing, we’ve got great music, we’ve great actors, obviously a great writer and great director, so I think a lot of people have really enjoyed it. I’ve had quite a lot of messages on Instagram from people who have come to see it saying how much they enjoyed it, which is always nice to hear, it always puts a smile on my face because that’s kind of why I’m there, hopefully to entertain people, give them what they paid for. So yeah it’s been good, it’s been a great response, generally.
Do you have a technique for learning lines?
Yes I’ve got an app, LineLearner, someone recommended it to me a couple of years ago, it’s really useful. You can record the whole script or if it’s just an audition, the whole page, your lines and the other person’s lines, you can either choose to play it back to you as the whole thing or you can mute your part and only hear the rest. If you don’t have the app, then the best way I would say is to do it with someone else, but that takes up a lot of their time, and you need someone to be free, so if you don’t have that then get the app LineLearner, hahaha a little plug, I’m not sponsored or anything though haha!
Do you have other stage shows you’ll be performing in this year?
Nothing yet, but hopefully.
What are your plans now Confidence has ended?
Just knuckle down, keep moving forward, keep auditioning, get as many roles under my belt this year as I can, film, TV and theatre. I would like to carry on doing as much theatre as possible, I think theatre is a great help with developing your skills as an actor. I would love to do Shakespeare, work at the National, do something for Netflix or a cool indie film, so hopefully those things are all going to start coming into light even more so the end of this year or the start of next. I’m just hungry for more and more right now.
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