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.
You’ve recently made your professional stage debut in Confidence at Southwark Playhouse, how did the run go?
It’s gone well. It’s been a really fun experience, and it’s not as nerve-racking as I 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 90s. 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 and 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, so he’s doing that for a little bit to make some money. He sees this girl called Ella (played by Tanya Burr) and becomes infatuated with her, and that’s kind of the catalyst for him. In a way, it makes him grow into a man and he figures out what he wants to do. I think that’s the interesting part about the character – you see him grow and see the effect that she has on him.
I can 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.
The play opened in London in May, 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 though, 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 realising we had to knuckle down and make sure we didn’t mess anything up! I think it went ok, there were no major issues anyway, haha!
How has the audience response been to the show?
Ah it’s been good. It’s a show that’s got a very specific audience, it’s quite quirky and quite a weird show and I think a lot of people really like that. 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 got great actors, obviously a great writer and a 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 why I’m there, hopefully to entertain people and give them what they paid for. So yeah, it’s been good, it’s been a great response, generally.
What’s it like working at Southwark Playhouse and was this your first time performing there?
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 and watch a couple of shows there, it’s a great place.
Was there anything that stood out from the script that drew you to the role?
Yeah, 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. Mixing those two 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 where you read his character or you watch him, and you want to be his friend. He seems like a cool guy.
How was the auditioning process for 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 and very warm. I’d been used to auditioning for film and TV so I wasn’t 100% sure whether or not I should learn all the lines. 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. The writer was at the recall and it was cool to see the writer and to talk to her about it.
Do you have a dream stage role you’d like to perform in?
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, something like that. Or doing a tour, that would also be amazing.
Was there anything that encouraged you to have an acting career?
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 clicked that this is the thing I actually want to do for the rest of my life. It was crazy to think, yeah I can actually do this, and I can actually get paid for it. That’s the dream isn’t it, doing something that you love and getting paid for it.
What was your experience like attending The BRIT School and when did you start training?
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.
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. It’s a really great school.
What’s been your favourite stage show to watch?
The Flick – it was on at the National Theatre in 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. It was also very slow, they just let it kind of simmer, and it had 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, but 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. It was very captivating.
Would you like to do TV and film and have you had the chance to work on projects away from the stage?
100% yeah I would! I love theatre but I’ve always been a film buff. I’ve always loved film and 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, that’s always the dream. With doing Confidence though, I would love to carry on doing as much theatre as possible as well.
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 called 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!
How much do you remember from your first ever 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 and 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 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 they’re judging me… I have definitely got better since then, hahahaha!
Do you have a technique for learning lines?
Yes, I’ve got an app called LineLearner. Someone recommended it to me a couple of years ago and 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. There’s a little plug, I’m not sponsored or anything though, haha!
Now you have finished your run in Confidence, do you have any upcoming acting plans you can tell us about?
Just knuckle down, keep moving forward, keep auditioning, and get as many roles under my belt this year as I can in 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 the next. I’m just hungry for more and more right now.
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