Earlier this year, Toby Murray played the role of Archie Long in the Netflix ice skating drama series Zero Chill across numerous episodes and worked with Team GB skaters and coaches in preparation for his character. Further screen experience for Toby has included playing Ollie in Millie Inbetween, Connor Christie in Casualty and Raphael Greaves in feature film Young Hunters: The Beast of Bevendean. In 2013, Toby booked his first regular role of Dylan in the CBBC series Dani’s Castle, joining the cast in Series 2, and he was a guest on Ultimate Brain alongside his fellow cast members Kieran Alleyne and Jordan Brown. Having started his career on stage, Toby was an original cast member of both The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole the Musical at Leicester Curve in the titled role of Adrian Mole and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical as Eric at Stratford-upon-Avon and the West End, and he is currently studying for a degree in Theatre and Performance. We spoke to Toby about playing Archie Long in Zero Chill, his time as Dylan in Dani’s Castle and being an original cast member of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical.
What is Archie Long like to play in Zero Chill and what was it like filming for the series?
Playing Archie was great fun as he was the prankster of the cast and working with the entire team was brilliant. I absolutely loved training to figure skate and getting to work with some of the Team GB skaters and coaches was incredible. I made some great friends and had some very memorable times in Sheffield!
How did it feel booking the role of Archie and how did you prepare for your first day on set?
It was very exciting getting to work with Lime Pictures and Netflix and playing the role of Archie. I continued my ice skating training leading up to my first day on set so by then I felt more confident on the ice.
Can you tell us about the show and your character?
Zero Chill is a teen ice skating drama that tells the story of a brother and sister that made the move to the UK from Canada to compete and train. Within the storyline you get to meet their friends, teammates and families all within the world of ice skating and ice hockey.
What was it like being in the cast of Millie Inbetween as Ollie and what were your episodes like to work on?
I loved playing Ollie and working with Millie (Innes) and the rest of the cast was brilliant. I had worked with Millie, Richard (Wisker) and some other members of the crew previously so it felt like family on set. The episodes were all so good to make. There was one where Millie and Ollie invented the ‘Freekend’ which was hilarious and had us in stitches most of the time!
Can you say about your character Connor Christie in Casualty and how was it on set?
It was incredible on the set of Casualty, it really feels like you’re in an actual A and E department, it’s all very realistic. When I played Connor Christie it was based in Cardiff and I got to work alongside Hannah Spearitt who played my mum. Connor was a vulnerable and troubled teenager and I enjoyed developing his character working with Sunetra Sarker, Jamie Davis and Charles Dale.
You played Dylan in Dani’s Castle, what are some of your favourite memories from your time in the cast?
I loved every minute of my time in Dani’s Castle. Every member of the cast and crew were brilliant and such fun to be around. I have special memories of working with every member of the cast. There was always lots of laughter on and off set and I will always cherish my time there with them all.
Do you remember how you felt booking this as your first regular role and working with CBBC?
It was the most exciting time, I was over the moon! When Mark, my agent, told me I finally had got the part I couldn’t quite believe it. Filming in a real castle in Ireland was so special and working with the CBBC team was just amazing.
How was it being a guest on Ultimate Brain?
It was so funny! I was on the panel with Kieran (Alleyne) and Jordan (Brown) so you can imagine it was very tricky not to laugh! We had to do lots of experiments. Can’t believe we actually won!
What was the experience like working on Young Hunters: The Beast of Bevendean?
It was my first feature film so was like one big adventure from beginning to end. We had a great time filming every day in the woods around Sussex. I loved working with Brenock (O’Connor) as we knew each other really well so it was even more fun monster hunting together!
You were cast as Adrian Mole in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole the Musical at Leicester Curve, how was this?
Incredible! Such a special time for me. I got to live in Leicester and made some amazing friends in the cast. The show was a total joy to be part of and meeting with the author Sue Townsend’s family was extra special. I had worked with the director Luke Sheppard previously on the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical and so it was fantastic to work with him again. Jake (Brunger) and Pippa (Cleary), the hugely talented creatives behind the show, were absolutely delightful to work alongside.
Can you remember what it was like reading the script and performing the songs for the first time as an original cast member?
It was pretty daunting at first as this show was based on such an iconic book and TV series. As soon as I started rehearsing with the amazing cast and crew, I felt comfortable very quickly and relaxed into the role of Adrian. Being exactly the same age as my character helped me recreate his awkward teenage moments!
How was it performing at the National Theatre as Emil in Emil and the Detectives?
To be cast as Emil in such a huge production was a total honour. Working at the National Theatre and performing on the Olivier Stage was awe-inspiring. The entire show was so beautifully set and the attention to detail from all of the creative departments was outstanding. I was very lucky to get to meet the Queen during the gala performance of the show and it is a moment I will never forget.
Do you have any stand-out highlights from being in the original cast of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical as Eric?
So many! Workshopping the show pre Stratford was some of the best times I’ve ever had. Working closely with Matthew (Warchus), Tim (Minchin) and Dennis (Kelly) to help create the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Matilda The Musical was incredibly special. When we finally got to open the show in Stratford-upon-Avon it felt like a dream had come true. The RSC as an organisation gave me such an insight into the industry. I loved every minute from swinging on the huge swings into the audience to dancing on desks. I made friends from the cast that will be lifelong. I was so happy to be cast as Eric and to then go on to be part of the West End original cast was just incredible.
What was it like being involved with the original cast recording?
We recorded the soundtrack after the Stratford run and just before we opened in the West End. It was the first time I had been in a recording studio and I loved every moment.
Is acting something you always wanted to do and how did you start?
I went to an open audition for Peter Pan at the Theatre Royal in Brighton when I was seven years old and unbelievably got the part of a lost boy. Well, from that moment on I knew that I absolutely loved performing. Before that I had always loved gymnastics and I think that helped with the stamina I needed on stage.
What are some of your favourite films, TV and theatre shows to watch?
I really enjoy watching crime dramas and thrillers on film and TV. I was hooked watching Line of Duty and enjoyed the Bodyguard series. I’ve seem some fantastic musicals and plays. Stand-out for me include the immersive production of The Jungle and, more recently, Ghost Story and, of course, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. I find musicals really uplifting and recently enjoyed Waitress and Hamilton. I’m looking forward to seeing Les Misérables and Dear Evan Hansen soon.
Do you have any plans for the upcoming year you can tell us about?
I’m currently studying a degree in Theatre and Performance which is giving me a broader understanding of the industry. I can’t wait to see what the future holds both on and off stage and screen. I thoroughly enjoy working for and in the creative industries and long may it continue.
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