I loved drama school. I was a ‘mature’ student you see, and even though there were things I didn’t like about drama school, I found my bliss there after years of trying to find fulfilment in other careers. So, when the head of my course asked me what I really wanted in the future, the words that came out of my mouth shocked me, “a family” I said, “and to earn my living as an actor”. I got my wish, but the reality feels very different to the dream.
There’s a thing about being an actress that initially affects women more than men. While the men are affected in the long term, generally, they don’t stop working at any point in the lead up.
Having a baby.
So, this morning I somehow found myself on Radio 4’s Today programme, debating a government report with Jay Rayner, the Observer’s food critic. How I ended up in that situation, I’m not entirely sure, but I guess it had a lot to do with this blog, the podcast and the momentum both have been gathering
‘My Other Job’ started going out weekly via the The Stage on Wednesday 3rd February 2016. And it will continue to be a weekly feature on the site for as long as I can find actors who ware willing to be interviewed about their interesting ‘other’ jobs. Here’s the first one (and the second). Before the idea for it
Except when I’m not.
Over the years, since giving up on my salaried muggle job and leaving Belfast in 2009, I have filled the gaps between acting jobs (and plugged the gaping hole between acting earnings and London outgoings) by taking on paid employment of various kinds, with varying levels of financial compensation and, indeed, emotional toll.
19th December 2014
Dear Ms Elin-Salt,
Thank you for your recent expenses. I have done some calculations and your tax bill for the year 2013 – 2014 will be £**** (insert terrifying and ridiculous figure here) for the first instalment in January and a further £**** (ditto) for the second in July.
Despite this, have a very merry Christmas.
I first met Isaiah Johnson when I was teaching for NYU. Yup, in a former life, I worked ‘full-time’ as an ‘academic’ (inverted commas implying exactly what you think), and although facebook and twitter have kept me in touch with quite a few former students, there are only a handful with who I have become and remain friends. What I’m saying is, Isaiah is very easy to like; think John Hamm in last week’s Toast of London. When he was working over here a few years ago in the same theatre as my wife, she tells me everyone in the office had fallen in love with the guy. And I could quote a lot of reviews to back up my next statement: Isaiah can act. Oh yeah, and he can sing too. Like really sing.
They probably cover it at some institutions already, but one thing my three years at drama school didn’t teach me was the importance of a good resting job. Some might argue that such an idea is counter-intuitive – obviously you’re going to have a career that doesn’t necessitate anything but acting work. Or you’re going to quit within the first six months. But for 99.7% of those graduates that make a go of it, that isn’t the case.*