Interview with Tom Stephens

This week we caught up with Dramacube actor Tom Stephens who has been nominated at this years Richmond Arts Swan Awards.

Tom congratulations on receiving your nomination for the Richmond Arts Swan Awards in the category of Best Boy Performer aged 14 and under.

Which show were you nominated for and which role did you play?

I am delighted to have been nominated for my performance in Peter Pan Jr as the dastardly Captain Hook.

Being nominated for Best Boy Performer is a huge achievement. Can you explain how you prepared for the role and what you did to create your character?

First I learnt my lines solidly enough so I could then work on understanding my character and how I wanted to portray him. In the build up to the shows I watched some clips on YouTube to see how Captain Hook was portrayed in the various films and I could see what was good about it and what I might do differently.

Playing a principle role often requires lots of line learning. What techniques did you use to learn your lines and can you offer any top tips?

My mum was helpful to both me and my sister. My sister was Smee so that was also a great help as we could rehearse together because most of our lines involved one another. When it comes to learning lines I have a simple but effective technique I used to use when learning spelling. I read it through with someone else, looking at the script until I am confident enough to do without the script but with prompting. Once I have absolutely nailed that I can just run through the scenes with my sister or mum. Although my technique is perfect for me, it may not be for others so try and find one that enables you to learn them quickly and efficiently.

Did you have many songs to learn in the show and which was your favourite?

As Captain Hook was a leading character there were lots of songs with solos for me to learn, my favourites were Never Smile At A Crocodile and Walk The Plank. In addition to the solos we all had to learn all the other songs even if we were offstage at the time. Singing offstage is one of my favourite parts of the show because you can have a laugh with some mates; my favourite two songs in the whole show were Walk The Plank and Hana Mana Ganda.

What did you enjoy most about the rehearsal process?

Because you have so many rehearsals you can make loads of friends and just hang out. Of course you also have to do scenes and songs but it was great to have some downtime in breaks to muck around or play football. For me, the best part of the rehearsal process was the Dress Rehearsal at the end when we saw it all come together and everyone was hyped up for the shows.

What did you enjoy most about performing at Hampton Hill Theatre?

The set is always amazing at Hampton Hill theatre which really adds to the show like it did in Fame when we also had an amazing set constructed in a week. Peter Pan’s set was also amazing; the bedroom/hull of the ship and the ship itself were the notably ingenious constructions. Backstage the atmosphere was always electric at the start of the show but once the show starts, backstage is a frantic frenzy of people running about and shouting: “Move out the way!” and “I’m on the wrong side!” Also, at the end of the whole production, it’s always sad to say goodbye but amazing that you’ve finally finished.

We done again for receiving your nomination and we wish you the very best of luck at the Swan Awards ceremony.