Ellie Starlight Rehearsals

Interview with Kate Barton

This week we caught up with actress Kate Barton who is playing the title role of Ellie in Ellie & Starlight the Musical.

What inspired you to become an actor?

I grew up watching all the old Hollywood movies such as Carousel and Top Hat and initially I wanted to be an actor so I could work with Fred Astaire! As I got older I did regular youth theatre and realised that acting gave me a freedom and form of expression that was not always possible in real life.

Can you tell us a little about your training as an actor and what it involved? 

I trained as an actor at The Poor School in London. It was the only place that allowed you to work in the day and train every night and every weekend until public season. It was a two year course which was extremely rigorous and demanded a thick skin! The first year involved a huge number of classes in voice, text, movement and dance. I remember we had to do ‘animal studies’ (plenty of time spent at London Zoo!) and observational studies with hot seating. There were various modules including Shakespeare, poetry and Restoration theatre and we spent time doing short extracts from plays with different directors. The second year was a bit like ‘rep’. We worked on play after play in front of an invited audience before preparing for ‘public season’ in front of agents. It was exhausting but glorious!
As you know, we run an extensive Youth Company at Dramacube.  What advice would you give to any of of our young actors who are aspiring to get a place at Drama school? 
Read as many plays as you can (including classical plays) and go to see them! It can be very helpful to find a specialist to work on monologues, but it’s sometimes possible to audition without that input. Be prepared to audition many times and if you can wait, go back the next year and audition again! Drama schools have an unbelievable number of applicants and it’s important to remember that if you don’t get in. You have to keep trying! It’s worth going to do an accredited drama school, as the standards will be rigorously enforced.
Can you tell us about some of your recent projects? 
I recently worked on a play called Fast at the Edinburgh Fringe. I actually wrote the play but it was produced by a company called Digital Drama. I didn’t actually write it with the intention of taking a part, but I’m so glad that I did! It was a wonderful experience… exhausting, nerve-wracking, loud and competitive, but utterly worth every minute!

Playing Ellie will no doubt be a challenging role to take on.  How do you plan to tackle the part?

Ellie is a beautiful role and I am lucky that she has been thought out so carefully by the playwright Ken Mason. Like all roles, I look at the overall objectives for the character and then break down what they want (and how they’re going to get it!) for each moment of the play. I also think about what stops a character from getting what they want.
As Ellie is a fairly young character, I am spending time remembering my childhood (and my imaginary games) and chatting to children in the family who are about the same age!