Amherstburg native hits the U.K. stage

 

 

By Ron Giofu

 

An Amherstburg native has been fulfilling his theatre goals in the United Kingdom, including a recent performance at the Globe Theatre in London, England.

Ryan Wilson has been with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland since September. Wilson said he doing a one-year Masters in Classical & Contemporary Text (Acting).

“It’s always been a dream of mine to be trained at a U.K. Theatre school so last year I applied to a bunch of them,” said Wilson. “I thought the Royal Conservatoire’s program was the best available so when I was accepted I was ecstatic and I’ve loved every minute that I’ve been here. It’s a world-class school as it was just ranked sixth in the world for performance arts schools and I believe my classmates are a perfect example of that ranking. They’re truly amazing actors and I feel honoured to be able to work with them everyday.

Wilson and the rest of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland performed “Troilus and Cressida” and it was an experience he soon will not forget. Even the feeling of stepping onto the prestigious stage will stay with him.

“It may sound cheesy but words really can’t describe how it felt to even be on the Globe stage let alone perform on it. I’ll always have the image in my head of when our director took us back stage in the tiring house and we were able to walk on stage for the first time. It was nothing short of amazing looking out into the theatre as it rained which made it all the more authentic,” said Wilson. “It was definitely one of those ‘We’re not in Kansas anymore’ moments.”

Wilson said they were at the Globe for a month long residency, which was a big factor in why he chose this program over others.

Ryan Wilson of Amherstburg is currently studying with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Ryan Wilson of Amherstburg is currently studying with the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. (Special to the RTT)

“The training we received was phenomenal. The Globe educators are brilliant in all things Shakespeare,” he said. “We trained long hours everyday in order to give the best performance we could on that stage. It’s much different than any other stage as not only is it outside but you’re in the round as well so you have to play and be heard to everyone around you. That means we focused a lot on movement and voice to prepare for our performance. I think one of the best way to describe it is how a lot of our teachers did as they said, ‘You can hear Mark Rylance whisper on this stage,’ which is something that all of us tried to work towards.”

Performing “Troilus and Cressida” was something that many weren’t overly excited about at first, Wilson admitted, as “it’s been widely known as one of Shakespeare’s flops.” Wilson said they definitely learned to love it though as they chose that play due to the fact that it was really good to learn from.

“I never thought I could learn so much from the text of Shakespeare until I was educated at the Globe, I always knew Shakespeare was brilliant but I never knew the full extent of that until this,” he said. “The show was great, even the signing and Highland Dancing which I was very nervous for and I was lucky enough to have my two best mates there from Amherstburg, which made it even more special.”

Wilson said he is still relatively new to theatre, as his first play was a little over a year and a half ago in Toronto.

“I never did theatre in school growing up, which is why I think I shocked a lot of my friends and family when they found out this is what I was pursuing as a career. It’s weird how something can become such a big and integral part of your life in such a short amount of time as now I couldn’t imagine not having theatre in my life,” he said.

Rehearsal times depend on what they are working on, said Wilson, noting while at the Globe they were rehearsing or in classes for at least eight hours a day and then actors go home and work on the text or their character. Now that he is back in Glasgow, Wilson has started rehearsals for “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” where he will play Lysander.

“I’ve been working on the text of that since I got back from London on my own, making sure I’m off book and prepared for when rehearsals start on Monday which I’m very excited for,” he said. “Directly after Midsummer Night’s Dream, I head to New York for a showcase which is another big part of the year for me. Those scenes I’ll start rehearsing next week as well so it’s a very busy next couple of months”

Wilson has also done a couple of films here with the school which he said was a lot to take on as both times he did it, he was also working on other projects.

“I’ve found it can get a little overwhelming taking on multiple roles at time. I’m in talks to do another film this year which is something I’ll definitely think about doing purely because the writer/script is amazing,” he continued, “but the focus now is on A Midsummer Night’s Dream and my performance in New York.”

Wilson is still in school, and graduates in September. His goals are to be able to act everyday for a living in meaningful theatre and film.

“I believe I’m at a point now where that’s a realistic goal. I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a goal of mine to be back on the Globe stage,” said Wilson. “This is a very tough industry, definitely not easy trying to make a living from acting which I’ve discovered first hand over the last almost four years now. I have a mentor here who’s a phenomenal young actor whom I look up to very much, not only because I think he’s extremely talented but I admire his career path. He went to the Royal Conservatoire as well, after graduating he started in theatre and then transitioned into film. In my opinion theatre is the best way to become a better actor and it’s something I look to continue after graduating.”

Film has always been something Wilson has been passionate about, stating he has always wanted to be an actor. That said, he went to the University of Windsor where he obtained a business degree but after that, moved to Vancouver to pursue a career in acting.

“It’s near impossible to get cast in anything with no experience and a business degree so I had to find other ways to break into the industry,” he said. “I started volunteering with a theatre company in Vancouver which is where I fell in love with theatre. At the same time I began taking screen acting classes and being a film extra. All of these things kind of formed the path I wanted to take as I was certain now that I wanted to be an actor in theatre and film.”

The way Wilson said he wanted to train to be an actor was through theatre.

“I then moved to Toronto where I got an agent and started auditioning again while continuing to train through theatre. During this time my experience of trying to make a career out of acting was gruelling. I would usually have at least two jobs, sometimes three, which were always bartending or waiting tables at night so I could audition during the day,” said Wilson. “It became really hard when I would get cast in a community theatre play and had to fit work around this as well.”

Wilson said he has been lucky enough to have amazing family and friends that have supported him throughout it all.

“I wouldn’t be here at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland without my parents or even acting for that sake. They’ve been beyond supportive throughout this whole process and I can’t thank them enough for helping me pursue this career and help trying to turn my dreams into a reality,” said Wilson. “It’s still a very long and uncertain road ahead but I look forward to the challenge. I know I’m up for the task, after all I come from the best town in the world and I definitely take pride in that.”

 

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