Adam Gardiner is currently treading the boards as the title role in The Tiger Who Came to Tea for Nicholl Entertainment. Whilst on his very exciting tour of China and the UAE, we asked Adam to give us a little insight into how his career began and how his travels have been going.
Adam Gardiner Interview
It’s incredibly difficult to choose just one, but my favourite venue so far has been the Tianqiao theatre in Beijing. Everything from the comfortable dressing rooms to the beautiful auditorium was so humbling. The fact that we played four shows there to near enough full houses was a bonus!
Most enjoyable part of the tour?The most enjoyable part of this tour has to have been the places that I’ve seen. Waking up almost every morning in a new place on the other side of the world is such a joy-inducing and liberating feeling.
Why did you become an actor?
It’s actually quite a funny story. The reason that I became an actor advocates one the most powerful forces known to mankind: a Mother’s nagging! Growing up I was a somewhat ‘energetic’ child and I think she wanted that energy channelled into something, and she had a hunch that the most suitable thing would be acting. It took a good few years to finally bring me round, but, at age 10, I joined a local weekend performing arts school.It didn’t take me long to realise that this was something I enjoyed an indecent amount.So, here’s to you, Mum. It turns out you do know best!
Best piece of advice for anyone aspiring to be an actor?Whilst I’m not entirely sure how much my advice counts for, I would have to say just diving in. The place that you learn the most is out on stage, or in front of a camera, or in front of a microphone. So if you have absolutely no experience and aren’t entirely sure how to get started, I would say go out and join a local amateur dramatics group or, like I did, a performing arts school or evening class. I’ve found that before you head out in pursuit of a career in this industry, you have to catch the bug for it. But don’t worry, if it’s for you, it won’t take long. It’s the most contagious bug I know.
How did you get the job?The process began with an email from my lovely agent letting me know that I had an audition for the role (always a very exciting moment). They laid out for me everything about the role and what I’d have to do at the audition. This included some script work and preparing two musical theatre songs.I attended, and the audition went relatively well from my point of view, although I always try not to analyse how it went too much.I had a phone call later the same day to say I’d been invited to attend a recall audition a week or two later.The recall was a four hour workshop audition and I had an absolute blast. I met the team behind the show and my fellow auditionees couldn’t have been nicer.It was then the usual agonising wait to hear what the outcome would be. There I was, sat at my call centre job, on the fourth coffee of the day, straining my eyes to look at the computer screen, and I received a phone call from my agent. I’d put the audition out of my mind (as is usually the healthiest way to deal with the auditioning process) so genuinely didn’t know what it was about.I had to wait a good 5 minutes until my break so I could call them back as well, to add to the suspense. When I finally got to speak to them, they told me I had the role!
Best part of working internationally?
For me, it’s the bond that you build with the rest of the cast. It feels different to touring in the UK as you aren’t able to go home at the end of the day.Everybody’s in the same boat, so if somebody’s down, or missing home, then everybody else understands and are able to help. It’s really lovely to experience both the highs and the lows of international touring with such a lovely bunch of people.As a side not to this, I also refer you back to my answer about the places and venues that you see!
Very hard to choose just one!We had quite a few experiences of being asked for photos with the locals, or receiving excellent service from waiters and waitresses who were very excited to have western visitors in their restaurant. This was often a source of comedy, especially when one my my cast mates ended up behind the counter with the rest of the staff, attempting very valiantly to order food on behalf of six people, none of whom spoke the language!
What’s in your suitcase?
This has evolved over the course of the tour.When I left for China, I took an industrially sized case absolutely packed full with every little thing that I could possibly think of that I might need, a lot of which were totally unnecessary. For example, I took a six pack of bars of soap. No idea why. Took up loads of room and added a lot of weight!We came back for a week between China and the UAE, so, with my newfound experience, I downsized considerably. So now its just the essentials. Clothes, a few simple medicines, toiletries, entertainment (iPad, e-reader etc…) and a few more things.Basically, my top tip would be, you don’t need to take nearly as much as you think you do when going away for a month.
How do you unwind on tour?
There are a few ways that I try to relax after a long day. After doing two and sometimes three show days, it’s an absolute godsend to be able to come back to your hotel room and whack on a series that you’ve downloaded on your iPad and just binge watch all evening.I also really like putting some music on (just instrumentals) and reading for an hour or so at a time. If the hotel has a swimming pool, then I like to go and do a few lengths as well.
What’s it like doing children’s theatre?I absolutely love it. I’ve never seen any audience engage so much with what’s going on on stage. The children are either up on their feet getting involved, or sat down quietly with their eyes glued to the stage.You simply can’t simulate the monumental response you get from them in a rehearsal room. The first time I walked out at the Shanghai Children’s Arts Theatre and felt the reaction will be a moment I will always remember.
Did you find there was a language barrier?
In China, absolutely. I often feel incredibly lazy when I go to a country and I can’t speak their language to at least a simple level, which is a shame. Luckily, however, Google translate came to the rescue on more than one occasion.Also, in restaurants there were often pictures of the food, so if all else failed, I was able to point!
After doing two and sometimes three show days, it’s an absolute godsend to be able to come back to your hotel room and whack on a series that you’ve downloaded on your iPad and just binge watch all evening.I also really like putting some music on (just instrumentals) and reading for an hour or so at a time. If the hotel has a swimming pool, then I like to go and do a few lengths as well.
What’s it like doing children’s theatre?
I absolutely love it. I’ve never seen any audience engage so much with what’s going on on stage. The children are either up on their feet getting involved, or sat down quietly with their eyes glued to the stage.You simply can’t simulate the monumental response you get from them in a rehearsal room. The first time I walked out at the Shanghai Children’s Arts Theatre and felt the reaction will be a moment I will always remember.