Interview with Alumni, Alexander Evans
Guest blog created by our lovely Work300 student Kate Ryan for Creative New England.
Graduating and finding a career path is always on the minds of students! For alumni Alex Evans, his opportunity came rapidly, taking him on a whirlwind acting journey half-way through his studies. Alex has been involved in many amateur productions here around Armidale and has now found himself knee-deep in the professional world of acting and performance. I reached out to Alex to see if he could shed some light on his new-found career and, well, I’ll just let him tell the story…
What did you study at UNE?
When I came out of high school, my plans were a mess. I didn’t have any clear way forward and didn’t have any plans for what to do next. Luckily for me, I was reminded of an early entry place I’d earned at UNE to study Theatre. This allowed me to stay where I was already comfortably based, studying what I’d already found I loved to do and gave me the opportunities to advance my career.
What inspired you to study theatre?
My experiences in Armidale’s amateur theatre scene, and in my high school’s musical productions showed me just how much fun being on the stage can be. There came a point in high school when I realised I just couldn’t imagine myself doing anything else.
Tell us about your dream job?
Since finding my place in acting and theatre, I’ve always wanted to perform professionally. Late last year, after being informed about open auditions for Brainstorm Productions’ 2020 season, I resolved to be there and show them the best that I had. Amazingly, this opportunity came through, realising the start of my dream of becoming a professional actor.
What’s your experience balancing both work and theatre?
If I’m honest, it was difficult for me! I lived independently from before I even graduated high school, so a lot of my energy was spent working in order to support myself. With the guidance I received at UNE though, I learned to ensure that my studies and theatre practice never suffered just for a 9-5.
Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of acting?
One of my main creative outlets outside of the theatre is cooking. I love to cook, especially for others, and I think if I were anything other than an actor, I’d be a chef.
How have your goals and ambitions changed since receiving an acting career while pursuing your degree?
Honestly, they’ve only gotten greater. As every creative knows, the hardest part of creating is really believing that your audiences want to see what you’ve made, and to be cast professionally by such a great company has helped to show me that what I have to offer is worth it.
It’s shown me the heights that I can reach.
What was your first role as a professional actor?
The one that I’m in now is my first! I’ve found it to be an amazing learning experience, more than anything. Rehearsing felt less like practicing what I already know, and more like a whole new education on its own and performing is all the more sweeter when you get a paycheck for it every week. ☺️
What inspired you to pursue acting?
My rare trips to Sydney always allowed me a chance to see professional shows in the city, something that rarely toured to my regional hometown. Seeing these shows showed me what I now know I want to do for the rest of my life.
Who are three people you look up to?
I look up to a lot of people, both professionally and personally. I love the work of Adam Driver; the roles he plays are extremely variable and always so powerful, something I hope to achieve myself. I also look up to Nakkiah Lui for her powerful activism, and her stunning writing and performance. I was lucky enough to see her in person in Kill the Messenger in 2015. I know this will make four people, but last and certainly not least are my parents Jody and Michael. My dad is the smartest person I know. Luckily, I picked the one field of work he doesn’t do, and my mum owns and runs the best fruit and veg shop around (and always kept me well fed when I couldn’t quite afford to shop for myself).
You’re an amazing performer – can you tell us a little about your background?
Thank you! 😊 I’m very lucky to have grown up in Armidale, where theatre is always being made and where I could get massive amounts of both academic study and practical experience in school-based and amateur productions. From musicals to plays to radio-dramas to short films, I did it all in Armidale and at UNE.
How did UNE shape your career path? Is there anyone in particular who guided your decisions and impacted your ideals about acting?
My Theatre and Performance professor, Dr. Julie Shearer, was my main mentor and influence while studying at UNE. When I started to lose focus through my first year, she ensured I stayed with my studies, and when I earned my first professional opportunity, she gave me some much-needed advice for the first steps of my new career.
What would you say to aspiring future students that might also like to be involved in theatre or who don’t know where to begin in regard to acting and finding their path?
As theatre and in-person learning begins to reopen, opportunities to get involved and start or continue your learning and development as a theatre-maker will be everywhere. My best advice to anyone wanting to pursue this path is simply to get involved with any and all productions and experiences what you can.
With focus, determination, and hard work (along with some fun) finding your career path can be an exciting journey.
It certainly has been for Alex. Thanks, Alex, for taking part in this interview. It’s great to see how UNE, the community, and your early life experiences have helped shape your current career journey and ideals.