Great Expectations for young Woking actor

A YOUNG Woking man is hoping to launch his professional acting career after landing roles in three plays on the London stage.

Joseph Payne is in the National Youth Theatre REP season at the Criterion Theatre in the West End and the Southwark Playhouse. NYT is the UK’s leading youth arts organisation, whose alumni include Dame Helen Mirren, Daniel Craig, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Matt Smith and Zawe Ashton.

Joseph Payne as a young Pip in Great Expectations

The NYT REP season was introduced seven years ago by the group’s artistic director Paul Roseby and past performers include Seraphina Beh (EastEnders, Top Boy), Sope Dirisu (Humans and Gangs of New York) and Alice Vilanculo, who won a Stage Edinburgh Award this year for her performance in E8.

Joseph, who lives in Horsell, is currently playing Pip, from a boy to adulthood, in Great Expectations at the Southwark Playhouse and towards the end of that run will appear in Frankenstein in the same theatre.

From 6 December, Joseph, 25, will move to the Criterion Theatre for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which will run until 17 January next year.

He was born in Woking and played trumpet in bands with his two older brothers and performed in plays at Woking High School, where he was head boy, at Woking College and with Stageworks.

“I’ve wanted to be an actor since I was about 18,” Joseph said. “But I wasn’t sure how to go about it.” Joseph said.

He auditioned for the NYT summer course the following year and has been a member of the organisation for several years. The top age for the group is 25 and Joseph decided to audition for the REP season this year.

“There are four rounds of auditions – you have to prepare four monologues – and the final audition is in a theatre with the other auditionees.”

He said the experience of acting in REP is “a huge challenge, but very exciting and so much fun.”

REP was a key part of development for young professional actors in the past, with multiple roles in overlapping plays, requiring enormous concentration and energy.

Joseph hopes that agents and casting directors will be among the audiences seeing him perform in the three plays.

Joseph Payne is appearing at the Southwark Playhouse in Great Expectations until 28 November and Frankenstein from 25 October to 30 November and at the Criterion Theatre in A Midsummer Night’s Dream from 6 December to 17 January.  For more information, see www.nyt.org.uk.

For the full story get the 7 November edition of the News & Mail

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