A college course U-turn has paid off for Sam Brown, who has earned the opportunity to showcase his acting talents to a panel of top industry professionals.
The University of Northampton Acting & Creative Practice student is just one of 20 soon-to-be graduates that are in the running for the coveted Spotlight Prize – an award which aims to find the best emerging acting talent in the UK and Ireland.
The experience will give Sam’s career prospects a huge boost, as he will have the chance to perform a live theatre piece to a panel of leading casting directors for TV and film. His performance tape will also be shared with industry professionals in the US, Ireland and UK.
But, while Sam’s all-set for a sparkling acting career, his life could have taken a completely different turn, had he not trusted his gut instinct a year after leaving school in his native Saltburn-by-the-Sea, North Yorkshire.
“I’d never had the chance to do any acting or drama because my school didn’t run those sort of lessons,” said the 22-year-old.
“I then went to college to study engineering, because it felt like the right thing to do – a solid, northern manly thing to do. But after a year I realised I had made a mistake and dropped out – and switched to Stockton Riverside College to study a BTEC in performing arts.”
Engineering’s loss was certainly the world of acting’s gain, as Sam thrived on the course, which ultimately led him to study Acting & Creative Practice at a higher level in Northampton.
Sam’s selection for the Spotlight Award is testament not only to his natural talent, but the exceptional education he’s received at the University.
He said: “I won’t lie, it’s been a hard three years. You have to be disciplined as you are often working 40+ hours a week, but you get out what you put in, and I feel I’m totally equipped and ready for working in the industry.”
The teaching staff at the University certainly feel Sam has a bright future in the industry, as they nominated him for the Spotlight Award, and his audition video for the competition caught the eyes of the judging panel.
“I’ve always found I’ve been adept at playing the hard, loud angry characters, and so for my audition video I chose something quite dark and evil – a monologue by Combo, the British Nationalist supporter in Shane Meadow’s This Is England film.
“With this monologue I wanted to show everyone what I could do, and I’m pleased the Spotlight judges liked what they saw.”
Post-graduation, Sam has his heart set on founding his own theatre company in Manchester, which he wants to combine with being a working actor – something his Spotlight Prize experience will no doubt help him with.