For this instalment of “5 Questions”, we sat down with #Dr@cula cast member and 3rd year Musical Theatre student Elliott Wooster.
Now in his final year at Central, Elliott plays Tosh in the production. At Central, he has previously been seen as Lord Montague and Friar John in Romeo and Juliet, Jerome in Merrily We Roll Along, Sir Jaspar in The Country Wife, and as a Bell Boy in Grand Hotel.
Performed by BA (Hons) Acting Musical Theatre students working alongside students from the BA (Hons) Theatre Practice course, #Dr@cula was performed in Central’s Webber Douglas Studio from 15 – 18 November. Following this, it now transfers to the Curve Theatre in Leicester for a schools tour to form part of Central’s Outreach and Widening Participation work – as well as a special public performance on 23 November.
1.What is it like working on a public production at Central?
Working on a production at Central is amazing and great experience for working professionally. With this production it has been amazing to have a sound designer in the room throughout the rehearsal process creating a cinematic style underscoring on the spot, a video and a lighting designer creating original material for us to work with, and a production team who work ridiculously hard at their individual jobs to keep rehearsals flowing smoothly. We have been receiving constant voice and accent support from Annie Morrison and Louise Jones, Movement direction from Ingrid Mackinnon, direction from Rob Shaw Cameron, and with this production specifically sometimes overnight redrafts and complete character arc changes from the incredible Bryony Lavery. This production is the coming together of us students who have worked hard for 2 years and are now able to do what we came here to do, and that is to make some innovative and exciting theatre!
2.Tell us a bit about your character, Tosh.
Tosh was a character added for this production. He was developed from some improvisation work that we had done in the workshop stage of the play in the summer, partially from my improvisation playing one of my friends. It has been brilliant to see the character develop from draft one as his basic sketch of a stereotype, to the current draft where he is a fleshed-out character who just wants to be loved and to get the human connection that he isn't getting from his 'lad' mates, and the lengths that he will go to get that.
3.After its run in Central’s Webber Douglas Theatre, #Dr@cula is set to tour to the Curve Theatre in Leicester. Are you looking forward to this experience? Do you feel it will help to better prepare you for your professional career after graduation?
I would love to get into a touring cast post-graduation, as it’s a great way to see the country or even the world and get paid to do it. This will give us a taste of that and let us experience the inevitable pressures of restaging parts of the show to suit the setup in the venue, potentially reworking anything that didn't work well with audiences in the London production, and doing all of this with a very short timeframe. I am slightly anxious, but more than anything I am excited to be going!
4.Is there anything about this production that stands out for you as being especially unique?
As an actor, you have to understand the mind of something that was written decades or even centuries before you were even born, you have to get into the mind of people who have completely conflicting ideas to you. With this production we have had the chance to work with a Tony Award nominated writer who has taken aspects of our personalities and heightened them, and added a little extra drama.... and vampires, and given us this treat of a play to sink our teeth into (excuse the terrible pun). It's so cool to be playing a character that is a heightened version of myself, with an active input into the development of the character with the writer! This isn't something that you get to do a lot!
5.What advice would you offer to someone who was thinking of studying on the BA (Hons) Acting Musical Theatre Course?
If it's what you want, then go for it! But go for it with everything you have. The last two years have fortified my desire to work in this industry but the majority of my biggest moments of growth has come from the difficult moments. If you are going to pursue training at a drama school expect to take some bad with the good. One, you will appreciate the good so much more, and two, you will learn so much from your mistakes. If I had the chance to see myself three years ago, the only advice I would give myself is to not waste the first few weeks trying to avoid getting it wrong! You will love training at drama school, and you will make friends with the most amazing people.
Be sure to join us for our next instalment of 5 Questions, when we’ll be speaking with BA (Hons) Theatre Practice Lighting Design student – and the Lighting Designer for #Dr@cula– Beth Gupwell.
With this production we have had the chance to work with a Tony Award nominated writer who has taken aspects of our personalities and heightened them, and added a little extra drama.... and vampires