Interview with television and theatre actor Ian Hallard #theatre #Hogarthsprogress

We are very grateful to Ian Hallard for taking time out of his busy rehearsal schedule for this very informative Q and A. Ian will be appearing in the world premiere of Hogarths Progress at The Rose Theatre Kingston this September.

1. What inspired you to be an actor?

I don’t there was any one single thing that inspired me. I didn’t see a specific play or film that made me think: I have to do that! School plays, dressing up, that buzz of being on stage and communicating a story to an audience. I wasn’t a particularly extrovert child so maybe immersing myself into a character that wasn’t me had some kind of appeal.

2. What would you say to a school pupil that wants to be an actor?

It’s hard. And I think it’s even tougher now than when I started twenty years ago. Make sure you want to do it because you love acting not because you want to be famous. Be prepared for rejection. I’ve seen brilliant actors walk away from the business because they just haven’t had the lucky breaks, which is completely understandable. Something like 92% of actors are out of work at any one time. BUT having said all that, if you really want to do it, it is the most amazing job. Go for it. They say the only things you regret are the things you never did.

3. Do you prefer television, film or live theatre?

I enjoy them all, but theatre is probably the most satisfying because you are the one in ultimate control of what your audience sees. And with theatre, you get to rehearse thoroughly and experiment in a way that filming schedules usually don’t permit.

4. Have you performed at the Rose before?

I haven’t so I’m looking forward to it. I’ve seen several shows there over the years – most recently Much Ado About Nothing this Spring. It’s a beautiful theatre and a really exciting space. We’re still rehearsing in Central London at the moment so it’ll be fun to get down there.

5. Is it easier performing in a musical such as Joseph or a play?

They both have their own challenges. Plays tend to be physically less demanding on the whole, but it depends on the role. Doing The Boys in the Band a couple of years ago was hard work because my character was on stage the whole time. Plus we did two shows on Saturdays and Sundays, so I was exhausted by the time we had a day off on the following Monday. The schedule for Joseph was even crazier though: two shows every day with three shows on Saturdays. I’ve never been so physically fit. I was in my twenties then. I’m sure I couldn’t do that now!

Thankfully, Hogarth’s Progress is less arduous than that. My character in The Taste of the Town, Horace Walpole, suffers with gout and has to sit down a lot, so that makes life much easier!

6. How do you know when you are successful?

You tell me! Financial rewards? Fame and celebrity? Or ‘just’ being a jobbing actor? It’s all down to the individual, I suppose, and what their aims are. It’s good to be ambitious but there’s a balance, and in a profession where so many decisions are out of our hands, actors have to be mindful that obsessing over how successful or otherwise they are can really affect their mental health. Personally speaking, if I’m playing roles I enjoy in work that I’m proud of, then that’s good enough for me.

7. If you have free time then what are your top 5 things to do in London?

  • Taking our dogs for a walk on Hampstead Heath (they’re Labradors so they love swimming in the dog pond).
  • Going to the theatre, naturally: from big West End shows like Everybody’s Talking about Jamie to smaller fringe venues like the Hope Theatre in Islington or Above the Stag in Vauxhall which programmes LGBT work.
  • Dinner out. There’s a lovely French restaurant near us in Islington called La Petite Auberge which does a marvellous Sunday lunch.
  • Visiting the wonderful museums we’re lucky to have here. The British Museum and the National Portrait Gallery are both favourites.
  • Entertaining friends for dinner, board games or the annual Eurovision party!