THE JOB CENTRE – LOTTE RICE

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Age: 26

Occupation: Actor

Did you always know you wanted to perform? Not really. The seed was planted in my early teens and the dream grew over the years with each new experience. It really picked up in sixth form when I was acting a lot more.

Did you go to drama school? Yep, RADA, shortly after finishing my A Levels.

What was the application process like? I had initially, quite apathetically, applied to university during ‘UCAS Mania’ in our A level year. It seemed like the right thing to do. It’s what everyone else was doing. Problem was, I didn’t really know what I wanted to study. I was interested in many things and my A levels were varied, but the only thing that I knew I wanted to do was act. So, when I randomly met Alan Rickman (long story), he said that if what I wanted to do was act, then I had better get on with it. I then spilt a glass of champagne on his really nice velvet jacket – oops – but went on to apply to loads of drama schools, got shit loads of rejections, kept going and luckily got into RADA. I know lots of people who spent years applying, and honestly – the amount of rejections you get has ABSOLUTELY NO CORRELATION to talent or ultimate success – they are absolutely ballin’ now.

What was your first job out of drama school? ‘The Way Of The World’ by Congreve at Chichester Festival Theatre. I was working with a huge cast, filled with seasoned actors, who had spent large swathes of their careers with the RSC and The National, or on television- a lot of them took me under their wing and showed me the ropes.

How important is it to get an agent? Depends. You can have an agent who does absolutely nothing for you and sometimes it is better to be without so that you be your own full time boss, generate some hype around yourself, and find success alone. Eventually though, if you want to work with the big dogs, you’ll need one. But you can work for yourself in the meantime.

What’s the best way of going about landing one? I personally believe you are wasting your time cold-calling agents. You are one of maaaany people trying to find one, or find a new one. It’s better to spend your time and energy contacting casting directors and directors, getting yourself a job, and then having something to exhibit yourself with. It’s always better to put yourself in a position where they can come to see you in something.

How do you go about finding auditions if you don’t have an agent? There is a website called Casting Call Pro, which many people use. Also, writing directly to casting directors and directors helps.

What’s the most recent play you’ve been in? I was in a Fringe play called ‘Love to Love to Love You’ at the Vaults Festival and Edinburgh Festival- it was a new adaptation of ‘Le Ronde’ by Schnitzler.

Is working on the Fringe fun? It’s very exciting, but not for the feint-hearted as the hours are as dodgy as the pay and you will probably have to hustle your audiences. It’s worth doing if you believe in the work, though. Plus, like all tricky things, it’s ‘character building’.

Do you find that surrounding yourself with actor friends helps? Yes. Especially those who I went to drama school with. It’s not unusual to say that drama school can be quite a traumatic experience, so when I graduated, I did sometimes find it hard hanging out with old friends who had no idea what I had been through. Actors know your struggle! And it can be a struggle. They’re also a lot of fun!

What would be your dream role? There are so many. At the moment I am doing lots of singing and would love to be in a play that involves singing too, although not necessarily a musical. I also love snazzy costumes, so would love to do some classy period dramas on TV. 

Are you working on anything at the moment? Yes, I am currently doing some voice overs, shooting a music video and developing a piece of new writing with a theatre company called PaperCut. We are planning to take it to The Vaults festival, Latitude and Edinburgh. Then, depending on how that goes, onwards and upwards! 

Do you work between acting jobs? YES! There is no shame in this. Even when I’ve had lots of money in the bank from big acting jobs, I’ve had to work, because too much time alone with no structure can play havoc on your headspace. Acting is, fundamentally, the worst industry for any sort of stability or structure. I know that some people are ok with that, but most of us need things to hold onto and keep us going- not only financially, but also mentally.

How do you keep your head up after a rejection? Believe in yourself! And move on. Bounce right back and keep smiling. Beat any disappointment or resentment out of you. It’s poisonous.

If you could do anything other than what you do now, what would it be? I’d be a doctor!

And finally, what one piece of practical career advice would you give to your younger self? 

Definitely to always believe and have hope. I used to freak out after I finished a job or if I hadn’t had an audition in a while. Keep cool, believe, have hope, keep smiling, be clear about what you want and then take steps towards getting it.

It’s not easy, but it’s simple.

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Oozing with talent and charisma. A very good friend of mine and an unbelievable party companion.

So. Much. Sass.

Any questions for her? Let me know and I’ll pass them on.

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