This Throwback Thursday Sarah Day speaks to Dylan Turner ahead of his appearing as part of VOCAL XTR3ME at the Hippodrome Casino’s London Live season.
What was your first ever show that you did as a kid, and what was it that got you into the theatre world?
In my first show, I played the title role in a county semi-professional production of ‘Oliver!’. I had always taken part in the school assemblies and knew I had a huge passion for the stage from being a very small boy, however not being from a theatrical family we didn’t really know how or where to begin. Then I saw an advert in the local paper for an audition for the Exeter production and I went along. Being 10 years old from Torquay, this was a big deal! This show well and truly gave me the bug and I have been fortunate enough to be a part of this crazy, wonderful industry ever since.
You are due to perform at The Hippodrome Casino on the 13th December as part of their ‘London Live’ event. Tell us about what you have planned.
A show celebrating the best of Broadway & the West End’s rock and contemporary musicals, all sung in stunning 3 part harmony. Myself, along the incredible vocals of Stevie Hutchinson (Jesus Christ Superstar) and Grant Jackson (WWRY) make up the group “VOCAL XTR3ME”. We will smash out classics from Queen, Journey, Meatloaf, Whitesnake, The Beatles and many more, as well as a few festive favourites thrown in for good measure. Around 30 songs squeezed into just over an hour
Things have changed a lot for everyone in the industry. How has it been putting a show together during a pandemic? What challenges have you faced and how have you overcome them?
Naturally, it’s the uncertainly (yes..that word!!) I’m sat at home working hours on end arranging harmonies, creating tracks, video graphics, rehearsing with the 2 other boys, all for it to potentially not go ahead due to the ever-changing rules. In not many other professions would you do so much work, for possibly no payoff. Fortunately, I love every aspect of the preparation so it doesn’t feel like work. We are hugely grateful that the Hippodrome’s London Live season is going ahead still in Tier 2… other’s up and down the country haven’t been so fortunate. Our hearts go out to them.
Why is live theatre important to you?
OH, Nothing beats it. Granted, we have been lucky enough to have all the free and paid for live-streamed theatre events during the lockdowns, but actually being up there with a real live audience nothing less than electric! The unpredictability; the unexpected moments; and the audience are right there with you, living every moment of the story that you’re telling, experiencing it for the first time. It’s the best feeling in the world., both for the audience and actors alike.
What is your process each night when you get into character for a show?
I try to trust that the preparation that I have undertaken during the rehearsal process allows me to let go and be free to deliver my performance each night. I’m a bit fan of mindfulness, so I take a moment to really try and be in the present, enabling me to live moment to moment whilst on stage and not be self-aware.
If I have to sing in the show, I’ll also run over either my first entrance song or my highest note!
Tell us about one of your best/funniest memories on stage?
I was playing Sky in Mamma Mia. During the ‘stag do’ part, my trousers have to get ripped off, revealing my swimming trunks. During one particular performance as the boys whipped them off, it felt draughtier than normal. It was then that I’d realised I had forgotten to put my speedos on, leaving only my flesh coloured jockstrap. From the Upper circle, I must have looked either naked or like a Ken doll. The audience saw the funny side, and it was one of those brief moments where we were all in on the joke together. They were very supportive and gave me a huge cheer at the end!
What three things can we always find in your dressing room? I.e Lucky charms…things that help you on stage…blue m&ms..
Well I suppose the old trusted Dr Nelson steamer (although I now have a cool-mist nebuliser), and most definitely my Nespresso Machine! I know that’s not three, but the coffee may as well count as two things.. it’s that important.
What is your favourite Cast Album to listen to right now?
I have to confess, I don’t actually listen to many cast albums. I love listening to movie scores. But I did put on the original 1988 recording of Les Miserable the other day… That was one of my favourites growing up… old school. I know. I have still yet to listen to Hamilton. Is that bad?
If your life were a musical what would it be called, and why?
Ha. Probably “Not Enough Time In The Day”… because well… the clue is in the title!
What advice would you give to all the new graduates – both 2020 and upcoming 2021 grads?
Goodness, so much to tell. It’s not a race! In an age where we all want instant results, it’s so easy for young emerging actors to get disheartened and quit when things don’t immediately go their way. Some of the greatest actors didn’t achieve the success they desired until the late ’40s, ’50s or even ’60s. So be patient! Nothing in life worth having comes easy. And often if it does, it’s down to a great deal of luck. So work hard, and focus on YOU. “Comparison is the thief of joy”: You could book a supporting role in a play in London and be super excited, then see your fellow graduate book a Netflix TV show… this can take away the joy of your new job if you allow it. Sometimes you’re ahead, and sometimes you’re behind. Everyone has their own journey, and what a journey it will be!!
Also, you’re an artist all the time… not just when you’re working! Unemployment is part of this industry, so embrace those moments and keep learning and working on your craft. Something very relevant during this pandemic! Finally: Be happy, you’ll work more.