Meet Our Summer #SetReady 2019 Acting Mentor – Adam Leese

Meet Adam Leese

Adam Leese is an Actor and an Trainer for other Actors. He does this with his organisation ‘Actors Training’ – it does exactly what it says on the tin! He’s worked as an Actor on numerous high profile films and TV shows such as Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016), Attack the Block (2011), Broadchurch (2015) and Humans (2015). As for his training, he’s trained all over the globe from the National Theatre of China to Cambridge University, The Royal Academy of Music, The Canterbury Institute for Performing Arts and East Connecticut University in the U.S.

Next week, Adam Leese will be gracing us with his presence to give an acting workshop to all the budding actors on the #SetReady course! He’s the perfect man for the job. We can’t wait to get  some more acting techniques under our belt and learn more about the “business element of acting”.

But, while we wait, we’ve caught up with Leese to get to know him a bit more…

How it all started

Acting hasn’t always been Leese’s life. When he was younger, he had dreams of joining the RAF. These dreams, however, were shattered at a young age after failing an eye-test. He left school at 16, travelled a bit,  became a skiing instructor and mowed the lawn at Arundel Castle before his mum suggested he pursue Drama (his only A at GCSE). And, that’s exactly what Adam did. Three years on, Leese had an Acting Diploma and received an offer of representation. Leese landed an audition for Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies, which he fortunately got – it was this credit on his CV that essentially kickstarted his 20 year-long career in acting.

Leese even found himself performing Shakespeare on the very grass he once cut at Arundel Castle.

“I’ve been lucky enough to have worked with some amazing actors like Michael Caine, Ray Winstone, Julie Walters, John Cleese, Colin Firth, Olivia Coleman and many more and have worked with some big actors at the very beginning of their careers such as Tom Hardy, John Boyega and Andrew Scott. All in all I’ve been very blessed.”

After a successful application to be a Youth Mentor for BAFTA, Leese found how incredibly rewarding it was to inspire young actors. Leese then set up his own Training Company (‘Actors Training’) which has grown from strength to strength. Leese notes that it’s now become a struggle to fit in his acting work! That said, he learns from both.

“For me the relationship of trainer/performer is a symbiotic one, my acting work informs my teaching and my teaching work informs my acting so it’s a win win!”

Career and big moments

Leese has worked in an array of films from Art House to Hollywood Blockbusters. Most recently, he worked on ‘The King of Theives’ with Michael Caine, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay and Ray Winstone. It also saw him reunited with the wonderful Jim Broadbent whom he’d had the pleasure of working with twice before.  You can catch ‘The King of Thieves’ in all good cinemas next month!

As for his career in TV, Leese has worked on many of the nations favourite TV Shows such as Broadchurch, The I.T Crowd, Holby City, The Bill, Harlots and Eastenders (in which he played 3 different characters!).

However, Leese’s proudest moment was when a film, in which he played the lead (EMR), won several awards at various festivals around the world including Best UK Feature at London’s prestigious Raindance Festival. Unfortunately, Leese was too humble and missed out on accepting the award at Raindance due to not attending as he believed the film would be beat by Shane Meadow’s ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’.

“The director called me at home to tell me it won…still can’t quite believe”

Leese’s biggest achievement, however, was not one specific project but the fact he has managed to make a fulfilling in one of the toughest industries.

“To be honest, my biggest achievement is to have managed to sustain a career for 20 years in one of the most competitive industries in the world. I’m proud to be a go-to actor for some of the countries leading casting directors. I never take that for granted and always try to justify their faith in me.”

What do you think the #SetReady course is doing for young actors?

“I think the work that the National Youth Film Academy does is crucial to bridge the gap between education and employment because it’s so current. It mirrors the industry directly therefore the students are experiencing what the industry is like today and not what it was like 10 or even 5 years ago. The industry is always changing and the National Youth Film Academy is aware of that and changes with it by bringing in Industry professionals who stepped off a set yesterday in order that their students are ready to step on a set tomorrow. Also from my understanding it costs a lot less than expensive Drama Schools which can only be a good thing!”

Why do you think so many young actors struggle to make it into the industry?

This was difficult question for Leese to answer as there are many different reasons as to why actors struggle. However, he makes an interesting point about Actors not understanding the ‘business end’ of being an Actor…

“I always tell my students that it’s called Show ‘Business’ and while we put most of our attention (and quite often money!) on the ‘Show’ element we put very little into the ‘Business’ element. An ‘actor’ is a business which is offering a product, a product that has to packaged and marketed correctly.”

What can we expect from your workshop on the #SetReady Course?

“I’ll be showing the students some of the elements that I have found over the years that work best for me. Elements that are incredibly accessible and with a few simple questions can really unlock a character or a scene. Primarily I’ll be looking at ‘Status’ and how we can utilise it to best suit our performance for camera. I’ll also look at the differences between performing for stage and screen. If I have time I might have a quick chat about the importance of understanding the ‘business’ element too.”

We can’t wait!

We hope all the Summer 2019 #SetReady-ers are just as excited as we are to meet Leese and learn a trick or two. If you to learn even more about Leese, you can check out his IMDb profile here for his extensive list of credits.

If you’re not booked onto the course, but wish you were, why not click here to enquire?

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