Jordan wouldn't change his career as an actor for the world. Today, he's on tour with Cats the Musical. In this interview, he shares what makes his job special, and how you can follow in his footsteps - or should that be paw-steps?
Name: Jordan Castle
Company: Cats the Musical, International Tour
Industry: Performing Arts
What is your job? Walking understudy
How long have you been doing this job? We started rehearsals in November 2016 and opened in Dubai in January 2017
University: American Musical Theatre Academy (AMTA)
Subject: Musical Theatre diploma
A-levels: 3 A-levels
1. What was your very first job?
My first job was working at a supermarket on evenings and weekends.
2. What did you want to do when you were at school?
At first I wasn’t too sure what I wanted to do. Then in a music class everything changed and I started singing more and more and got a really big interest in musical theatre.
3. How did you find out about the industry?
I found out about the industry through my drama teacher at school. She was the one who really inspired me to try something new.
I used to be a very shy person - musical theatre and performing in front of people have changed that hugely. The support of friends and family also helped hugely. I was lucky enough to have a very supportive network around me. When I act I get to become a different person and that means that I can go back to being myself at the end of the day, and that just made me love myself more.
4. How did you get there?
I got there through you a combination of hard work and sacrifices. I joined a youth theatre group on Saturdays and applied for drama schools, who auditioned during the week. After getting in it was an intense year of training and I’m now lucky enough to be in one of the most well known musicals in the world.
The process of auditioning for drama school is a long one, but as long as you're willing to work for it then it can and will become a reality. I auditioned for two years in a row and didn't get into any school. I think the first year I auditioned for about seven schools and didn't get a single offer. In those two years I joined a youth group who helped me train and gave me skills that I then took to drama school auditions and finally gained a place.
The training was very intense: five days a week, 9am-5pm, with plenty of hours outside of school to read plays, practice songs and hone my craft even more. There were dance classes every day and you always had to be alert and willing to learn. You have to go into the school with an open mind. That is a must.
5. What is a typical day like?
Because we’re on tour, no two days are really the same. Some places we are in for three weeks, others we could be in for a matter of days. But generally my day starts at 5pm to put on the make up for whatever character I’m playing that day, we then have warm up at 6pm and then we normally start the show at 7.30. Normally home and in bed by 11pm.
6. What’s the best thing about your job?
I think the best thing about my job is that I get to be someone different most nights. And a lot of the show happens in the audience - it's great to see the audience's reaction when a cat runs up to them and touches their hand with a paw! The faces are really exciting and it definitely gives you a buzz.
7. What is the most challenging thing about your job?
Because I play more than one part the most difficult thing is remembering everything I have to do in the show. I also have a change which means I have to be a completely different character in about three minutes. It can be quite stressful.
8. What advice do you have for people who want to do what you do?
Firstly, you have to be willing to work hard. There is absolutely no way I would be doing what I’m doing if I didn’t work hard. Secondly, be a good person, everybody in this industry likes working with somebody who is a nice and decent person.
9. What things do you wish you’d known before starting your career?
I wish I had known how hard it was once in the industry and how challenging.
I thought this industry was turn up, sing your song, go home. Oh how wrong I was! There are so many different facets of performing. Yes there's the singing, but there's also the acting through song - and the dancing. Oh wow the dancing! It's intense. Especially if you're not naturally a dancer. But as I said, as long as you're willing to learn and fight for your chance then you'll be OK.
In this industry you have to remember there are plenty of people who will be auditioning for the same role that you are. You just have to remember how much work you've put in and believe in your own talents. Don't compare yourself to the person who walks into the audition room before you. You have to believe you're there for a reason. You have something to show that audition panel. So go in there, and show them why they need you in their show.
10. Where would you like to be in 5 years?
I would hopefully like to be in my next show. I’d like to be on the West End next. Hopefully that will happen for me soon.
If Jordan's story has you pining for the stage, check out our Performing Arts Career Zone.
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