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Actor Luke Morris – “Living the Dream in Oldham”

Marketing Assistant Fay Hough sat down with Luke Morris, who plays the Young Lad and Ben Nicholson in our upcoming production of The Pitmen Painters.


What was it like to receive the news that you’d been selected to play Young Lad and Ben Nicholson?

It was absolutely fantastic, it’s such a great play and part for any young actor to do. The fact that it’s two characters is such a great challenge to work on – they’re the antithesis of each other. One is a working class lad and the other is a more upper class, bohemian artist, so as an actor it’s great to be given the opportunity to play around with both in one production.

Were you nervous on your first day of rehearsals?

Yes. The read-through is the most nerve-wrecking thing; you’ve spent so much time at home reading it, but this is the first time you hear it with the people you are going to be working with. It’s nice to get over the first hurdle and then feel a bit more relaxed then when you go into the rehearsal room – it’s a less self-conscious feeling.

Have the other actors given you any bits of advice?

Yes, they’ve given me bits of advice that they’ve got from over the years working in theatre, which is nice. They’re so approachable if I have any questions. It’s such a nice company to work with. Mickey and Simeon are the ones to go to if I have any questions about my north-east accent – one of the most challenging things is to get an accent right.

Many of the cast members have been in plays here before, for example Simeon has just appeared in our pantomime, Mother Goose, did this add to any apprehension you were feeling?

I didn’t really think about it, I was so nervous about the whole thing anyway that I hadn’t really clocked that. I wasn’t worried that they might all know each other and pick on the new kid – everyone is inclusive. There are various connections in the cast anyway – there seems to be mutual friends between everyone involved, everyone is connected in some kind of larger circle, which is nice. I know Cliff from outside, so I had an ally from the off and this helped with the first day nerves.

Both Mickey and Jim are comedians, have they been cracking jokes in rehearsals, or is it quite serious?

It’s a beautiful balance between taking the work seriously and not themselves. It creates a relaxed, encouraging working environment to play and to try out new things and not feel self-conscious. To have an environment that you’re excited to work in each day is great; there’s a lot of laughing, which is good when you’re doing a comedy. This helps with the rehearsal process – everyone feels comfortable and that allows people to express their ideas about the characters better.

What’s it like to be working in the North? And have you got any connections to Oldham?

I’m originally from Rotherham, but trained in London where I have lived for about 11 years. I haven’t been to Oldham before, except for my audition and I haven’t had much chance to explore it yet, but I’m sure I will.

We’ve heard on the grapevine that you’ve worked in Box Office, is this true?

Yes, for three years at the National Theatre. When I left drama school, I needed a job and thought that working in a theatre would be a good job to have, so I applied for a job as an usher for front of house and did that for a while, and then a job in Box Office came up and I went for that. It started off casually and then it became more permanent, but when the opportunity to be in The Pitmen Painters came up I had to give in my notice. I loved working there, everyone was really nice and supportive and if I ever need to work in a Box Office again I’ve got plenty of experience, so I’ll be checking out the job section on the Coliseum website and you never know, on my day off I might do a shift here. But acting is what I want to do, so I’m living the dream in Oldham right now.





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