Top ac­tor joins cre­ative in­dus­tries team

Llanelli Star - - Letters -

CO­LEG Sir Gâr has wel­comed a sea­soned Bri­tish ac­tor with an im­pres­sive reper­toire for TV and stage work to its cre­ative in­dus­tries team.

From tread­ing the boards on Broad­way to the red car­pet on Le­ices­ter Square, Si­mon Thomas, known in the act­ing busi­ness as Si­mon Ne­han, is look­ing for­ward to his fu­ture teach­ing role fol­low­ing re­cent film­ing on Net­flix’s The Crown.

Si­mon’s many act­ing roles have in­cluded Mer­lin and Made in Da­gen­ham but the role he is most proud of is in the BBC’s adap­ta­tion of Bird­song, a two-part Bri­tish TV drama based on Se­bas­tian Faulks’s war novel. “Watch­ing good ac­tors at work is al­ways a great learn­ing curve,” said Si­mon.

“It was a big pro­duc­tion by the BBC with great writ­ing, great per­form­ers and a great pro­duc­tion team, plus it in­volved 10 weeks of film­ing in Bu­dapest.”

Com­par­ing theatre work to tele­vi­sion, some roles are more de­mand­ing than oth­ers and Si­mon says that stage work is the most de­mand­ing. “I was of­fered a part in Sarah Kane’s Blasted which was a highly con­tro­ver­sial and graphic play which in its first pro­duc­tion, drew fierce crit­i­cism from the press as well as theatre protests,” he said.

“It uses themes of eth­nic cleans­ing, tor­ture, rape and geno­cide based on the 1990s Bos­nian war, so to recre­ate scenes like this was men­tally chal­leng­ing.”

Si­mon’s other work in­cludes Ca­su­alty, Holby City and even a panto with Katie Price and he says he has been lucky find­ing work but not all au­di­tions are set in stone.

“There is an el­e­ment of luck in­volved but you need to work at it and you need to be on time; you can lose a part be­cause your eyes aren’t the right colour but don’t lose be­cause some­one has done more work than you on the script.”

Al­ways drawn to the idea of teach­ing, Si­mon feels he has the ex­pe­ri­ence to share with a new gen­er­a­tion of aspir­ing per­form­ers and can re­late to stu­dents as he also stud­ied a BTEC diploma be­fore at­tend­ing the Royal Welsh Col­lege of Mu­sic and Drama.

“Act­ing is a craft,” he added. “Get­ting stu­dents to ask the right ques­tions be­fore ap­proach­ing a role and en­cour­ag­ing them to take risks and ex­press them­selves is vi­tal. I tell the stu­dents I’m one of them, I’m from Llanelli, I’m a steel­worker’s son and if I can do it, so can they.”

Si­mon Thomas, known in the act­ing busi­ness as Si­mon Ne­han.

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