Interview with Carly Halse

• What are you working on at the moment?

I recently did the narration for a new series of children’s audiobooks called ‘Bizzy the Butterfly’ written and created by the brilliant Emily Longmore. The first story is being released this week, so that’s very exciting. I also filmed the most recent episode of ‘Learn to Dance’, a regular dance and movement show for the channel Tinypop, in the past week. Additionally, I’m writing some scenes for my showreel, including one that is a take on the Manic Pixie Dream Girl trope, which I can’t wait to film!

• What made you choose this occupation?

It was something that allowed me to keep being creative, learning about lots of different things and feeling like a kid. I’ve always been fascinated by stories, and was a voracious reader as a child (and still am!) The thought of being able to endlessly explore and create stories, fictional and real, large and small – it’s a dream come true! I also really love the feeling of connecting with a live audience through a character, and hoping I might be creating a little bit of magic for them.

• Where did you train and how long did it take?

I did a BA in Modern Drama at Brunel University, and then a Masters in Performance Practices and Research at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. So around four years intensively, but I feel like I’m always learning! I recently did a great Clowning workshop with Jeremy Stockwell, for example.

• What is your career background?

I’ve been working with and for children since I was about 16, especially through Guiding, but also as a mentor in schools, and children’s theatre assistant. I guess this work really influenced my teaching, entertainment and presenting work, and Brownies/Guides definitely provided me with lots of campfire songs for vocal warm ups, and games for keeping groups of young people engaged!

In terms of performance training, I come more from a performance/live art background rather than acting. I remember getting to University and being introduced to a whole host of weird and wonderful performance artists and thinking, “How come I’ve never heard of this before?!”

• Do you think there is equality in the workplace? If not then why?

Decidedly not. All you have to do is look at some of the absolutely soul-destroying castings out there for women compared to men (check out @ProResting on Twitter and her Casting Call Woe for some of the choicest!) I was at one of my part time jobs the other day and some female colleagues were talking about having their bottoms evaluated by male members of staff, and they were just brushing it off. It’s things like that that really frustrate me, because if women aren’t standing up for themselves, we really have no hope. I truly think the answer lies in more education in schools, from a very young age. Girls (and boys!) need to learn feminism is not a dirty word.

• What advice would you give to others wanting to get into presenting / performing?

Take risks, search for opportunities and if there aren’t any, make your own! Find a way to keep yourself mentally and physically energised and ready, and don’t listen to the naysayers and the negativity that gets bandied around. Most of all, you have to work hard – even harder than most, so give it your all! Oh, and don’t do it if you only want to “be famous” – find your passion and follow it wherever it may lead!

• What is the favourite part of your job? And least favourite?

Favourite: Meeting awesome kids and hearing that they love my presenting work. Working with a group of children and seeing the difference in their attitudes and personalities as I teach them. That feeling of electricity between an audience and a performer and improvising successfully when things don’t go to plan!

Least Favourite: It can sometimes be a very lonely life. People making incredibly negative and personal comments about you and your body – quite often because they think you won’t see them/read them/hear about them!

• How do you achieve a work/life balance?

Er... Still struggling with this. I think I am incredibly lucky to have a supportive network of family and friends. My friends who’ve known me since school are so brilliant, and always understand if I can’t make events or birthdays because of work. Also my partner is an absolute rock! I think you just have to be aware of your body and what it’s telling you. Don’t burn yourself out, if you can help it!

• Who do you find inspirational?

I try not to limit from whom or where I find inspiration. My room is full to the brim with postcards, bits of art, shots of actors, film memorabilia, photographs of friends and family and random objects I find inspirational. In terms of people, the ones who really, truly inspire me are those bravely standing up and shouting out. Anyone who dedicates themselves to helping others is also high on my list. I could write you out a big list of names, but I would inevitably miss someone off and feel terribly guilty about it!

• Marmite or Jam?

Ergh. Can’t I have peanut butter or chocolate spread? Or, actually, both together would be best. Yum.

Twitter account: @CarlyHalse

(c) Female Arts 2013

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