Actors Stories

Louise Wilson: Building Art Promoting Solidarity

© Tony Blake

Hi my name is Louise Wilson and I am an actor from Bolton. I first started acting at the age of 8 in my primary school productions. I quickly got the bug! From then on I studied Drama at school and took after school class at Miss Dawn Dawson’s academy in Bolton. I continued, there on, to study Theatre Studies at Bolton South College and the University of Bolton (which was then known as Bolton Institute).

Once I left University, I made the mistake (I feel) of not searching for an agent. At the time, the internet was only just beginning and, to be honest, I didn’t have a clue where to start with the whole process. I think I expected that I would just come out of Uni and everything would fall into place. I was thrown into the big bad world. So what did I do? I continued on at the job (working at HMV) I had been working part time at, at University, and took up a full time position. This continued for a couple of years (in and out of jobs) until I finally got an agent. I was desperate (I was also still in full time work too).  I got with the first agent that took me on. They did get me some work on ‘Hollyoaks’ but I think I got lucky when I was offered a few lines as the person who was meant to do it didn’t turn up! From then on I didn’t receive any more work from my agent, and I just sunk back into full time employment. During this time, I decided to take some classes in Manchester with a well known actor. I started to gain confidence. However, I left these classes after I witnessed how unprofessional this person was with his attitude to the students and to the industry. He’d sit there slagging his fellow cast members off (he was in a well known soap at the time) and he didn’t instil any confidence in his students. He was more bothered about us all helping him to paint the studio so that he could live in it during filming! After that, I just didn’t have the confidence, I was very naive and, looking back, I wasn’t really ready. After many years in and out of mundane full time jobs and life changing experiences, I finally started to pull myself together. This is what I wanted to do. Always! I was so miserable, thinking that I was doing the “right thing” of working and not pursuing my dream. I was also surrounding myself with the wrong people, people who were negative and unsupportive. Once I removed these people from my life, I was a new person! Things started to happen too.

I gained more confidence within myself and approached work on the Manchester Fringe scene. I started to meet like minded people, and the work started to come in. I started working with an extras agency first of all, to get me back into the swing of things, and get used to being in front of a camera, and moved on to an acting agency from them on. I was also not relying on my agent to find me work, I was getting out there, making connections, and getting the work myself to build up my cv, from student films to fringe performances. I also finally took a different attitude to work. It took me being made redundant the day after my mother passed away to really assess what I was doing with my life. I took some time out of work, and realised that I could make my own path. Don’t get me wrong, it was very scary! But I had nothing at all to lose. The worst had happened!  For the last four years I have been working in two part time jobs which I juggle between each other, plus with my acting work. It’s hard, and sometimes I barely scrape by. But, I feel like I am finally in control. My acting finally comes first, and I have never been happier in my life. I have great supportive friends round me, a network of supportive actors, and a thriving Fringe scene that I am proud to be part of. I am also a better actor. It took me years after leaving University to actually gain the skills that I needed, to put the work and study in, and not expect everything to fall at my feet. You never stop learning as an actor!

@loulou_Wilson: I was getting out there, making connections, and getting the work myself Click To Tweet
© Shay Rowan

I have now been taking classes since March last year with ‘Inspire’. These are not just any old classes were they stick you in front of a camera with a script. You learn all sorts of techniques. From improv, stage combat, accent training, to being taught by industry experts. I am also proud to call JLA Talent (run by the actor Jamie Lomas, and Simone Clark) my agents. They get me as an actor. They actually understand what I want as an actor, and what my goals are too. Along the way I met Sophie Ellicott and Sophie Toland. We met as part of the Manchester Shakespeare Company about three years ago. We all had the same fire and passion for acting and decided to set up our own theatre company. Why wait for the work when you can put the work on yourself?!  BAPS Theatre was born! We wanted a name that was a little bit cheeky, and northern. We wanted it to also represent the fact that it was set up by three ladies. BAPS stands for Building art promoting solidarity.  Our first show was a performance of the fabulous ‘Di and Viv and Rose’ written by Amelia Bullmore. This was part of the Greater Manchester Fringe festival last year. We had sold out shows, rave reviews, and we keep being asked when we are putting it on again! Our next event is ‘North West Wonders’ on 4th May 7.30pm at 53two in Manchester. We want to celebrate new writing from the North West and promote Northern actors and directors. We are producing the event, and two of the ‘boobies’ are also appearing in one of the pieces written by Matt Holt from the award winning People Zoo Theatre Company.  We are so proud of this event already. We have auditioned and cast each piece (2 monologues, 3 duologues, and 3 three handers all 15-20 mins long), and we put a call out for scripts, and directors too. Our aim was to have a varied age range. As a 36 year old, I am tired of watching pieces with 20-30 year olds in them.

On a final note, here are some tips I have learnt along the years as I have pursued my career: –

  • Always look after your mental health. It is easy to let this slip (I have learnt this the hard way over the years).
  • Keep physically active. And that doesn’t mean get a membership out at your local gym (believe me. That is so not me!). Go for a walk, clear your head.
  • Read plays! Immerse yourself in new writing too.
  • Go and watch plays. See what’s out there and, more importantly, support your fellow actors.
  • Network! Network! Network!
  • Surround yourself with like minded people
  • Never stop learning your craft
  • When someone says “when are you going to get a proper job” or why haven’t I seen you in anything on TV?” just smile and move on. There is no point arguing with these people. They will never get it! But they will probably be the first people when you are on TV to say “Oh I know them!”
  • No matter how brilliant you may think you are, you can always improve
  • Don’t hang around for the call from your agent. You have to put the work in yourself too
  • Keep motivated!
  • Write a goal list
  • And the golden rule – Don’t take it personally when you don’t get the job!

You can buy tickets for ‘North West Wonder’ from this link:-

My twitter address is @loulou_wilson please do follow, as it is always nice to contact with fellow actors. The BAPS twitter address is @BAPSTheatre Let’s connect!

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