Grace Andrews is a teaching artist, directing throughout Europe and the US. She is also an international actor, voice artist and award-winning film-maker. Growing up in a small town in the North of England, with no theatre and very little opportunity in performing arts, Grace re-routed her life to London, where she is now based- to study and hone her craft.
Find out all about how Grace made it in the industry in our interview below.
How did your acting career start?
When I was younger I went to Stagecoach up north, it was just a Saturday drama school where we did singing, acting and dancing. It was always really fun. And as I was in sixth form I started to think maybe I’ll audition for drama schools, but I didn’t really get in anywhere apart from in one school which was Guildhall , so I was super super lucky to get that place.
So I packed off to London and started a three year training course in acting. It was an incredible place to train. It was overwhelming moving to London and also just jumping straight into a world of such high quality art. So I had to grow up pretty quickly but it was an amazing place to train with so much play, so much imagination and so much creation. It was amazing, but it was also really hard work. Drama school is a tough place to hone a craft. But I had a supportive new group and was very lucky.
At that time there wasn’t a theatre in the town I lived in, there wasn’t a theatre in the school I was at either, we just did drama in the canteen. There wasn’t that much opportunity. I did the National Youth Theatre but again that was in London. So in terms of where I was from the theatre was quite minimal, I think it’s got way better since then. But that’s why I think platforms like this are so amazing. You’ve got access to so much incredible work at the click of a button.
What advice would you give to someone wanting to make it in the industry?
I think the thing I would say the most is be yourself. That’s almost an annoying thing to say because people say it all the time, people have said it to me and I thought “what does that mean, of course I’m being myself?” but I think what I mean by that is, don’t feel like you need to change for anybody else. Everything that you are is amazing and that will help you be an authentic and self-empowered actor, if you trust that you’re enough and you can bring all of that into your work.
What do you think ‘good acting’ is?
Acting is creating a change in someone. I don’t mean politically, although it can have that power. I suppose I mean good acting is when you create change in an audience member, so you help them to feel something or see something clearer or discover something. That is really brilliant acting I think, when you can shift something or shift an attitude, or challenge an attitude, or move someone – help someone connect to something or realise something.
What challenges have you faced in your career?
I’ve faced a lot of challenges getting to where I am. I think everyone in this industry faces challenges. Especially I would say self-confidence has been a huge thing for me. And I’ve really built it up over the years. But if I’m honest, when I graduated my confidence was quite low. I think because I was really comparing myself all the time to other people or thinking about what I was lacking as an artist rather than what I had to offer. I suppose what I’ve learned is that if you’re always looking sideways, if you’re always comparing yourself you’ve never moving forward. And so as much as possible, it’s a daily choice, actually that I decide to choose generosity and openness rather than comparing or jealousy or obsessing over what I have to work on or where I’d like to grow. Instead I focus on what I have to offer and what I do know, and what I believe in and how I can share that.
Learn with Grace
In Grace’s latest course with iampro ‘Working from you’, Grace explores the actor as an artist. There are lots of things that can happen to take us away from ourselves, making work as an actor less authentic and less truthful. The course takes students back to their centre and back to themselves.