Jane Stanton is a talented actress I was lucky enough to meet as soon as I moved from Los Angeles to London in 2010. Her beautifully designed website JaneStanton.com (By Top Left Design) was just launched and is a must see!
You may also get to know a bit more about Jane Stanton and her career in this exclusive interview she gave to Bertorelli’s World:
BW: How old were you when you started acting and when did you know that this would be your profession?
JS: I started acting with an amateur theatre group when I was 24 years old. I joined a group called Leeds Art Theatre (LAT), one of the 20 or so amateur groups who performed at the Leeds Civic Theatre.
In April 2000 LAT went on a group trip to the RSC open weekend in Stratford. This was a defining moment n my life. We saw Des Barrit play Falstaff in Henry IV part 1 – it took my breath away. We were also able to watch fight rehearsals, see the costume department, stand on the stage and watch a rehearsal as part of the weekend. Standing on that stage at the RSC and seeing how all this amazing magic was actually made was the moment I decided I was going to become a professional actress. This was the point when I knew it was going to be my profession.
BW: Did you decide you would act or it simply happened?
JS: I was at the time a qualified accountant working for Yorkshire Electricity in Leeds. After the weekend in Stratford I started applying to drama schools and saving money in order to be able to give up my job and study acting.
I was thrilled to be offered a place at LAMDA.
In the meantime the company I was working for was going through a takeover bid, with the result that I was made redundant on the 30th Sept and my first term at drama school started on 1st October. It seemed like fate had played a hand and armed now with enough money to pay for everything I needed, I left Leeds and headed to London to start my new life as an actress.
BW: What do you like most about your acting?
JS: I love how happy I am when I’m acting. I love the fact that you never watch the clock or wish your days away. If anything they go too fast! I love the richness of the worlds you enter with each different play; From occupied Paris in the 40’s, to a family home in Yorkshire to the warring worlds of renaissance Verona. I love the fact that your imagination is boundless and that each character you play is a new discovery, a new journey. I love the complexities of human nature and the endless possibilities of physicalities to apply to your parts. I love the rehearsal process, and the magic of transforming this work to the stage with lights, sound and costume. I love meeting new people and I love dressing up!!!
BW: How much do you draw on your own experience when you are studying, experimenting in the process of building a character?
JS: This is a very interesting question and something that I have been experimenting with over the years. Ultimately we only have our own experiences of life to draw on so essentially they play a fundamental role in our interpretation of any character. I have made some exciting discoveries in the last few years in how to apply personal experiences to a role. It’s interesting work and something that will be ongoing throughout my career.
BW: What works are you most proud of?
JS: I am very proud of the work on Helen in “A Taste of Honey” and on Lynne in “Riflemind” Lynne was an alcoholic and a heroin addict and my research for this role was some of the most fascinating I have undertaken.
BW: What was your most challenging role?
JS: I think that every role is a huge challenge as each character you play is a real person influenced by a whole wealth of experiences, physical traits and insecurities which are there to be imagined and discovered.
However I am very much enjoying the challenge of my current role. I am in fact playing five characters in a rock musical version of “Spring Awakening” It is a huge challenge to make each lady specific, different and real. I am LOVING the work here. I am drawing a great deal on the work of Meryl Streep and Alec Guinness.
BW: Do you have a favorite book, play and film, respectively?
JS: Book: One of the following: “The Far Pavillions” by MM Kaye, “Pride & Prejudice” by Jane Austen , “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Bronte or “The Lion the Witch & the Wardrobe” by CS Lewis
Play: Educating Rita, Rome & Juliet and Jumpers by Tom Stoppard
Film: Oh such a difficult choice!! Well, childhood favourites include “The Sound of Music”, “Grease” and “The Slipper and the Rose” “An American in Paris” “Singing in the Rain” and all the Fred and Ginger movies. I also loved Titanic and Cinema Paradiso. I guess if I had to pick one it would be “The Sound of Music”
BW: Any projects you are currently involved? Any TV or Film projects in your plans?
JS: I am currently playing Frau Gabor, Frau Bergman, Fraulein Grossebustenhalter, Frau Steifel and Fraulein Knuppeldick in a rock musical version of Frank Wedekind’s “Spring Awakening”. There are two film projects pencilled for 2011.
BW: Do you have a special film project and a director you would like to work with? Why?
JS: I would LOVE to work with Mike Leigh. I love the amount of improvisation and pre-filming work that takes place. I remember sitting next to him once at the National Theatre in London and shyly passing him a flier for a play I was doing. I don’t know if he ever saw it but it is a dream to work with him.