Ten years ago launched the start of the best part of my life, with an audition for Bretton Hall, a place of wonder and dreams at the heart of the Yorkshire Sculpture Park.*
I’ll not lie. At the time of the audition, I was not in a happy place. Life sucked. Big time. And studying Acting at Bretton Hall was my vain hope for a lifeline.
The audition didn’t go too well, mainly because I was a rubbish actor who had never even been given a speaking part in a school show and I was competing with hundreds of leading talents from schools across the country. They all knew who Stanislavski was. I thought it was a holiday destination. As part of our audition, we had to perform a self-devised solo piece inspired by a ‘contemporary issue’. The other students in my group did theirs on drugs. Mine explored the meaninglessness of life and began, “How do you want to die?” I was also rather shy. And shy people aren’t supposed to perform.
So I went home, resigned to the unhappy fact that I didn’t really belong in such a grand institution.
But a few days later, (after a divine encounter with God no less, but that’s another story), a letter arrived with the glorious offer of a place.
And so, that September, the first three years of my (new) life began… Late night walks under the stars, a mansion of mysteries, priceless friendships, faith adventures, bearing witness to far too many nude performances, and my first kiss (whom I married).
* Or at least it WAS until heartless academics at Leeds University sold the campus in exchange for a hat (or so the legend goes).