Where’s my castle on the hill?

Yes Ed we did ‘YOLO’ it and buy tickets half an hour before you performed.

Who knew that scene that show could end up writing about none other than Ed Sheeran himself? I appreciate that going to watch his gigs is nothing like sitting through “The Cherry Orchard” but there is still much to learn from this bestselling, world famous, yet ordinary guy.

Where did this all start? Most likely with a young teen and the gift of a guitar. You might be thinking, “Tor, where are you going with this?” Let me explain. If you’re feeling like giving up, choosing an easier path or comparing your level of success to others’. STOP!  All Ed had was a guitar and a hell of a lot ‘not giving a shit’. He started by busking… over and over. Until his A levels approached and  his infamous song “You need me, I don’t need you” began his journey to success.

What makes you think you can’t achieve what you desire? Barriers are only in your way because you put them there. If you stop caring about what people think; the possibilities become endless. It’s okay everyone- Even I get frustrated and upset (very frequently) that perhaps I have taken too many risks in pursing an acting career. “Uni-dropout” and “loose end” are two common words that repeat themselves in my head when I’m having an over-dramatic moment. The funny thing is it’s so easy to remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. I am lucky enough to have loved ones around me who are always ready to tell me to stop being ridiculous and to instead, have faith and remember why I chose this path. Ed Sheeran said he dreamed of a loyal fan base, making a difference and being able to do what he loved. So transferring this ideology to acting- it seems ridiculous not to try, have failures or set backs and persevere at something you adore .  At least I can say “I gave it a bloody good go and have no regrets”.

But what defines a successful career? Money? A big house? Being a CEO? Fame? To be honest it’s obvious that there isn’t a right answer. Success means different things to everyone so you need to give up trying to compare your version to someone else’s. What’s my castle on the hill? It’s my desire to live to work. This might sound strange but it’s not hard to understand. All I could ever want is to wake up every day knowing that I am living my life through a job I love. Granted, performing is a way of life and it can be in all of us but sometimes it is just a little more prominent in others. I got given a gift of having many inspirational teachers in my life teaching me to strip back all the shit, the false impressions, the ‘trying too hard’ expressions and help me get back in touch with me.

What am I like as a performer? (Constantly giggling in serious rehearsals springs to mind). Ed Sheeran grew up young and learnt lessons on dedication and perseverance way before many of us have had to. Aged 17 he got asked the infamous question: “where do you see yourself in five years?” “Having a record that can spur on different emotions and hopefully something people can relate to”- Mate. You got all of that and more. Kudos to him for keeping up with the rejections and eventually deflecting the negative energy without even realising it. Negative energy on the road to success is a given, but we mustn’t let it phase us. It’ll only make our skin thicker and bring out the sexy badass inside all of us!

That brings me on to ‘What do I stand for?’ World peace, love and eternal happiness? Well yes- but that’s a little too hippy-like for what I am trying to say. I stand for diversity in the artistic industry and respecting everyone’s aspirations, be they far fetched or in your eyes unrealistic.  There’s no point in living a life sensibly with no time for a little dreaming.

So here I stand, proud to be saying that I am on the road to pursuing my ultimate dream. I will have no regrets because I had the courage to dare. I have been amazed at how fear of the unknown has actually motivated me more. Just when you get frightened that all your hard work hasn’t paid off; something amazing happens and you realise that somebody somewhere has seen your conviction and is rewarding you.

To all you budding performers out there if Ed Sheeran can go from busking on the street to playing gigs at the O2 who’s to say you can’t?

Scene it Tip 1: Audition for the National Youth Theatre (like Ed Sheeran)

Scene it Tip 2: Fail and laugh about it- Get rejected from RADA but come back stronger.

Scene it Tip 3: Go to gig you wouldn’t usually go to (in my case Stormzy). Go to workshops to meet new people and surround yourself with things that provoke your determination. There will always be people that will motivate and support you no matter what.

Scene it Tip 4: Most importantly- find out what your castle on the hill would be. P.s. It may well come from within you.

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