Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts (Musical Theatre) Level 3 graduate Luke Harriott has thrilled a packed audience with his role in a CATS musical.
The high-energy show, held at Victoria Methodist Church in Sheffield, saw Luke play the role of Gus, an older cat with palsy which makes his paws shake.
Luke said: “You see him at a point in his life where he is reminiscing about all the shows that he’s done, it is challenging in a way because I have to start off old and doddery, then big and loud before reverting to being worn out again.
“I’ve never performed in a play where I play different personas in the same section of a show; to do this transition requires me to change my mind-set in a small space of time to become the different character Growltiger which is fun.”
Luke has been performing in musical theatre for 12 years and dancing for 15 years.
Luke said: “I’ve always steered myself to something practical and performance has always been very interesting to me.
“It does take a real skill to not just act but embody this character that you are meant to portray, there is a lot to think about when you are portraying a character so different to yourself. In TV it is very set-up whilst in theatre it is hyper-realism; theatre audiences may not notice the smaller subtleties that are noticed on screen – you need to exaggerate all your character’s mannerisms.”
Luke graduated from Rotherham College in 2018 with an Extended Diploma in Performing and Production Arts (Musical Theatre) Level 3.
Luke said: “I chose performing arts at Rotherham College because it was the only place that really felt like you could have a connection with the audience when performing. I remember looking at the seats and seeing that it was intimate and thinking that if I want to grow as a performer then this is where I need to go.
“It really helped me because I could keep eye contact with audience members; I find social interaction daunting at times, but if I can go on stage and be somebody else I’m fine. This intimate setting was something for me to explore and grow from.”
Luke added: “I think the best thing Rotherham College taught me was how to take care of myself. I’ve learnt that during technical rehearsals sometimes it is best to take some time for yourself; it is all about knowing how to take care yourself.
Luke’s Rotherham College tutors Ben and Siobhan attended the show to watch Luke’s performance.
Luke said: “The tutors invested in us; I remember they bought us clothes for our productions. You might go into this course and learn something completely different to me; you have to take whatever you can from your tutors. They help but it’s equally as important to prompt your own learning.”
Luke has his sights set high for the future. In aim of fulfilling his dream career in performance and acting, he is actively pushing for more auditions and opportunity.
Luke said: “I’ve just signed up for an agency; my dream is to do a West End show. I’d quite like to do Wicked or Lion King. Either will do – preferably both!
“If you find a job you love you’ll never work a day in your life. I want to be in this business full-time; it requires a lot of self-motivation and determination to go to auditions and rehearse all the time.”
Luke has a further role as Monsignor O’Hara in the play Sister Act at Rotherham Civic on 4th-5th June.