"Beautiful, innovative and magnetic" - Keiren Hamilton-Amos chats to us about Our Country's Good
In the run up to Our Country's Good, we caught up with local actor Keiren Hamilton-Amos to chat to him about taking to the stage in his hometown, performing in Our Country's Good and how he got involved in theatre.
Tell us a bit about yourself…
My name is Keiren and I'm a local boy, raised less then 10 minutes away from The REP. Like most Brummies I have a real sense of pride about being from Birmingham (despite what the rest of the country may think about our accents!)
How did you first get involved in theatre?
I come from a very creative family, so the need to tell stories has been there since I was a child. From making up dance routines with my cousins, to singing with my mum and brother, performing is really in my blood.
I always enjoyed theatre, but never saw it as an achievable career choice due to so many factors, but I remember at Sixth Form I chose Government and Politics (I was going to become a lawyer) and realised that I didn't know anything about it and didn't really have an interest in it. So I took a “bathroom break” and walked around the Sixth Form and stumbled into the drama room and before I knew it I was reading The Crucible playing Proctor.
You've been associated with The REP for a long time, tell us more…
My brilliant friend Philip Morris and I were asked to create a safe space for young black men to talk, express and build confidence through theatre. Following the success of this initial project, Lightpost Young Rep Theatre Company was created, which tells the stories you may not hear everyday to a paying audience. During my time at The REP I have met some amazing people and found some true friendships.
Is this your first time performing at The REP?
I have been privileged to perform at The REP a few times with the help of Daniel Tyler. My first performance was in The DOOR playing Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream, I then returned to the space last year in Strictly Arts' production of Freeman and I have also performed in The STUDIO as part of MonologueSlam, but I have never taken my place on the main stage...until now. I remember doing a backstage tour with Lightpost, standing on the stage and getting quite emotional, praying that one day I would be able to perform on it, in my home town.
How does it feel to be part of Our Country's Good?
I feel so privileged to be a part of the cast. Companies like Ramps on the Moon are the real future of theatre where genuine diversity is involved. I have met so many people, heard about so many stories, and learnt about so many walks of life, and the story of Our Country's Good is perfect for a company like this where communication and how we communicate is the central theme.
What do you do when you're not acting on stage?
When I'm not acting on stage I'm usually still being creative, from writing plays to children's books. Otherwise you can find me running workshops with Strictly Arts Theatre Company in schools or universities. Whether it's an introduction to Shakespeare or a 3 hour physical theatre session, my brain is always creating. And on the rare occasion, when I have free time, I like to spend it with my wife and family (my family is huge!) because without their help and support I wouldn't be where I am today.
What would you say to someone who was looking at pursuing a career in theatre?
For anyone looking to pursue a career in theatre I would advise them to keep learning and seek out new experiences to develop their knowledge. Make yourself known to theatres and other creatives and work on your craft, whether that means going to drama school or running workshops; keep observing the world around you. One of the plays I wrote was based on someone that I met at school, that experience inspired me to write the play Zulu Blue. So whether or not you are in a show, you should keep looking for stories to be told and, most of all, you have to have a determined heart and mind. You won't achieve everything overnight; it takes hard work and resilience to make it through. Be forever a student of the game.
What can people expect from Our Country's Good?
People can expect a heartfelt story with laughs and tears that resonate with the world today. Our Country's Good is a tale of real life and with communication being at the forefront of this show the signing, audio description and captioning play as big a role as the actors themselves.
Describe the show in three words.
Beautiful, innovative and magnetic.
See Keiren in Our Country's Good, playing at The REP from 23 May - 2 June.
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