Five minutes with: Charles Grounds

Next in the Lawler Studio season is the dark suburban satire, “Helicopter”:. Coming from the director of 2011’s Random, Leticia Cáceres (who commences as MTC’s Associate Director in 2013), and award-winning playwright Angela Betzien – Helicopter is destined for take-off. We spoke to Charles Grounds, who plays schoolboy Jack, about his MTC debut, being a young actor and what he does when he’s not gracing the stage.

How did you first get into acting?
Charles.jpg think it started with being home schooled until I was 14. That gave my imagination the opportunity to be free and play, which I’m extremely grateful to my parents for.
I always loved doing different accents and characters and putting on shows in the backyard. When I was 10, I played Joseph in a church production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. I would learn everyone’s lines as well as my own, and when an adult dropped a line they would hear a 10-year-old’s high-pitched voice prompting them!

Did you study acting during VCE at school?
Yes. I studied acting from the end of Year 10 all the way through to Year 12. I also had the privilege of being part of all the high school musicals.

What is it like working with the director of Helicopter, Leticia Cáceres?
We pull a lot of funny faces at one another! She’s brilliant and her intellect is phenomenal. I’ve been blessed to have the opportunity to sit with Leticia and discuss my character in depth and understand his world. She sees your potential as an actor and helps bring it out in the most caring way. Even though this show has such heavy themes, we all still find the joy and ability to play because of her.

Who have been your most inspirational acting teachers?
A wonderful gentleman named James Cutler who I was extremely blessed to have as my high school drama teacher. He taught me love and respect for the art form. Kerry Armstrong for teaching me dedication and hard work and what it means to be an actor; and Larry Moss for inspiring me.

What do you do when you’re not rehearsing or performing?
I never did this in school but I find myself at the State Library doing homework. I’m constantly reading plays or books and of course going to watch films and plays. I think it’s not only great to be actor but to go and support our industry. You can learn heaps from sitting back and observing. I also love skateboarding so you might find me kick flipping past you.

What’s your top tip for aspiring actors?
I heard this old ancient proverb: fall down seven times, get up eight. No matter what happens, keep fighting. That’s when you find greatness. I think I just described every fighting movie in the history of Hollywood!

What are you most looking forward to when Helicopter hits the stage?
I can’t wait to see how an audience will react to this beautifully tragic tale. It’s going to be amazing to have done all this work and then let it drop in and just play with the other actors on the stage.

__“Helicopter”:http://www.mtc.com.au/tickets/production.aspx?performanceNumber=4996 is playing in the Lawler Studio from 2 to 17 August. This play is an MTC commission and forms part of the 2012 Education and Lawler Studio Seasons. __

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