Garmon Rhys: Making my debut

Garmon Rhys: Making my debut

Monday, 1 September 2014

Garmon Rhys discusses the transition from drama school to stage as he prepares for his theatrical debut as Wilfred Owen in Pat Barker's Regeneration, adapted by Nicholas Wright. 


Barely a month ago was I stood in Kensington Olympia with my LAMDA classmates, celebrating my graduating from one of the world's best drama schools.

Today I am sat in my dressing room preparing for the opening night of my first ever professional show, Regeneration.

Oh, how quickly things change! Or not.

To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure what was going to happen when I began this job. For some reason, one imagines that the step from drama school to the professional world will be that of David to Goliath. However, thankfully that wasn't the case here.

Merely a week after the graduation ceremony I began work on Nicholas Wright’s brilliant adaptation of Pat Barker's novel, Regeneration. From day one the scenarios I encountered in the rehearsal room (from Northampton to Shoreditch to Brixton!) were wonderfully similar to those at LAMDA - table work, actioning the text, physical workshops, DSM taking notes in the corner, the use of terms and phrases that I'd been studying religiously for the past two years. All of these were key to making me feel comfortable and assured in my own ability. I will be forever grateful to the teaching staff at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts for preparing me in the best possible way to take on this first job with confidence.

Moving to the Royal & Derngate, Northampton has been no different. In conjunction with the Touring Consortium Theatre Company the production has been ran like clockwork. No tolerance for lateness, no mobile phones in the workplace and 100% commitment to making our performance of Regeneration the best it can possibly be.

It’s reassuring to see that – after spending thousands of pounds on tuition fees – educational establishments are preparing their students for the ‘real world’ in the correct way, and that the last two years wasn’t some faux representation of what’s on the other side of that graduation ceremony. 

I can only hope that the projects I'll be involved with in the future will be run as smoothly as this one.

After writing this piece, I come to realise that the only thing that’s different in the ‘real world’ is ... people play parts of their own age! Why pretend to be 50 when you can, in fact, hire someone who’s 50?! No more 20-year-olds playing 80-year-olds, no more painted wrinkles and no more white powder in my hair!

To the teachers at LAMDA, Ginny Schiller CDG, Simon Godwin, everyone at Northampton, the Touring Consortium Theatre Company and the entire Regeneration cast & crew, I'd like to thank you all for making this transition - from budding student to a professional actor - a seamless one.

Now if you'll excuse me, I've got an opening night to attend!


Garmon Rhys plays Wilfred Owen in Touring Consortium Theatre Company's Regeneration. You can follow him on Twitter @GarmonRhys

Regeneration opens at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where it runs from 29 August to 20 September 2014. It then tours to York, Edinburgh, Bradford, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Richmond, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Blackpool where it concludes on 29 November. 

Regeneration premiered on 2 September 2014 (previews from 29 August) at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where it continues until 20 September 2014. It then tours to York, Edinburgh, Bradford, Nottingham, Cheltenham, Richmond, Wolverhampton, Darlington and Blackpool where it concludes on 29 November.