An actor's life: "Pondering my 60 years on this planet"
BY Nicholas Pound
Nicholas Pound is a professional actor/singer who has performed in theatre for over 35 years. He has played leading roles in Les Miserables, The Rocky Horror Show, Chess, Evita, Notre Dame de Paris and Man of La Mancha.
He has had a long association with the role of Old Deuteronomy in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats. He moved to Old Town in Eastbourne 5 years ago, having lived in Spain for 9 years where he was the founder of vocal harmony group Tres Divos and hosted his own weekly radio show The Sound of Musicals on Talk Radio Europe.
Nicholas shares his thoughts....
"A time for reflection, as I reached a milestone this month. I had a rather significant birthday at the end of July. I don’t mind telling you that it ended with a 0 and started with a number higher than 5 but lower than 7. You get the picture? I got all of your cards, by the way, thank you, much appreciated.
"I also went over to a photographer’s studio in Brighton to have some new professional headshots taken, my first ones in more than 5 years. I was quite happy to continue promoting myself with my younger early-to-mid 50s look, but apparently my agent seems to think that up-to-date pictures of my actual 60-year old self would be more representative (and truthful) for casting directors. I mean, what does she know? Well, as it turns out, quite a lot. My recent flurry of castings have included one for a police commissioner and two for US President Franklin D Roosevelt. So, I guess I have to accept that age is affording me a more authoritative countenance. My days of ‘young Dad’ are well and truly behind me. I’ve now entered the realms of grumpy old man. My partner tells me there’s no acting required in that department as I have finally found my natural home. Rude!
"Pondering my 60 years on this planet, I started to look back over my 35-year career and came across my very first professional (and now, rather comical) Spotlight entry, above. Founded in 1927, Spotlight is the go-to casting resource for agents, producers and casting directors. These days, of course, it’s only available online, but at the time of my first subscription, it was a revered and well-thumbed 4-volume paper directory that I used to pore over for hours in my local library, looking for inspiration and wondering on the careers of the other faces in the Young Actors section.
"Times have changed a lot since my first Spotlight appearance. Gone are the days of black and white photographs; now all actors’ headshots are in colour. Before the digital age, colour prints were a lot more expensive to develop. Personally, I still lean towards black and white – it leaves more to the imagination and can also hide a multitude of chins! Today’s Spotlight entry can include 4 or more headshots, but back in the day you had to agonise over selecting the one, single picture that might encompass the full gamut of your acting ability for your quarter-page annual subscription. If you could afford it, you might splash out on a half-page entry. I never attained the dizzy heights of a full page. In those days, that was the hallowed domain of well-known TV and film actors only.
"I feel quite nostalgic looking at my first photo. It represents the hope, expectation and excitement of a career about to start. My inspiration in those days was Noel Coward. My recent photo expresses knowledge and experience layered with frustration and disappointment. I think my inspiration nowadays is more Victor Meldrew."