Alumnus of the Month – Jennifer Laverty
Jennifer Laverty recently starred in RTE’s ‘Love/Hate’ and BBC drama ‘Ripper Street’ and will appear in ‘Titanic-Blood and Steel’ next year. Jennifer Laverty graduated from the Gaiety School Full Time Course in 2004. Since then she has starred in numerous theatrical/tv productions working for the likes of Guna Nua and TG4. She is a founding member of new theatre company Mouth on Fire who will be performing their recent show ‘Before Vanishing’ (a collection of Samuel Beckett short plays) in Japan and Russia in 2013.
1. Did you always want to work in the theatre/acting business?
Yes, as boring an answer as that is, there was nothing else I wanted to do. The first play I was in I was eight years old. It was with a local Am Dram group and I remember thinking ‘yes, this is the coolest thing ever!’ I was completely hooked after that. I didn’t find anything else that held my attention as much as acting did. I was a real film nerd all through my teenage years, which I think helped in way when I finally got to work on camera.
2. How did you start off in the business?
It was in the amateur dramatics world that really got me interested in acting. I was part of the Bart Players in Belfast for many years and took part in drama festivals all over Northern Ireland. I won an award for acting during that time. It was for ‘Most promising young actor’ which that felt like a nice conformation that I had chosen the right path. I went on to study Drama and English at Queens University, Belfast which really helped build the foundations of being an actor. It prepared me for the Gaiety School full time course which I began a year after graduating university. I had my first professional audition during my study at Queen’s for the film ‘The Magdalene Sisters’. It was the worst audition of my life, god I was really awful! It definitely opened my eyes though.
3. Any tips for aspiring actors?
Try not to take rejection personally! Its part and parcel of the whole job and it’s really hard not to take all of that rejection as something you have done wrong, or that you are not good enough. Often you are just not right for that part, or the director has a very specific vision that you don’t fit into. You might be perfect for something else. Most successful actors have had to plug away for years before they get any kind of success, and they tend to be the better for it. Every audition will teach you something about you as a performer and the industry. Just chalk it down to experience and use it for the next time. In saying that, it took me a long time to learn that lesson.
4. What did you like most about being at The Gaiety School of Acting?
I found the discipline of it really helped me. I can be far too laid back and so I found having deadlines and preparation for certain classes really useful. I also loved the fact that I got to act every single day. You really take that for granted when you are there, it’s only when you leave that you really miss it. There are normally big gaps between work so I really missed getting to do what I love every day.
5. Favourite actor?
I love Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Gary Oldman and Paddy Considine. I could watch them in anything. They are incredibly brave performers. I also really admire actresses like Olivia Coleman and Kathy Burke and Emma Thompson for the same reasons. They just strip away any sense of vanity and are incredible comediennes. In my opinion if you can do comedy well, you can do anything.
6. Favourite writer?
There are so many: Harold Pinter, Connor McPherson, Anthony Mingella, Martin McDonagh, Owen McCafferty, and Shakespeare.
I don’t really have one as such, but Eden by Eugene O’ Brien, The Weir by Conor Mc Phearson, Mojo Mickybo by Owen McCafferty and The Homecoming by Harold Pinter really blew me away the first time I read them/saw them.
8. Who has been the most influential person in your life so far?
Every single actor/director I have ever worked with has been a combined influence on me. I have learnt so much from watching other people and seeing how others work. Both the good and bad experiences have helped me a lot. My family have also been hugely supportive from the very beginning.
9. Earliest memory?
I think going to see the Christmas Panto when I was about six or seven and just being completely mesmerized by what was happening on stage. I was totally caught up in the whole experience of the thing. Also, I remember dancing around my living room to the music on Top of the Pops when I was about five.
10. What would be your idea of the perfect day?
Wake up in a lovely fluffy bed in a five star hotel in New York. Massage, and professional hair and make-up applied. I have an amazing lunch of fish and chips, and then off to an amazing Broadway show, seated in the royal box of course. To finish champagne cocktails in the Rainbow room, all accompanied by my husband Micheal Fassbender of course! Not at all shallow.