17-year-old Jack Elliott has got absolutely no doubt what he wants to do. He was born to act, as he will be showing in Chichester’s Minerva Theatre this Christmas.
Jack, who lives in Tangmere and goes to St Philip Howard, is getting his applications in to a host of top-name drama schools including RADA.
He knows it will be tough. There will be auditions, call-backs, further call-backs. It’s potentially going to be a long process – and certainly a searching one.
“You have got to learn about three or four monologues which you will have to recite to the panel. I will have to sing a two-minute song. And then they will either tell you on the day if you have got a recall or you will have like a two-week window.”
But the determination is undoubtedly there.
Jack plays two parts in Chichester Festival Youth Theatre’s production of Roald Dahl’s The Witches (December 7-January 4) – driven hugely by the success he had in the Minerva in the professional production South Downs.
The show went up to the West End, but unfortunately Jack, 15 at the time, was too young to go with it: “I couldn’t go because of my age. You have to be 16 to work up there. It was really frustrating, but at the same time it was a really good learning curve.
“What it gave me was the want, really. It was such a great experience. I remember it so vividly. I gained such a lot from being able to do something that I just adore and the fact that I was learning all the time.
“Every single time you go on, you could never say you were at the top of your game. Anybody who says that about their own acting would be lying. You have got to be learning all the time.”
For The Witches, Jack is playing the Chef and the Doorman in the tale of a young boy who discovers the real truth about witches when he goes to live with his Norwegian Grandmama.
“They don’t ride around on broomsticks. They don’t even wear black cloaks and hats. They are vile, cunning, detestable creatures who disguise themselves as nice ordinary ladies.
“The Chef is more of a comedy role,” Jack says. “Essentially the chef is in a hotel which is something of an overrated hotel.
“ It’s called the Hotel Magnificent, but it is anything but. We are in the kitchens, and it is really loud. It is a great way to come in and really change the mood.
“The Doorman is more of a veteran member of staff. He doesn’t take any messing around. He is sterner but is quite funny in his sternness. He is a very harsh doorman, but he is very open to people that are polite.”
For Jack, it is great to have two roles – a further challenge to his acting ability.
“You have got to change your state of mind; you have got to change your body language; you have got to change your voice. It is really good to be doing that. For me with the Chef, I have got to be oozing with energy. You can’t go into that section with no energy. You have got to be full of it.
“And you have got to be brave. You have got to go on there and really go for it, to be courageous. You have got to be quite fearless. You cannot go on there and do it and be worrying about what other people in the room might be thinking.”
Tickets for the show are available from Chichester Festival Theatre directly on 01243 781312.