War Horse is Jasper William Cartwright’s professional debut – a debut which will take him right through to December 2018.
And for Jasper, who comes from Horsham, all those months ahead in the show are massively reassuring.
“More reassuring than you could possibly ever imagine, to think that I am going to be a jobbing actor for more than a year in a great show earning decent money.
“It is a great way to set myself up financially, but also a great way to learn my craft. I am a firm believer that an actor never stops learning, and I think to do one show for so long means that you are constantly having to think about it, about keeping it fresh, about finding new things, about delving deeper and deeper into it.
“It is a great way for me to embed all the skills that I learnt in drama school and then to push on from there.”
War Horse plays the Brighton Centre from Thursday, January 25-Saturday, February 10.
Jasper graduated from a three-year course at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama where he studied on the collaborative and devised theatre course. Jasper is dance trained, in both contemporary ballet and hip hop.
He has also enjoyed directing and writing on various film projects since graduating in 2016.
“It was a really amazing three years, really tough, but amazing.
“You have to completely dedicate your life to it. You are doing 50-plus hours a week, and it becomes absolutely everything to you during that period of time.
“You go to sleep thinking about what you are doing. You are thinking about it all the time, and I also think it is as much about your own self-exploration as it is about playing other characters.
“Acting is a very personal thing.
“If you are not comfortable about yourself, you won’t be comfortable about stepping into someone else’s shoes.
“You have to start from a place of being comfortable in yourself, being happy and content, and then you can use elements of your own life to bring to the character. If you don’t have a personal reference to the character, then you can’t play it truthfully.”
Jasper, who is Billy, Heine and cover Albert in the show, grew up in Horsham and went to school there until he switched to Haywards Heath for his sixth-form.
“It was interesting journey until that point.
“Acting is not something that runs in the family by any means. It was something that was quite difficult to take seriously as a career option.
“I had done a lot of drama groups and performances while at school and I did drama GCSE, so I think I had always known that this was what I wanted to do. When I went into the sixth-form I chose not to go to the closest one in Horsham, but to Haywards Heath because it was specialised for music and drama and dance, so really that was when I made the commitment.”
The attraction of the career is in the story-telling which is at the heart of it.
“It is ultimately all about story-telling. It is about sharing something with people.
“As a child, I always used to love standing in front of my family and make them laugh or dancing around like a fool or doing something silly. And I used to love having stories read to me.
“I just think a story is such an incredible gift to be able to give to someone. It’s just delightful to be able to share it.”