'Don’t let the bastards grind you down' Black Mirror actress Gwyneth Keyworth on TV acting and more
Gwyneth Keyworth is a rising star known for her work on an array of TV series including Midsomer Murders, Game of Thrones, The Sarah Jane Adventures and the latest series of Charlie Brooker's dark, dystopian sci-fi series Black Mirror. Mandy News chat to her about the differences between theatre and screen acting, studying her craft and what actors can do to stay motivated.
Gwyneth, tell us a little about how you got into the industry.
I’m an actor from Aberystwyth, West Wales. While I was performing with The National Youth Theatre of Britain in a comedy sketch show I met my agents and that’s how I got into the industry.
I worked for a couple of years, acting and being a truly terrible waitress (I really am terrible at waitressing, ask anyone) and then trained at RADA, graduating in 2014.
What came first? Was it television, film, or theatre? And how did the transition between the two work?
I got into acting as a kid at my local youth theatre. I spent every hour I could there. I spent my summers at National Youth Theatre of Wales and Britain and loved it. RADA is still very much ‘theatrical’ training still. Despite all this most of my work thus far has been in television and film.
I didn’t work professionally in theatre until after I graduated RADA – but it was youth theatre that got me into acting. The transition between the two depends on the perception of your employers. I try not to think too much about it. People like boxes. People often ask me if I prefer comedy or drama, TV, radio or theatre but I like the challenge of it all.
Do you have a preference? What are the aspects of each you like/dislike and perhaps the differences you find between the two?
I don’t have a preference. I like acting because I like pretending to be other people, I like researching, discovering and trying to realistically portray other lives and I try and approach all my work that way.
There are a few technical differences between the two, like for theatre depending on the size of the space, you and your voice need to fill it. Or learning on set that you need to stop at a certain mark so that you don’t make the focus puller's life a nightmare.
I suppose diction is the main difference between the two. In TV and film, your diction isn’t as important. If a character requires it, you can have a good mumble but in the theatre that’s not an option. Mumbling means no one can hear you and with the price of theatre tickets now, short-changing an audience is not a popular choice.
What are you working on at the moment and what can we look forward to seeing you in?
I’ve just appeared in the new series of Black Mirror and I’m currently filming an eight-part English/Welsh crime drama called Hidden/Craith which should air this month on S4C and then later on the BBC. It’s been an incredible shoot, and I’m really excited to see the final product, it’s very much in the Scandi-noir vein but set in the dark depths of north wales with an equally foreboding story.
Do you have any advice you could give to up and coming actors?
This industry isn’t always fair. It isn’t a meritocracy, it’s subjective, but don’t let that dampen your spirits. Don’t carry it with you, don’t let the bastards grind you down. Have fun, be kind and improve your waitressing skills in the meantime.