KCC alumnus on his way to a glittering career on stage and screen
A KCC alumnus is on his way to a glittering career on stage and screen after graduating from famous performing arts academy Italia Conti.
Joe Tapper, 22, has graduated with a First Class Degree in BA (Hons) Acting. He is already well known in the South Hams as part of the cast in many a production from Malborough Amateur Dramatics Group, MAD Kids. He has also performed with Kingsbridge Amateur Theatrical Society (KATS) and the Kingsbridge Community College drama club.
The Italia Conti academy course covers a wide range of skills. Joe explained: "The main strands are movement, voice, singing and, of course, acting. You do everything from accents to mask work to radio classes. It’s a comprehensive classical training course designed to prepare you with the skills required to go into a famously unstable industry."
It’s a comprehensive classical training course designed to prepare you with the skills required to go into a famously unstable industry
|Joe and a cast he worked with at the Edinburgh Fringe last year|
He said it was different from a university course. "Our terms last about 12 weeks and each week usually involves anywhere from 30 to 40 hours of contact time. It takes real grit and perseverance to keep up. Plus, it’s not just a practical challenge. The course pushes you to be open and vulnerable, which comes with its own emotional hurdles.
The course pushes you to be open and vulnerable, which comes with its own emotional hurdles
"It’s not an easy time, and it has hit me hard more than once. But it’s really quite incredible how much people grow as both actors and people during their time on a drama school course."
|Joe in action in a scene he and his coursemates professionally filmed last year |
Joe joined MAD Kids at the age of seven and that helped confirm that this is what he wanted to do with his life. "It really helped ignite my spark into a flame", said Joe.
From there Joe went on to perform in as many roles as he "could get [his] hands on". With MAD Kids he played an Oompa Loompa, Mowgli, Joseph, and Wild Bill Hickock among others. He's also been an Ugly Sister in a MAD Pantomime; Cosmo Brown in a KATS’ production of Singing in the Rain; Captain Von Trapp at KCC; and Romeo with the Inn Theatre Company.
KCC was a major step on his career ladder, with Joe calling them "always hugely supportive of the path I wanted to take". Joe said: "My love of performing was forged and fuelled by my drama classes and every school production. I want to give special thanks to Mr Lewis, Mr Newman, Mr Courtice, Ms Mitchell and Mr Johnson. Oh, and Mr Davies for using my essays to teach me what attrition means..."
My love of performing was forged and fuelled by my drama classes and every school production
Since graduating from Italia Conti, Joe has already secured an agent. When asked about the next step, he said: "Trying to find work really. The industry is incredibly insecure right now, and so my year is having to work extra hard to apply for any work we can. Then it’s a case of hoping to receive opportunities from my agent and then auditioning or sending off self tapes to casting directors.
|Joe with a cast he worked with |
Joe said he wants to do "anything they'll let me" in term of acting, but his real home is on the stage. "I don’t think you can beat the energy gifted by a live audience", he said. "In particular, I’d love to perform at the Almeida Theatre in London. Or in a tour where I get to come back to the Theatre Royal. That would be amazing."
I’d love to perform at the Almeida Theatre in London...or in a tour where I get to come back to the Theatre Royal
When asked if he wanted to thank anyone for their help in achieving his degree, he laughed, "oh god the list is so long!" He said: "Every single person involved in all of the local theatre companies. Every teacher I had at KCC (and some that I didn’t). The whole MAD Family - special mention to Aunty Jill. Max and Janie at the Inn Theatre Company. Ricardo Barros for his singing wizardry. Every tutor from my course. And every single person in my year at Italia Conti who made sure that we laughed our way through the ups and downs of the course.
"Most importantly, my family and friends. Their support has been overwhelming and I truly would not be where I am without them. Juggling life and my course almost broke me a few times, but their love kept me going. Thanks to my Dad for teaching me to care but not worry (and for putting up with all my keyboard playing when I was finishing my dissertation…).
The most thanks of all to my sister, Claire, I don’t have the words for how much she has helped me
|Joe with his big sister Claire Tapper|
"And the most thanks of all to my sister, Claire. I don’t have the words for how much Claire has helped me. She has been a guiding light and my rock throughout some really difficult times. Anyone who knows us knows what she has done for me. I love her with all my heart and I hope to make her proud with whatever I do."
I love her with all my heart and I hope to make her proud with whatever I do
With a little bit of advice for others thinking about taking steps along the same path, Joe said: "I think it can be very easy for kids to feel pressured into taking certain paths in their lives. I would urge parents to have as many honest conversations with their children as possible so they can help their child on the journey that is best for them.
"I promise that when you get to do something that you love with your time, the rest will be worth it. You don’t have to be so worried about the destination if you enjoy the journey. That’s what I think anyway. But what do I know? I’m only 22."
You don’t have to be so worried about the destination if you enjoy the journey
Joe is heading back to Devon for a few months to save up some money before moving back to London, while hopefully popping up and back for auditions.
We wish Joe all the luck in the world and will look forward to seeing his name in lights!