An actor, a director, a photographer, a teacher, a vocalist, a sportsman…Chris Marshall (stage name Chris Casserly) is one talented dude and friend. Currently living in London with his wife and three young children, Chris is presently dividing his time between acting and photography. This Christmas, Chris will be directing and performing in pantomime favourite Jack and the Beanstalk.
In terms of role models, who inspires you?
Actors who have worked their way from the bottom to the top of their game. Someone like David Jason spent years as an unknown stage actor in plays nobody watched, before going on to huge success on tv.
How have you dealt with the ups and downs of acting?
I have always been patient as an actor. I know that timing is everything, and we are always only one step from hitting the big time. That can happen early in a career or later, and I’ve always felt mine was going to be later. I have a deep voice which will be more suited to older roles. As you get older, there are more parts for men, and probably less people going for them. Patience!
Of all the things you’ve done and do now, is there one particular area that you feel most alive?
The buzz of performing to a big live crowd is like no other. It is like a drug and makes you feel very alive.
What has been among your biggest challenges?
Not taking things personally when I don’t get a job. Often it has nothing to do with me, but so many other variables. Who else they have cast in different roles, what size the costumes are, how much of the budget there is left – it could be anything. It is hard not to think it’s because I’m not good enough. It could be that too I guess!
Thinking about your own journey and for those with aspirations in the arts and further afield, what words of encouragement would you give?
Never every give up. If things come easily, we don’t appreciate them. Every knock back makes us stronger. Confidence goes a long way. Too much of it can be off putting, but nobody is ever going to sell yourself as well or as genuinely as you do. All the other jobs we do while waiting our turn, are character building and make is better actors. Life experience is like gold dust.
Although still a little way off(!), when you hit that 50 year old birthday, what would you like to be in the middle of doing and be able to look back on what you’ve done?
Despite being told at Drama school “never do a soap”, I would love to. I think the experience of acting every day with new script and challenges has to make you a better actor. There are some poor actors in soaps and some fantastic ones. I’d want to challenge myself as much as possible.To do what I love every day would be a pleasure.
Please would you leave us with some words that have helped you…
Bryan Robson (not the most theatrical man but former England football captain) summed up life as a sportsman, actor, comedian, musician, or any other profession. “It’s not how many times you get knocked down that defines you – it’s how many times you get back up again”
Actor I most admire:
Ian McKellen. I saw him live once and he made other excellent actors seem amateur.
Shawshank Redemption. Probably on most people’s list, but it wasn’t a success at the cinema. Which proves the point….!
Play with the cards you are dealt rather than try and stick to what you thought you wanted. I went to Drama school thinking I was going to be Hamlet. I have ended up doing 15 years as a pantomime Dame…. And I love it more than anything!