This week I received my very first acting paycheck. Until recently, everything I’ve done has been purely for the love of it (well, and to gain experience to boost my acting CV, along with trying to improve as an actor). However, I recently had my first professional acting gig with Thursday’s Child, a new play by local playwright Clare Campbell-Collins.
Earlier this week, the cast (three in total), director and playwright got together for a little catch-up, and the chance to give Clare any feedback about the version of the play as it was performed. It was lovely to see everyone again, if not slightly surreal. Since the last performance back in March, my character Anne has been floating around somewhere over my shoulder, still hanging on and not sure what to do with herself. Seeing everyone from the play brought everything back, and suddenly I felt Anne stop hovering and seat herself comfortably but firmly on my shoulder, watching everyone and waiting for her turn to come back into the action. There are plans to bring the play back for a few more performances in the summer, which pleased her very much.
After the jovial hugs and pats on the back, Steve, the director, handed us each a small envelope with our character’s name scribbled on it. I held it in my hand and felt the thickness of notes inside. I put the envelope in my bag and thought no more of it until I was back at home several hours later. It didn’t seem real, actually getting paid to do this. Someone would actually give me money to act? Surely not. Thus I convinced myself the envelope simply contained a little note; a thank you for doing our best and giving a good performance. When I came to actually opening the thing, I felt genuine surprise as I rifled through the notes. Sixty quid – not bad for a first go! Not bad at all.
I still can’t believe I actually got paid for doing something I love, and something I would have done anyway, monetary reward or not. I haven’t done anything with the money yet of course. It still sits in the envelope, tucked away in my room. Every now and then I get it out to look at and just hold in my hand. The money still feels like it’s not quite mine. It would feel strange if I were to take any out and spend it, almost like borrowing money off a friend. I’m still waiting for Steve to ring up and want it back. It hasn’t quite sunk in that it’s mine.