6 May 2020

Isolation Interviews: Matthew Churcher

Next up on my Isolation Interviews series is actor and musician Matthew Churcher. Matthew's stage credits include Wolves in the Walls (Little Angel), Pippi Longstocking (Royal and Derngate), Peter Pan (National Theatre), White Teeth (Kiln Theatre) and War Horse (National Theatre). He is also part of the band Citadel. Visit https://www.matthewchurcher.com/ to learn more about Matthew.

Q - What was the first piece of theatre that you remember seeing?
A - I can’t accurately recall the first, but the first that I remember feeling blown away by was Jesus Christ Superstar at the De Montfort Hall. I hadn’t heard people sing like that before and it remains one of my favourite musicals. Also, Blood Brothers (maybe in Birmingham?) that knocked my little socks off too.

Q - What inspired you to get into theatre?
A - I’d always loved Theatre & Music growing up and life was taking me down the avenue of music as my full time occupation. It wasn’t until A-Level Theatre Studies and discovering companies like Complicite, Frantic Assembly and DV8 that made me seriously consider theatre as a possibility. I was incredibly excited by the prospect of creating work, so changed tack and move away from music.


Q - Who during your career has had the biggest impact on you?
A - All of my Tutors at Drama School have had a profound impact on my life. I’ve also learnt so much from everyone I’ve come across since leaving, every member in a company has something they can teach you either directly or indirectly. So it’s hard to narrow down. The entire cast of White Teeth at the Kiln theatre were incredible (as well as the team at the theatre) and they had a big impact on my life, especially surrounding a difficult personal time. They all hold a special place in my heart.

Q - What is your favourite musical movie?
A - LaLa Land is up there. I’m a Jazz musician as well as an actor, so it ticked all of my boxes. I think the Mia and Sebastian main theme is a simple & beautiful motif.
Also, Ray with Jamie Foxx. Stunning film and acting masterclass.

Q - What are your favourite show tunes? (You can pick up to 5 songs)
A - Breathe, from In the Heights. I’m a sucker for Latin music, give me a cowbell and a trumpet in a song and I’m yours! You really go on that journey with Nina and feel her turmoil as she wrestles with expectation and reality.
Also, Heaven on their Minds - Jesus Christ Superstar, Seeing You - Groundhog Day and all of West Side Story come up frequently on my playlists.

Q - If you could tell your younger self something what would you tell them?
A - Get out of your own way. So to that end, start meditating earlier. And if meditation isn’t your bag, then learn to accept yourself and dissolve your judgement via other means. This time, while we’re all in isolation is a great test of that - most of us aren’t accustomed to sitting with ourselves, our thoughts and learning to accept them, let them pass. It's a huge challenge and one worth wrestling with.

Q - If you could have dinner with 3 theatre-related guests (doesn't have to just be performers). Who would you invite and why?
A - Simon McBurney from Complicite would be there, he’d ask some provoking questions.
Robert LePage, he a McBurney could spar with one another and I would politely watch in awe, not adding much to the conversation.
And obviously Phoebe Waller-Bridge, we’d make and drink all the cocktails and make silly jokes.

Q - If you were to write an autobiography of your life so far what would you call it?
A - Am I doing it right? I think this is right? Oh god, its not right is it?

Q - If you could play any of your previous roles again, who would you choose to play?
A - Tough. Every role has provided its own set of unique challenges and joys, but if I had to choose I’d say George Wilson in the Immersive ‘Great Gatsby’ in Mold, Wales. As an actor you were constantly in a scene, there was never a moment to stop and think and the landscape was constantly changing. That level of intensity taught me a lot.

Q - You were part of Royal and Derngate's production of Pippi Longstocking over Christmas time last year. How much of a fun show was that to be part of? (It looked great from the audience!)
A - Pippi was SO much fun. The Cast, Creatives and Crew were all so wonderful to be around. Genuinely, I have never been part of such an easy process - I felt very calm and relaxed from start to finish and I think that ultimately falls down to the care, planning and attention of our two directors Helena Middleton & Jesse Jones.
I also enjoyed wearing the snazzy shorts everyday, that Katie Sykes had designed so brilliantly.

Matthew with Emily-Mae Walker and Philippa Hogg in
Pippi Longstocking. Photo by Manuel Harlan

Q - 
Away from the theatre what are your other favourite hobbies?
A - Drumming and more drumming, love it. Buying overpriced coffee and not feeling bad about it because it brings me joy. Drinking Rum. Swimming in the sea. Or a lake. Or a big puddle. I like outdoor swims.

Q - Can you tell us something we wouldn't know about you?
A - No. It’s a secret.

I'd like to thank Matthew for his time and for taking part. If you'd like to learn more about Matthew's career please visit his website https://www.matthewchurcher.com/. You can also follow Matthew on Twitter https://twitter.com/M_Churcher

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