Sam Lathwood is an actor and model, appearing in shows such as ‘Elf The Musical’, ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ and ‘Cinderella’, and has most recently appeared as a vocalist in the upcoming ‘Mary Poppins Returns’ film.
“I don’t think I’d be where I am today, nor would I have achieved my goals without having ‘Manchester’ there to help me.”
What’s your most significant accomplishment to date?
I think my most significant accomplishment would be when I came home to Manchester for a few days to visit my parents and received a phone call from my agent with my very first ‘West End’ job offer. I was very lucky to have been accepted into my number one choice of drama school (The Arts Educational Schools, London) with a full scholarship when I was just 18 and still living in Manchester with my incredibly supportive family. You pack your life away to make this huge life leap and move to a strange, new city. You train intensely for 3 years through laughter and tears trying to perfect your craft. You hope that by the time you reach your final year that you will have a long list of agents who wish to meet with you to talk about representing you and your talent. But there is never a guaranteed ‘job’ at the end of it all. Not a day goes by when I don’t take a moment to appreciate what I have been fortunate enough to have achieved since leaving drama school BACK in 2012. I often look BACK at the little boy who used to dance and sing and act just for fun, even when it wasn’t the ‘cool’ thing to do, and hope I’ve made him proud.
Who inspires you?
My family and friends inspire me the most. My family because they’ve been with me every step of the way supporting me from day one and I want to keep making them proud. I even think about them before my nerves and I walk through the door of every audition. My friends because we watch each other get accepted and rejected on a regular basis, we go up for the same jobs together to the point where its neck and neck and one might get it over the other but we still encourage and inspire each other. I’m a massive believer in other peoples success does not affect your own and to be happy for people, and this applies more so than ever with my friends. Finally, the children that I work with every single day, they remind me that even though the job we do is very demanding and the hours are crazy sometimes, to still have fun. They make me laugh every single day. We do this because we love it and we’ve been lucky enough to turn something we love and enjoy into a career.
How has living and working in Manchester helped you achieve your goals?
I don’t think I’d be where I am today, nor would I have achieved my goals without having ‘Manchester’ there to help me. There was so much for me as a young boy growing up that I count as my platforms. I used to dance as a child every weekend from Ballroom and Latin American to Ballet and Tap. I used to attend acting classes in the centre of Manchester after school. I used to do extra work on locally filmed soaps and couldn’t believe my luck. When I got older I joined an all boys dance company in Salford called ‘The Salford Lads’, something I thought could never even be a ‘thing’ and loved every single second of it from every rehearsal to every performance because I was aware that not every boy at my age across the UK had opportunities like this. The secondary school I attended (The Swinton High School) became a specialist school for the performing arts and they had a dance studio built in the school alongside a beautiful theatre. I had teachers at that school who really encouraged me and helped push me in the right direction, these teachers who I still keep in touch with even now and are still supporting me to this day (you know who you are). I attended Pendleton Sixth Form College to study Musical Theatre and A Level Dance and that’s when I realised I really wanted to pursue a career in acting and theatre. The incredibly supportive teachers there worked above and beyond to do whatever they could to not only help you achieve good grades, but to also help you get into drama/ dance schools and universities. They believed in every single student. I’ve been very lucky that my job has brought me BACK home to do shows such as Hairspray and Elf at The Lowry Theatre in Salford. I’m now very excited to be returning home for 10 weeks to perform at The Palace Theatre with Matilda!
What advice would you give to your 16-year-old self?
I would’ve told my 16-year-old self not to worry, what is for you will not pass by you. To grow up as a boy who loved to sing, dance and act wasn’t always looked at as the ‘normal’ thing to do, yet I always knew it was the right thing to do. What other people think of you is none of your business and everything will always be alright in the end.
What are your goals of 2018?
I’m lucky enough to be a part of the original UK and Ireland Tour cast of Matilda the Musical, this job takes me through to the end of August 2019. Therefore my goal for this year is to keep pushing myself and to always improve. Always exceed expectation and continue to love and enjoy each day of this very special job.
Where do you see yourself in twenty years’ time?
I’m very much a ‘live in the moment’ kind of guy and rarely think about what might happen twenty years into the future. I’m extremely happy heading in the direction that I am going, I adore choreography and understanding the story behind why a piece of choreography exists. I’m currently Assistant Dance Captain on Matilda which is choreographed by the genius that is Peter Darling, every piece of choreography has been thought out with a connection to Roald Dahl’s story that we tell on stage every night and I find that fascinating. Hopefully one day I can go into choreography and transpose everything I’ve learnt into my own material on stage, that’d be pretty cool!