For the next Have You Met interview we go to Albert Square and meet actor Aaron Sidwell. You may recognise him as Steven Beale in Eastenders or from West End shows such as American Idiot or Loserville. Lets find out more about his journey and gain an insight into his career.
What’s your name, where do you come from and where do you live now?
My name is Aaron Sidwell. I’m from Maidstone in Kent and I currently live in Stone Village.
Can you tell the readers what it is you do ?
I’m an actor and singer.
What is a typical day in the life of Aaron like?
I don’t have a typical day. That’s almost the point when you’re freelance in anything you do. I have stuff I try and do everyday. I go to the gym as I believe a healthy mind is a creative one, I try and play my guitar at least once a day, I speak to my children and cuddle my cats and I will always try and sit down and have dinner with my girlfriend on the rare occasions she’s home.
So you recently returned to EastEnders after an 8 year gap, how was that?
My return to Eastenders was just as you’d imagine really. It was like coming home and seeing your family. Adam, Laurie and I have all changed dramatically in 8 years so we’ve had a lot to relearn about each other but they’re family. I came back under the boss who had created my character first time round but now Shaun O’Connor has taken over, I may see some difference in the place but it really hadn’t changed in 8 years.
You have also appeared in the shows Loserville and American Idiot to name a few. Do you prefer TV or Theatre?
I don’t know if I prefer either. The two are completely different disciplines and can’t really be compared. Right now working on TV suits me as a person better than theatre, but I still miss the creative process of theatre.
Musical theatre was never something I was particularly passionate about. For me it was always about “the piece” rather than the genre. I feel like I’ve achieved everything I wanted to in that field. There’s plenty of shows I’d still like to do but there’s certainly other things that I would like to do so I wouldn’t rush back to musical theatre.
You are also a family man, how do you balance your acting career with family time?
Now I’m able to balance my family and work easily. Eastenders is great for that, however working in theatre is very hard. Often in the past the family has been sacrificed for the work.
What did 5 year old Aaron want to be when he grew up?
I wanted to be an actor. People find it hard to believe but I’m doing what I have always wanted to do. There was never anything else for me.
Can you tell us your best and/or worst audition?
My best audition was when I went to meet a creative team about a brand new project. I’d read the script and had loved it and when I met the team I loved them. It was the kind of meeting where you feel more like they’re trying to sell you rather than them. I got the offer I wanted 1st time of asking and began the journey that lasted 2 years. That was for Loserville.
My worst was for a panto company that shall remain nameless. I walked in and suddenly became aware that the flip flops I was wearing were a bad idea. From there on in it was just a car crash and I rang my agent to ask them to apologise on my behalf for such a terrible audition.
Any advice for aspiring performers?
This is the most commonly asked question and the answer is simple – Ask questions. Assume you know nothing and you will learn everything. Read everything you can read. Find a method and approach that works for you. Immerse yourself in what you do and you will come out on top and NEVER let someone put you off the idea of something. Give everything a try for yourself.
How was your time in the West End? Do you feel that it has helped you become a more well rounded actor and performer and helped with your return to Eastenders?
I’m glad I’ve had 8 years experience of life in general to take back to the show. I’m a better professional for it. My time in theatre has taught me that you can never take anything for granted. You can’t look around at what other people are doing and want that – It doesn’t work like that.
If you are happy in yourself then you are winning. Someone else’s success is theirs to enjoy and you have to enjoy your ride rather than long to be on someone else’s. It’s a tough business but if it wasn’t it wouldn’t be as much fun! I’m thrilled to have had the opportunities I have and it’s because of a lot of people working in West End theatre, from people like Steven Dexter and Kevin Wallace to Anne Vosser and Debbie O’Brien. It all helped me appreciate the job I’m at now.
You can catch Aaron most week nights on BBC one in Eastenders or find him on Twitter at @aaronsidwell