Conversation with a talented Theatre Artist ‘Fanni Compton’
Fanni Compton is a highly talented Actress from the UK with what she describes as a ‘dark, quirky and oft disturbing screen presence’. She has worked in Film, television and extensively in Theatre and is currently in rehearsals for her new one woman show about suicide. Fanni kindly took time out of her busy schedule to speak with us
Pro Media Mag : Please introduce yourself to our readers.
Fanni Compton : My name is Fanni Compton and I’m an Actress from the UK. I won a scholarship to Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in London and graduated in 2010. Since then I’ve been working predominantly in Theatre in and around London.
When I’m not Acting I adore being creative in any way possible and so you will often find me writing poetry, playing my guitar, writing rap songs and spoken word, dancing and painting with watercolours although not necessarily in that order.
I strongly believe that knowledge is power and so, maybe obsessively, I’m always undertaking a new course or learning a new skill. This year alone I’ve gotten my Diploma in Counselling & psychotherapy, Diploma in Sports Nutrition & Performance, Diploma in Life Coaching, a certificate in Mindfulness for wellbeing & peak performance and I’ve taken an in depth course on exploring the importance of play. This has also been an important year for me in terms of learning more about Mindset & Positive Psychology, and is something that has and will continue to help me grow in my Acting career. My biggest mantra this year is ‘Everything affects everything else’.
Pro Media Mag : What inspired you to get into theatre?
Fanni Compton : That’s a good question! I never went to the theatre as a child and television played a very minor role in our family and even then, I was only allowed to watch certain programs, so it wasn’t until a lot later in life that I really understood what an Actor actually was. I guess however, I was always role playing or trying to elicit an emotional response from people by pretending to be something I wasn’t. I learnt early on that I was able to make people believe and feel anything I wanted them to and this became addictive. On many occasions I would test how far I could push the boundaries of truth and I think my best lie of all time was that Joanna Lumley was my Mother but she had given me up for adoption.
When younger, I recall watching Romeo & Juliet with Claire Danes & Leonardo DiCaprio and Ian McKellens’ Iago in Othello. On both occasions I was awe struck and amazed and I then understood that that was what I was put on this earth to do. To be an Actor. At aged 15 I got my first professional theatre role alongside Christopher Timothy and Gemma Craven in the world premiere of The Darling Buds Of May. I was hooked on treading the boards and I still am. I think I always will be.
Pro Media Mag : Tell us about your recent work?
Fanni Compton : I’ve possibly just had the craziest couple of years with personal struggles and so consequently haven’t been working as much as I’d like. In the past year however, I’ve been working incredibly hard behind the scenes networking, marketing, finding a new agent etc. I’ve also just sent my first Voicereel demo out as I’m trying to break into the Voiceover industry. I’m particularly interested in voicing Gaming characters and I’m currently working on my new website as we speak.
There is a lot of groundwork to get sorted after you have taken a break from the industry and I’m just about getting there now, ready for the new year. Bring on 2017!
Pro Media Mag : You won a regional talent competition and also came second in another one. Our readers would like to know about these experiences?
Fanni Compton : Ha! Yes! In February of this year I entered a regional talent competition and in the process I had a creative breakdown. All entrants had three days to get an act together and I thought, out of nowhere ‘oh, I’ll do a Drag King performance’ having had no experience of that before. I was going with the ‘if it scares you, you should do it’ ethos but it soon came to light that this was not going to be something I could just wing. With the competition less than 24 hours away, I sat down in the early hours of the morning and started writing and improvising and by first light I had a new character, Sally Singleton. The alcoholic tart with a heart who is always the bridesmaid never the Bride. I don’t know how, I really don’t, but, I came first and was crowned the 2016 regional winner.
In October of this year I missed out on first place by a handful of votes in a monologue competition ran by a leading online Casting Directory. I came in second position out of over a thousand Actors all competing for the Actors Choice Award. My Greek Tragedy entry can be seen on YouTube if anyone is so inclined to see me screaming, crying and howling over the loss of my child.
Pro Media Mag : Are you inspired by someone in the industry?
Fanni Compton : There are Actors who inspire me to better myself and my craft such as Meryl Streep, Ian McKellen, Dustin Hoffman, but recently I’ve been massively inspired by a guy called Ross Grant. Ross works as an Actor and Voiceover artist in the UK and last year I got involved in a group that he had set up called ACTONTHIS. The premise of the group is focused on Mindset, motivation and positive psychology and ultimately works with Actors looking to take their career to the next level. Ross, who runs weekly sessions and online book clubs, has battled with life issues and health complications and yet still continues to succeed and inspires others to do the same daily. He has been the catalyst for many things I have achieved this year and I feel I owe him so much.
It’s so important to have someone who inspires you to do and achieve more and to escape your limiting beliefs.
Pro Media Mag : What has been your best theatre venture so far ?
Fanni Compton : Wow! Tough. I’ll assume by venture you mean, role. One of my best EVER roles was actually whilst still at Drama School. Does that count? I took on the lead role of Hecuba in The Trojan Women and it was incredibly hard on an emotional level but also because I was playing someone forty years older or more. I was so blessed to have such a wonderful director, Jay Villiers, who pushed me way out of my comfort zone. My performance made my peers cry and I vowed that I would take this role on later in life when in my fifties or sixties. That’s the type of role you dream of as an actor of classical texts.
Out of school… well, that’s easy. I had a love/hate relationship with a role I played at Edinburgh Festival. I played the title role of Catherina Linck. Based on a true story, the play examined how Catherina lived and fought as a man in Prussia, was found out and then executed for sodomy. It was the hardest, most emotionally challenging, physically challenging and brutal role for me to date. It ruined me and was the making of me all at once. I shall never forget it
Pro Media Mag : We came to know that you got a grant by British Arts Council. Can you please share the details ?
Fanni Compton : This never would have come about had I not entered and won the regional talent competition back in February. It gave me the confidence to start thinking about writing and performing a one woman show but in order for that to happen I needed funding. I applied for a grant from The Royal Exchange in Manchester but I wasn’t successful and so I continued working on my script. In September there was an opportunity to apply for an arts development program with funding from The British Arts Council but as there were so many applicants I didn’t expect to be called in for an interview a month later. You can imagine my surprise when I was one of the chosen seven applicants and I felt so incredibly lucky to be given the opportunity to be mentored by some amazing people and have my work put in front of producers.
I’m currently in my second week of the program and I will be performing in January at The Grand Theatre in Blackpool.
Pro Media Mag : Have you set some goals to achieve as a theatre artist?
Fanni Compton : I have set many goals yes, but not just as a Theatre artist. I want to work for The Royal Shakespeare Company and work alongside Theatre greats such as Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart but I also want to have success within the voiceover industry, especially in the commercial and gaming sector. Aside from Acting I want to work more on becoming a motivational coach and mentor and I very much plan on taking over from Ruby Wax as an ambassador for Mental Health, not just In the UK but worldwide.
Next year is going to be pretty busy for me as I’ll be working on and finishing off my one woman show, I’ll be performing at the 2017 Shozam Festival in the UK and I’m going over to Los Angeles to study, network and meet with agents and producers. I’m so excited!