Q&A with Dominique Moore

Dominique Moore is a professional actor and writer. After appearing on the West End stage in Oliver at The London Palladium aged 9 she was featured in the BBC fly-on-the-wall documentary series Paddington Green, where she was followed on her journey to winning ‘The Stage’ Newspaper’s Full Scholarship to train at the Sylvia Young Theatre School. Dominique has gone on to become a regular on our TV screens. Her list of credits includes: Tracey Ullman’s show for HBO & BBC, CBBC’s Hotel Trubble (where she is also credited as a writer) Holby City, Red Dwarf, The Dog Ate My Homework and appearing regularly in BAFTA and Emmy winning Horrible Histories, as various notable historic figures, including Rosa Parks and Mary Seacole. Dominique has built a prolific reputation for herself in the industry. So much so, she is now a trusted consultant among top children’s agencies in the UK and US advising them on talent for their client lists.  Many top industry professionals respect her opinion and judgement and she is continuously asked to suggest young actors for professional productions.

We caught up with Dominique to find out about the world of acting, and to get some top tips and advice.

  1. Did you always know you wanted to be an actor?

Yes!  When I was about 4, I started asking, how do I get on the TV or the stage? I would always write my own plays and force all my family to get involved. I was always writing, I lived in the library, and I was always becoming different characters – I was THAT annoying kid in the family! So yes it’s something I’ve always wanted to do.

  1. What was your first professional acting job?

My first professional acting job was in a BBC TV show called “Get Up Stand Up”, which was a sketch show. I played lots of different characters and was fascinated by everything. I asked so many questions (too many questions) and couldn’t quite believe I was on a professional TV set. I then went straight into the West End in Sam Mendes production of “Oliver” at The London Palladium. Whenever I’m at the theatre now, and the lights go down, it always reminds me of being back in “Oliver”, because that show would start out in pitch black and I’d be a teeny tiny 9 year old waiting in the wings eager to go on stage.

  1. What is your best and worst casting experience?

My best experience is probably from ‘The Physician’ casting. It was a film with Sir Ben Kinglsey and Stellan Skarsgard that I did a few years ago. I was told in the room that I had been offered the job. I think I  skipped all the way home! My worst casting experience, even though I think it was hilarious, would probably be a commercial casting I had where I had to do the most bizarre improvisation with only a chair and a table. I remember the director spoke me through the improvisation, I felt incredibly silly but just had to give it a go anyway. I was 99% sure someone would jump out and say it was a prank but it wasn’t. It was really funny though! Every casting I go to, good or bad, I can always laugh about it afterwards. I think you have to otherwise you go a bit crazy analysing it all.

  1. What would be your dream role, if you haven’t played it already?!

I do feel very fortunate that I’ve been able to play such a variety of characters but I’d say my dream role would include a sunny location, a musical moment and a bit of comedy.

  1. Do you prefer stage or TV?

I don’t have a preference. I love them both for different reasons. I love being on the stage and getting that instant reaction from the audience and it being live so never knowing what could happen! And I love with TV and Film you can have lots of different tries at it, and then when they edit it all together you have no idea really how it will turn out, but then you get to love it all over again once the editors have done their magic!

  1. What has been your most favourite role so far?

I can’t choose one! I really REALLY loved ‘Lottie’ who I’ve just finished playing in “Don Juan in Soho” at Wyndhams Theatre. I haven’t played a character like her since Chanel in “Footballers Wives Extra Time” for ITV2. Lottie and Chanel are the complete opposite of me; I think that’s why I love them. They say things I would never be brave enough to say. I will also never forget being young Nala, in the original cast of the “Lion King” at The Lyceum Theatre. I auditioned for a whole year and so when I finally got chosen, it felt like such a huge achievement! I learned so much working with the Disney Broadway team including the legendary Julie Taymor. I was then chosen to perform on the first night and press night so it was a magical experience.

  1. Aside from being very talented, why do you think you’ve been so successful?

I guess because I’m still doing it and I haven’t stopped. I’ve said “this is tough, I’ve had enough” a few times but then I have always been reminded in one way or another that this is the thing I’ve always loved, and once I’m actually doing it I love it, so that’s how I get past those moments of “AHHH Auditions!” and “AHHH its scary and awkward” and first days, and feeling like you really wanted that part and you didn’t get it. I just remember how much I enjoy it and so I want to do more and more of it! I think it’s something to do with sticking at it!

  1. Who is your favourite actor?

I have lots of favourite actors. I get obsessed! I will be really into someone and will watch everything they’ve ever done in their whole life and then I’ll find someone else, and watch everything they’ve ever done too. I admire lots of different actors. I love Toni Collette! I’ve loved her since the beginning of time. I’m a huge fan of “United States of Tara”. Three of my favourite actors I’m actually very fortunate to call friends: Rakie Ayola, currently starring in “Harry Potter and The Cursed Child”, Tanya Franks who is a such a brilliant versatile actress and Siobhan Finneran who can just do anything perfectly. I also love Thandie Newton, Sharon Horgan, Sheridan Smith, Viola Davis, Lena Dunham …. Oooo the list is so long!!! I basically love women who have mastered comedy and drama and have had a hand in the creative process, so writers or producers of their own work as well; those women inspire me.

  1. Who inspires you?

People who are different and go against the grain! I love people who march to the beat of their own drum. I’ve just finished reading Shonda Rhimes book- “Year Of Yes” and Lena Dunham’s book “Not That Kind Of Girl”. So people who decide: “this is what I want to do and this is what I want out of life,” and then just go and get it and don’t let other people stop them from reaching their goals.

  1. What are you working on at the moment, and how did you get the part?

I’ve just finished In the West End with David Tenant and Adrian Scarborough in “Don Juan In Soho”. A couple of days after I came out of that I shot a new commercial. I also have just started on a new animation. I can’t say what animations they are yet but I will be in three cartoons. They’re all very different characters with three different accents. I’m also arranging my next Dominique Moore Workshop, which is happening at the end of August.

  1. What’s been your greatest accomplishment as an actor so far?

I don’t know! I have no idea. Because I feel like I have so much more I want to accomplish. I don’t know if I will ever feel that I’ve accomplished something that’s great enough to be my greatest. I feel fortunate that I’ve been able to have a career as a working actor and I’ve been able to work solidly since I was 9 years old; I think that’s an accomplishment to actually have acting as my main career. I also love coaching my students as I feel like I get a great sense of achievement when I can pass on something to them from my experience and they benefit from knowing it.

  1. Do you think your training at Sylvia Young is crucial to where you are now?

For me yes, it was the only way I was able to train and get my foot in the door into the industry. I couldn’t afford to go and train, unless it was on a scholarship. I went to my local performing arts school part time called Paddington Arts which is great as they now let me run my master classes and workshops there, which is wonderful, they’re such a great support to me. So I went there, but only part time. I wanted to go somewhere that had an agency, and that was full time, where I could learn as much as possible, and Sylvia Young offered a full scholarship which I had to get in order to attend the school, and so for me, going there and training was crucial, as I wouldn’t have had an opportunity to be in the industry otherwise.

  1. If you weren’t an actor what profession would you choose?

I would probably be a midwife! Because I think they are wonderful people who can really have a huge impact on your life. I have a friend who’s a midwife, and she’s incredible. So yes I’d be a midwife… well I would try to be! I don’t think I’d pass!

  1. What do you like to do when you’re not working hard!

I love going on picnics and hosting friends and family for brunch or dinners. I’m a massive feeder. I haven’t had refined sugar for over a year and a half, so I’m always trying out new sugar free recipes. I also love being outside with nature, in the woods going for walks or going to the beach.

Now some advice for actors:

  1. What is your best piece of advice for aspiring actors?

I would say, ask yourself if it’s really the thing you love most in the world, because it’s so hard and there’s so much rejection. It needs to be the thing you love the most for you to keep going even when its tough. Also have hobbies and other things to do that bring you joy!

  1. How can an actor keep working?

Just keep doing it.If you don’t have a job to be doing, get some actor friends together, read a play together, read as many plays as you can. Keep watching things: TV, Film, and Theatre. Make sure you have everything up to date on your CV and online profiles including your images, your height, stats etc. have a great monologue where you can show off everything you can do. Just keep being creative and write your own things, work with other actors, put on your own plays; there’s no stopping you when you’re not doing a professional acting job to create your own work, so I always encourage actors to keep doing that.

  1. What are your best audition tips?

Be yourself – there is no other you. No one else can do you, like you! When you get that script, deliver those lines in a way that only you can. And be confident that the way you can deliver them will make it special enough to stand out.

  1. Do you think having an agent is important?

Yes, its really important. your agent will get you lots more opportunities. If you don’t have one yet, you can still promote yourself. using sites like StarNow and having your work up on your profile is a good way to get started and you can do things like short films before you have one, but yes I think an agent is very important.

  1. How do you know if you’ve found the right one?

I think it’s someone who you have a good connection with who is on the same page as you and has the same goals for your career that you do.

  1. What should an actor do when they’re starting out?

I think you should train as much as possible, self-promotion, workshops and master classes. Research people you look up to and see if they have classes and go and train with them. Look at other actors you admire or careers that you respect and see where they have trained. Watch as much as you can, and every where your profile is displayed like StarNow or Spotlight, make sure its up to date and you’re presenting yourself in the way you want people to see you who are casting.

  1. Finally, what do you want to do next?

I want to keep doing what I’m doing – a bit of everything. Another play, another TV show, film, commercial or cartoon! I’m very fortunate that I get to do a bit of everything and I would love for it to continue like that. I want to really expand my company Dominique Moore Arts, and find lots more talent who maybe don’t have the finances to train. I offer bursaries for young actors to attend my workshops; young actors who have the talent, passion and drive. I want to meet those kids and those families and I want to help them as much as I can. Help them to get an agent, and mentor and guide the next generation.

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