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Alumni Profile: Oliver Barnett

Berridge Alum and Program Assistant, Oliver Barnett

Oliver Barnett is an actor living in Oxford, England. He attended Berridge in 2013, 2014 and 2015 as a student. In 2016 he started working for Berridge while pursuing his MA in Shakespeare at Bath Spa University. We recently spoke with him about his Berridge experience:

When did you first realize you wanted to be an actor?

I don’t know if there was a conscious moment. It was something I always really enjoyed doing but going to Berridge did make me realize that acting was something I could pursue as a career.

What kind of acting training had you done before Berridge?

I had done weekly classes in the village next to me. After that one stopped, a friend of mine told me he was going to a new one and I said I would come along. The person who was running those classes was Andrea Mardon, the Founder and Director of Berridge Programs. She encouraged me to come to France and do the program. The only real acting education I had had before Berridge was from Andrea herself and I was sixteen or seventeen when I went to Berridge for the first time.

What impact did Berridge have on your perception of yourself as an artist?

The thing I’ve found unique about it is how it’s all about the process of acting, what you learn along the way, and even the mistakes you make. Berridge taught me that there is always success in failure. Even if you don’t initially realize it, later it becomes clearer.

Actor performing dramatic monologue
Ollie performs in a scene from Dangerous Liaisons at Berridge 2019

Which skills that you learned at Berridge have been particularly useful in your life as an actor?

Definitely learning to be part of a creative community. To be a great collaborator, a generous scene partner, a joyful fellow artist. I’ve gotten so many acting jobs through learning that skill at Berridge. To be someone that everyone wants to work with, someone who is reliable, fun, on time, prepared...that is the best skill to cultivate to have success in acting. Berridge teacher Duane Daniels says it so well "Acting professionally is the most fun party you'll ever go to. Every job you have make sure you are the best party guest on the planet. Be polite, be prepared, be early, be kind to everyone, go the extra mile. Then you'll keep getting invited back to the party."

How was Berridge instrumental in your decision to pursue acting professionally?

Berridge helped me not only get good as an actor, it showed me a clearer path to my professional life and gave me the confidence to pursue it. I met Simon Purse at Berridge who introduced me to the Cue Script Technique with Shakespeare. I started to really fall in love with Shakespeare's language, so much so that I decided to pursue an MA in Shakespeare at Bath Spa University! That was all because of what I learned at Berridge.

Oliver Barnett is an actor in London. He trained at Bath Spa University where he received a BA in Theatre and an MA in Shakespearean Acting. He is a graduate of the prestigious National Youth Theatre and a company member since 2021. Recent acting credits include Love's Labour's Lost for Shakespeare's Globe Education and Cymbeline for Bath Spa University.

Join us this summer at Berridge France for the summer of a lifetime! Live in an 18th century chateau in Normandy, France and Study Shakespeare, On Camera Acting, Directing, Acting Techniques, Improv, Musical Theatre or Filmmaking with teens from around the world.


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