We meet many students who go for it, who step into the space and are completely at home in the imaginary world of the theatre. Today I want to talk about one of those students who is already making a mark as a professional performer.
On Saturday we went to see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of The Box of Delights. Playing the lead role was Callum Balmforth who, until a couple of years ago, was a student at Waltham Forest Theatretrain. After Theatretrain he trained on the excellent two-year course at the Redbridge Drama and Dance College.
He joined Theatretrain in 2016 and I remember him performing in the pouring rain in a production of Twelfth Night in Brixen in North Italy. I also remember working with him online in a one-to-one acting class during the pandemic. In 2019 we took students from all over the country into London to present Statuesque – a dance piece performed beside many theatre statues and Callum as usual, brought along his energy and enthusiasm.
I saw early on that he had something. If you asked me to define what it was, I’d say he is very focused on what he is doing. Nothing distracts him and he really listens on stage – he is connected. He also happens to be very humble; you couldn’t imagine him ever becoming big-headed. I’m so proud of him and I know Gemma, Erin and Owen at Waltham Forest TT feel the same way.
And his rise has already been fantastic. On graduating he played Peter Pan at the Leeds Playhouse and Dick Whittington in Cambridge. He also found time this year to be in the Netflix production of Queen Cleopatra.
In this spectacular production at Stratford upon Avon, he was hardly ever offstage but he took everything in his stride and made a totally believable journey set in the 1930s. He also performed with a miniature puppet-sized version of himself. I hope he gets to keep it.
Congratulations Callum. You are one of those people who show that hard work, focus combined with talent pay off.