March 25, 2021

You Can’t play mad, sad bad or glad!

I was always told that you couldn’t play mad, sad, bad or glad because they are not characters, they are states that people can be in from time to time.


If you play a character as sad it’s one-dimensional. That’s dull to watch – a bit like playing just one note on the piano when there are so many other interesting possibilities. I like it when characters have opposite traits in them, they suddenly become much more interesting – for instance very angry but also wanting to laugh. It sounds impossible but It becomes intriguing and much more like real life because we know people can be contradictory. It’s that quality that makes them interesting.


They seem so real and believable and a big part of that is the not-knowing-what they will do next.”

I’m totally hooked on a Netflix TV series called “Call My Agent.” It’s French with subtitles and very addictive because the characters are so endearing. They seem so real and believable and a big part of that is the not-knowing-what they will do next. As agents (and there are loads of famous French actors knocking around as well) they are expected to be a bit off the wall anyway – and the scrapes they get into can be laugh out loud serious or fingers in mouth funny.


That’s the power of great drama – it’s universal.

All of human life is there – love, betrayal, complications, suspense and it sums well what I love about drama whether it’s in the theatre or on the screen. If it’s done well, I get carried away with it and excited by what is going to happen next. So much so that when the 4th and last series ends (I’m only two episodes away) I shall miss the characters as I miss some people – and they are not even speaking my language. That’s the power of great drama – it’s universal.


I’ll have to come back down to earth again. For me TV boxsets have been a godsend in the lockdown. I don’t binge watch. One episode a day is enough for me but you find yourself looking forward to it and wondering what will happen. Rationing it means I have so much choice when I move on.


I think the contribution to our collective lives by the dramas, soaps and mini-series are huge. They’ve played a big part in helping people carry on. Stories are important in our lives. I’ve always thought that’s why some people need gossip. It’s the story they want and sometimes we like to see people  going through a bit of misery because it makes us feel better about ourselves?


You can’t play mad, sad, bad or glad but you could have a go at all of them at once.


The foundations of the work that we do at Theatretrain are embedded in ancient art of storytelling.

For over 28 years Theatretrain Performing Arts Schools have been providing superior quality classes in acting, singing, and dancing to 4 –18-year-olds. Our theatre schools provide young people with an opportunity to develop their life skills and explore the world in which they live. To find your nearest Theatretrain centre and give your child the best possible start in life please visit

Theatretrain, a nationwide provider of weekend theatre schools for young people aged 4-18, specialises in weekly classes in acting, singing, and dancing. An emphasis is placed on learning valuable life skills such as confidence, empathy, courage, and resilience. If you know a child who loves to dance, act and sing or could do with a little confidence boost why not visit to find out what our performing arts classes can offer your child at one of our 80 locations across the UK.

Related Articles

The Greatest Love

In the late 80s, Kevin Dowsett would have made more money if he had a pound for every audition featuring The Greatest Love of All. The lyrics, while sometimes seen as cheesy, truly resonate. He witnessed many off-key renditions, but one moment at the Royal Albert Hall transformed the song into pure magic.
Read more >

Break a Leg    

Kevin Dowsett, Theatretrain's Artistic Director, delves into the intriguing origins of "Break a Leg" and shares his recent experience watching Madagascar Junior by Waltham Forest Theatretrain. His heartfelt reflections highlight the joy of seeing young performers grow, their ensemble spirit, and the bittersweet farewell to long-serving student Ben Owen as he heads to university. Break a leg to all our talented performers!
Read more >

Meeting in the Middle

Theatretrain Artistic Director, Kevin Dowsett, explores the significance of space and personal boundaries in British culture, linking it to theatre training. On National Handshake Day, he reflects on the handshake's role in defining personal space, from crowded trains to the stage. Discover how stagecraft teaches us to own our space confidently.
Read more >

In the Room    

Welcome to Theatretrain's blog! Kevin Dowsett, the Artistic Director, shares his recent experience returning to the classroom. In a movement workshop at The Place in London, he worked with a Laban expert from Brazil, exploring creativity through movement. Discover how these exercises inspired flexibility and connection, and the lasting impact they had on him and his peers.
Read more >


Kevin Dowsett, Artistic Director of Theatretrain, recently attended a captivating production of Matilda Jr. The young cast, many performing for the first time, dazzled with their enthusiasm and stage presence, especially during those powerful songs. 🌟 From Roald Dahl's book to Tim Minchin's musical, Matilda's charm continues to captivate audiences. 🎶✨
Read more >

Computer Says No

Kevin Dowsett, Artistic Director of Theatretrain, reflects on the frustrations of modern complexities in everyday tasks. Drawing a parallel with The Truman Show, he highlights how simple processes have become burdensome due to excessive regulations and risk aversion. Dowsett's insights resonate with anyone who feels thwarted by bureaucratic hurdles in an increasingly complicated world.
Read more >