Kevin Guthrie graduated from the BA Acting programme in 2011 and has achieved remarkable success in the past few years. We caught up with Kevin to find out more about his most recent projects and what he’s learned from working in the industry.
You graduated in 2011 and you’ve been working consistently since then. What projects have you enjoyed most in your career so far and why?
I’ve been very fortunate to have had a wide range of work within the first few years since graduating. It’s difficult to single any job out as my favourite however working on something like Sunshine on Leith was an incredible experience. It was my first experience of filming on such a cinematic scale and the exposure that comes as a result of that. I loved the people, the cast, the crew, the director – everyone! We created a very special bond and that, I think, is why it has translated into such an enjoyable film experience. Going on to work on an epic like Sunset Song was a pretty amazing experience also – the intensity, the material, the cast and working with an iconic director like Terence Davies, I was pinching myself throughout that entire job!
You’re working with RCS alumnus Robert Carlyle on The Legend of Barney Thomson which also features Emma Thompson and Ray Winstone. What has it been like working on this film and have you picked up any tips from your fellow actors?
Working with Robert ‘Bobby’ Carlyle on Barney Thomson has been wonderful. Bobby was very kind about my work and asked to speak to me about the potential of working on the film – and of course I jumped at the opportunity. Working alongside Bobby, Ray and Emma was a dream come true. I was able to just soak up all of their experience and expertise and apply what I felt was right for developing my own craft. It was really eye opening and has helped me develop for subsequent projects.
After studying at drama school, what parts of your training did you enjoy the most?
I was fortunate (one could argue) that I only studied at RCS (or the Academy as it was known then) for two years. Part way through my second year I was asked to play Peter Pan with National Theatre of Scotland and the school was happy to support my full-time work and use that as assessment criteria. I fully support and endorse the idea that students can go out to gain experience in the industry whilst studying.
When I was studying in Glasgow, I really loved the work we did with text. The level of detail we would go into and the development of character, back story, given circumstances, etc was a great building block for the future. I also thrived on the performances of the American plays at the end of the first year. I really enjoyed pitting my wits against my peers in front of an audience – I loved the thrill of my first performance at the school, it was a real life achievement.
What other alumni and tutors do you keep in touch with?
I’m good mates with James McAvoy, which is odd in itself as he was a bit of a hero of mine beforehand. I was fortunate enough to get involved with James through the vehicle of five aside football in London when I first moved down. We kept in touch and worked together on Macbeth in the West End then became close mates as a result.
I also keep in touch with David Hayman, Mark Bonnar, Greg McHugh, Shauna MacDonald and Daniella Nardini.
I haven’t been able to keep in touch with too many of the tutors from the school as I moved down to London almost immediately. I have however, popped in now and again and hugged it out with the legend that is Jean Sangster (Head of Voice).
What opportunities are there in Scotland and the UK for young actors who want to break into the industry? Do you have any words of wisdom you’d like to pass on?
Scotland is financing and producing more films and television programmes than ever before, now is a brilliant time to be a graduate! The National Theatre is an incredible platform as well as all the theatres around the country. I’ve always said I’d love to do an Oran Mor production before too long. In terms of advice, I think it all comes from within the individual. I think it’s about bravery, desire and determination. Be truthful with yourself and realistic about what you feel you can achieve, set attainable targets for the first year or two and strive to achieve them in that time frame. If possible, secure a strong agent and establish a positive and open relationship with them. That’s half the battle!