Daniel Boyd

Published in The Stage, February ’12

With the Royal Shakespeare Company’s artistic director Michael Boyd as a father, you might think that Daniel Boyd had always wanted to work in theatre. But the young actor only discovered his passion for the stage after undertaking training at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. He will now appear in his first major production since graduating last summer – playing Romeo in Headlong Theatre’s production of Romeo and Juliet.

How do you feel about your first high-profile project?

It’s completely exciting. Rob [Icke, the director] doesn’t feel like he’s seen a good enough Romeo and Juliet and has been disappointed with various productions. You feel a freshness with his approach. I had four auditions with different Juliets and I got really excited about what I was going to do, and making relatively brave decisions. But the second you get it, you think ‘oh no, I have to do it now’. There was a moment of apprehensiveness, but because the atmosphere in rehearsals has been brilliant that has gradually eroded.

What are the challenges of Shakespeare?

Rob wants to get away from that very grand way of doing Shakespeare. I think that can be quite distancing for the audience if you bellow like a French horn. I think the reason I was cast is that he is a fan of the naturalistic way of saying the lines. It is exciting when you see a play and think ‘I totally get it now’, rather than ‘you said that beautifully and rhythmically’ – I don’t think that turns people on.

Is training important?

Now that I’ve trained I can’t imagine what it wouldn’t be like. I had originally applied to drama school because I was a fan of film acting but I had the amazing privilege of falling in love with theatre while I was there – I owe drama school that. I think it also stops you being scared of stuff and changes your perceptions of what a good actor is.

Was your dad an influence on your career choice?

Not really, he just let me get on with it, in the loveliest way. Obviously like he is an inspiring dad, and obviously every boy or girl wants to make their parents proud. He is interested, and helpful and supportive but no more than I think he would be with anything. I really appreciate that.

Would you work with him?

I’ve always said that I would never want to be at the RSC while he was there. I would feel strange – I wouldn’t want other people to think it was nepotism, even though I’m sure that wouldn’t be the case. I’d love to work with him at the stage when, and I hope this happens, but who knows, I was established enough that it makes sense.

How do you unwind?

I’ve got the same bunch of friends in London that I’ve had since I was 11. I like watching football and listening to music. Staying in touch with that keeps you saner.

Romeo & Juliet is on tour from February 2.