Stefanie Martini is currently awaiting the release of her first major lead TV debut on ITV’s Doctor Thorne that is premiering early March. With all the buzz surrounding this newcomer, List For Life caught up with Stefanie to discuss what drew her to acting, her time in the theatre as well as alternative career paths.
1. What drew you to acting in the first place?
I think what drew me to acting at first was the feeling of it- how it’s scary, exciting, creative – and to be honest, the other people who did it as an extracurricular activity when I was at secondary school. I was a bit of a goth and at my local youth theatre there were all sorts of people who were different ages with different interests who were all funny and weird and that was okay. It’s so fun and I will always find it challenging. I don’t think I’ll ever be like ‘yup, nailed it.’, and the day I do, I’ll do something else. Also I saw Natalia Tena in a Kneehigh production of ‘Nights at the Circus’ at Bristol Old Vic and that changed my life.
2. Can you tell us about your time at the National Youth Theatre?
I did the two week induction at National Youth Theatre and it was the first time I’d spent a long time in London on my own, and it was amazing, as I’m from Hot Fuzz land/villages in North Somerset. I’m still friends with two girls I met there, and I remember running around Canary Wharf thinking I was in the future, really overwhelmed by everything. It opened my eyes to the huge theatre scene in London, and made me think of acting as an real career possibility for the first time.
3. And how did that experience affect your time at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts?
After NYT I did a lot of projects with Bristol Old Vic Young Company, being in plays as well as leading workshops and teaching a group of 11-12 year olds, which I think had a huge impact on me getting into RADA. We did a lot of devising, playing around with physical theatre and music, so that during my second year of auditioning (I didn’t get in first time round) I had a lot going on that I was excited about. But whereas that all taught me how to work in an ensemble and how to think about making theatre, RADA focused as well on me as an individual, which I needed.
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4. How does acting for a television show compare to on the stage?
Acting on screen is so new to me – and the same work and prep applies for that as for stage, I think, but the main difference for me is that in a play you go on a journey start to finish again and again, whereas on screen it’s more like a jigsaw. So getting myself into the right place for each bit for screen without doing the whole thing is something I’m still figuring out. Also in theatre there’s so many people right there with you in the space, which is such an exhilarating feeling – but then in screen you have the chance to spend hours on two minutes and be so so specific. They’re different but both wonderful.
5. What occupation do you think you’d be doing if you weren’t in acting?
If I wasn’t an actor, I’d be an illustrator. I did an art foundation after A levels and was fully set to apply to art school before I changed my mind and decided to stop being scared and just go for acting. I love making cards for people, life drawing and animals with hats on, whatever I feel like doing, it’s like a kind of meditation for me.
6. Looking back, what advice would you give to yourself five years ago?
I would say to myself stop being so self-conscious. It’s a waste of energy and no- one else really cares. Just work hard and enjoy it.