The Spotlight Prize is awarded each year to the best UK drama school graduate. Each school nominates their best graduate student who have three minutes to perform live in front of an audience of showbiz professionals (actors, producers, agents, journalists, …) and a jury chooses the winner based on this performance. Past winners include Judy Dench and Jim Broadbent.
In 2010 Andrew was nominated by the Oxford School of Drama – rated one of the top 5 best acting schools in the world – and performed a monologue from the play Me, As a Penguin by English playwright Tom Wells showcasing his impeccable comedic timing.
(The play is about) about a young man from a small seaside town, who goes to stay with his sister and her husband in Hull to try and sample the Hull gay scene. It’s about what happens when you’re outside your comfort zone. Obviously there’s a penguin involved…
The main character Stitch has a bit of a relationship with someone who works in an aquarium and ends up rashly stealing a baby penguin in a moment of impulse. The theft takes place before the play starts, so the narrative is the fallout of that. Stitch is already openly gay, and I think his family is really supportive but the town where he’s from, Withernsea, is really rural and he wouldn’t be likely to meet anyone there.
(Source: What’s on Stage)
“I had a good think last night. While I was projectile vomiting. And I decided, perhaps the gay scene of Hull isn’t for me. It’s the vodka, I think. Among other things. Honestly. I looked deep inside myself. And I just found: wool. I’m not a great one for nightclubs, not a party animal. Can’t imagine I ever will be. I don’t even like sex that much, to be honest. Rather have a good yoghurt. I think the best thing I can hope to do with my life is. Knitting.”
(Source: Wells, Tom. Me, As a Penguin (NHB Modern Plays) (Kindle-Positions668-671). Nick Hern Books. Kindle-Version.)