Sadistic vampires are irresistible | Mark Windsor on The Acrobat

Prolific and eclectic international film and theatre actor Mark Windsor speaks to MaltaToday about taking part in Unifaun Theatre’s latest stage chiller, The Acrobat (Blood Ties), adapted from the original story by Agnes Moon and directed by Stephen Oliver

Mark Windsor (back, left) in rehearsal for Unifaun Theatre’s upcoming production, The Acrobat. Photo by Jacob Sammut
Mark Windsor (back, left) in rehearsal for Unifaun Theatre’s upcoming production, The Acrobat. Photo by Jacob Sammut

Could you tell us a little bit about your career as an actor so far – when did you first decide to make acting your main profession, and how did you set about making the dream into something more tangible?

I’ve been a professional musician since the age of 19, and performed all over the world since then. I also work as a video editor and visual effects artist. It was around 1990, after I tried my hand at directing a couple of films, that I first became seriously interested in acting, but I didn’t feel that I was much good at the time. It was when I moved from Manchester to Berlin in 2007 that I really began to pursue it in earnest. I took as many diverse roles as I could, and would say I learned by just doing it and being around and watching people with more experience than me.

What were some of the most significant lessons you’ve learnt along the way on your path to becoming an actor, and how have you applied them to your subsequent practice?

I think one of the main things I learned or perhaps developed as I’ve gotten older is try to be fearless. Easier said than done, I know. But not to be scared of looking a fool in rehearsals. That’s what they are for. To try things and sometimes get them right, sometimes wrong. You learn from it all. And constantly push yourself. You really never know if you can do something unless you give it a go. That... and continuity (that’s the editor in me speaking!).

You’ve rubbed shoulders with some actors of significant clout along the way. How did these opportunities come along, and what were some of your most memorable encounters with celebrity actors?

I’ve found them all to be very nice and supportive. The jobs come through my agent in Berlin Crawford Talents. I suppose the funniest incident was when I had a tiny part in a film directed by George Clooney –The Monuments Men. I was using a bike for this one scene, and Clooney wanted to show Cate Blanchett how to park her own bike for the camera. He asked to borrow mine to demonstrate. When he gave it back, he said “Danke” to which I replied, “That’s alright, mate!”. He looked a bit startled at a northern English dialect coming from someone he presumed to be German!

As someone who toggles between the UK and Germany, how would you describe the respective experience of each country, when it comes to the acting profession? How do their theatrical/film scenes differ, also in terms of opportunities available?

They’re both quite similar, really. Once you get to a certain level of production, everyone knows what they are doing and are generally very supportive of the actors and technical people. Just recently, I asked my agent to try and get me more work in the UK and globally, rather than just in Germany. A bit like it did for The Beatles, Germany has given me the opportunity to hone my craft, and I now feel confident to take on bigger and more diverse roles.

What attracted you to participating in The Acrobat? How would you describe your character in this play, and what makes you excited about portraying him on stage?

I saw The Acrobat advertising for actors and for some reason was instantly drawn to it. I got the book by Agnes Moon, read it then contacted Adrian Buckle, the producer. It just so happened that I was coming to Gozo a few weeks later as I have friends who live there. Adrian met me, and offered me the part. I’ve always enjoyed vampire and supernatural themed films and books, so the chance to portray a rather sadistic vampire was too good to miss!

Are you looking forward to performing in Malta? What kind of reception are you expecting from local audiences?

Absolutely! As I said, I have friends who live in Gozo and my partner and myself usually visit them once a year. I adore Malta and Gozo, so it’s a real pleasure to have such an exciting part in a play, and getting paid to come to one of my most loved places. Getting out of the long Berlin winter for a while isn’t such a bad thing either! I hope the audience enjoy the play as much as we are enjoying putting it together. It has lots of twists and turns, some great characters, a bit of nudity, a touch of S&M and Vampires! What’s not to like?