The Oxford School of Drama

Student Stories

Student Stories: Luke Barnes

The Oxford School of Drama

Luke is a Liverpool-based theatremaker. He graduated from the Three Year Acting Course is 2009 and is an accomplished playwright. His plays include The Jumper Factory at The Young Vic Theatre & Bristol Old Vic and All We Ever Wanted Was Everything at The Bush Theatre and Paines Plough Roundabout. His TV acting credits include Game of Thrones.

What made you choose the Oxford School of Drama over other schools?

When I was 18 I didn’t want to go to big city. Knowing my personality I knew a big city would swallow me up and I wanted to focus on learning to do what I wanted to do professionally in an environment that would allow me to focus and grow.

What do you think makes the training at the Oxford School of Drama so special?

When I was at the school it was the combination of the setting and the ethos. The idea that all you needed was an empty space, words, and people to change people in some way. Because there was no fancy theatre it was just minimum space. Just chairs and actors. I knew that that’s all story-telling was. I knew that big stuff was another level but you could tell stories just with people in a space.

Can you remember a time at the school that was of particular significance for you?

I remember a moment when I began to gain some sort of self respect as an Artist and person. George Peck was talking about his time at Oxford and said that any one can read enough to answer a question but what makes you special is if you know to ask it. That stuck with me; I knew that I could read as much as anyone but growth in the entertainment industry is about learning to ask the right questions and that came through real learning. We are all capable of that; there is nothing that separates me (a man with no qualifications) from the posh boys if I can learn that and learn about the significance of my body asking that. It really opened up the world for me.

Looking back, what aspects of the training do you particularly value now you are in the profession?

Making something from nothing. It’s still what I do now.

How did you find the transition from The Oxford School Of Drama into the industry?

Hard. It’s a big step but, again, OSD instilled an ideology in me that if I focused on myself, and the work, and not getting distracted by the big city party scene maybe I would grow into something useful. I hope I have?

Do you have any advice for graduates?

Make stuff and don’t wait for the phone to ring.