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Monday, September 10, 2018 2:03pm

5 Minutes with Mark Leonard Winter


Starring as the Narrator for Master Series 6: A Time for Heroes, Mark Leonard Winter is an Actor and Theatre Maker. Though he now resides in Melbourne, Mark grew up in Adelaide and attended school at Rostrevor and Flinders University before attending the Victorian College of Arts. 

We spoke to him ahead of his performance with the ASO to chat all things Shakespeare, music and Adelaide.

Mark Leonard Winter. Photo by Hon Boey
Mark Leonard Winter as Joe in rehearsals for Chimerica. Photo by Hon Boey.

ASO: I knew I'd make a career as an actor when...

Mark: There was never a lightbulb moment as such. I was first introduced to plays and literature at Rostrevor and was taught by two brilliant teachers Paul Fabbro and Bill Versteegh who opened my mind to the possibility of a creative life. I knew I liked engaging with big ideas of what it means to be human and creating new things so I followed the breadcrumbs and kept exploring this way of life.

If I weren't a professional actor I'd be... 

Probably a lot more financially secure and have a much less anxious mother.

Describe the best thing about being an actor.

There are many things I like about it. Not that it doesn’t have challenges. I like engaging with ideas that are bigger than myself. I love the community of people in pursuit of the elusive. Travel. I really enjoy the process of creating new works and making whatever contribution I can towards creating something that is satisfying and challenging.

Who has influenced you most as a actor?

There are just so many people. Maybe I’ll list three Australian actors who I admire for many different reasons. Ben Mendelsohn, Hugo Weaving and Robert Menzies.

In ASO Master Series concert, A Time for Heroes, you are performing Shakespeare’s 6 monologues. Do you have a favourite monologue and what is your relationship with Shakespeare?

Every time I work on Shakespeare I am just flawed by his seemingly effortless genius. When working on his writing you push your tiny boat out in the middle of this ocean and attempt to follow what the currents and tides are telling you. I long ago gave up any notion of perfection and Shakespeare. He is just too immense. You never arrive at a finished product, you just keep pushing forward knowing there is always further to go and some things will always remain just outside your grasp. All these monologues are amazing but ‘Once more unto the breach’ is a pretty astonishing proposition.

Can you play an instrument? If not, what would you choose to play and why?

I played the clarinet terribly. Really terribly. I’d rather not talk about that time in my life. I have romantic notions of sitting down at a piano on a wonky stool to play the Goldberg Variations like Glenn Gould.

Have you ever performed with an orchestra before?

No. This will be a first.

The best thing about Adelaide is...

Seeing my family.

I like to eat at… 

Ying Chow or East Taste (for old times sake).

When I’m back home I love… 

To have a drink at the front bar at the Exeter (again for old times sake).

Name three things people may not know about you?

I imagine people don’t know much about me at all but here are 3 pivotal facts:

  1. I am currently owned by a 6 month old West Highland Terrier called Rose. Owned.
  2.  Leonard is my grandfather's name.
  3.  I have a real fondness for listening to politics and news on the radio.
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