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It's not all an act!

It's not all an act!

Posted Mon 19th Oct 2020 at 13:39
by Luke Montague

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Actor and director Luke Montague shares his experiences in the acting industry.

Hello everyone, thank you for taking the time to read this blog that Tourettes Action kindly asked me to write.

I’m an actor and director and as I write this, I am in the middle of filming something for TV. I cannot say what it is unfortunately, but no doubt you’ll spot me when it’s released. I always wanted to be an actor because, for me, it’s an escape from everyday life and my tics. I’m sure everyone has something they escape to, whether its singing, cooking or playing an instrument. It could be anything at all and if you don’t know what it is yet, then you have the amazing adventure to discover what that is.

What inspired me to be in actor I hear you ask? Well basically, I found it really cool playing loads of different people, animals, even furniture lol! At first, I didn’t think I could carry on acting when I got my diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome. Because, well, who’d employ an actor who makes noises and sounds beyond his control. However, I began to realise that all jobs could be a ‘who’d employ me’ situation so I decided to get out there and be the best actor I could be.

Is it hard? Of course it is. Do I care? Of course not - well to a point anyway.

Once, I remember I wasn’t allowed to audition for something because they were nervous about my tics. Rather than give me a chance to prove them wrong and show that my tics don’t impact my performance, they just said no. So, from then on, I set out to prove people wrong that ticcers do just as good as a job than anyone else out there. Many people didn’t believe I had TS, or that I must know what I was going to say and do. It hurts because if I did know what I’d say and do, believe me the world would be a better place for my anxiety. At one point I felt like I had to carry my doctors note to prove to people and say “no, it’s real, I have it and it’s a real condition. I’m not being a nuisance on purpose,” But why should I? It’s me - it’s who I am and it’s their issue, not mine.

I also run my theatre company Hear our Voices Productions, where we create work for people to get their voices heard to promote awareness in conditions such as mental health. I co-wrote a piece called ‘The Silence Between Us’ and another show raising awareness about Tourettes Syndrome called ‘What makes me TIC?’ The show shares stories from individuals with TS like me. Showing in Manchester November 1 - 3rd 2020 at the Anthony Burgess Foundation, (shameless plug).

Since I started acting full time, I’ve done shows on tour playing the lead in Beauty and the Beast as well as Scrooge in Christmas Carol. I also now have an agent. I hate talking about myself because I feel I get major imposter syndrome like I don’t deserve it. But I think what I’m trying to say is, don’t listen to what others say, be whatever you want to be. If someone shuts the door, don’t worry, another will be opening for you to walk through and you will own it. If people choose to be negative and condescending, that’s their issue not yours. It’s not your fault that they can’t look past the end of their nose and be open to change and/or acceptance.

The Tourette syndrome acceptance movement is happening, and society best be ready when it does. To quote Ronnie Barker in Porridge and please forgive the swear word, it’s purely for context - it’s something I live by!

“Don’t let the Bastards grind you down”


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