Greg comes from South Wales, an area of outstanding natural beauty, although he does confess that there is sometimes a little too much rain for his liking. He is the middle of three sons and part of a large extended family with lots of aunties, uncles and cousins who all live close by; he says …“there are lots of us”.
He has always enjoyed singing and as a child would sing along to recordings of a variety of performers who were famed for their high notes, discovering that he could reach the same notes as the singers he enjoyed listening to with ease. As he moved through adolescence and into adulthood he was surprised to find that he retained the ability to reach top notes, even though his speaking voice naturally lowered.
Whilst filming may, on occasion, be boring Greg does have a love of live performances. Some time before his appearance on B.G.T. he had been awarded a scholarship place at the prestigious Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, a famous school for actor training; unfortunately, and at the eleventh hour, personal circumstances meant he was unable to take up the place.
Greg’s love of live performance led him to apply and be accepted onto a performance programme being offered by the renowned Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, commonly referred to as R.A.D.A. In January 2014 Greg attended a course at this world famous institution in preparation for taking the Shakespeare certificates that they offer. These certificates are for those with a passion for drama, who love exploring the English Language and the sheer enjoyment that can be gained through the performance of Shakespeare’s work. Greg worked with R.A.D.A. tutors concentrating on a Shakespeare monologue and sonnet as a main focal point. Students were introduced to techniques and exercises used to analyse Shakespeare’s text and prepare for performance. Some of the topics covered included iambic pentameter, rhyming scheme, antithesis, imagery. The certificates help to develop transferable skills in sight reading, confidence and communication.
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Greg has received several invitations to appear in opera productions in the last few years; in January 2014 he was offered and accepted the chance to sing with Ensemble Serse who were to perform the opera La Didone by Jommelli as part of the London Handel Festival.
Ensemble Serse have a reputation for excellent productions of rarely heard works. Their productions strive for a high level of historical accuracy.
Greg was offered the role of Araspe, a complex character, in the five hour opera and commenced learning the part. Unfortunately it quickly became apparent that the time commitment that the opera would require was just going to be too great to be fitted in with all of the other projects that Greg had at that time, particularly the exceptionally full exam schedule that he was working through that year. With considerable regret Greg took the decision that he would need to withdraw from the opera.
A positive outcome of Greg’s involvement with La Didone however was that it afforded him with an introduction to a new vocal coach, the renowned Linda Hutchison. Linda teaches singing at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama having initially studied at the Guildhall herself, whilst there she won the Sydney de Vries Opera prize. After a notable performing career, which included working for the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company as a principal soprano, Linda became interested in the anatomy of the voice and is now a top adviser to singers. She is also a prominent figure within the British Voice Association. Greg enjoyed a happy collaboration with Linda for some three years.
Greg went back considerably further in time for the Channel 4 production to play a much less sympathetic character, that of an executioner in Channel 4’s production of ‘New Worlds’
The photographs below, left and middle, were taken whilst Greg was relaxing between shoots for the Channel 4 drama. The photos above and to the right are from the series. Greg admits to finding the sometimes long gaps between filming rather boring.
When out of term time gave him just a few free days in 2013 Greg found himself involved in filming work as an extra actor, something he has done before; in 2010 he worked in crowd scenes for the critically acclaimed coming of age comedy ‘Submarine’ doing night shoots around Swansea.
This time Greg carried out extra actor work for productions being made by Channel 4 and the BBC. The BBC made various programmes that were aired in 2014 to commemorate that in 2014 it was 100 years since the start of World War One.
The Crimson Field was a prime time drama that focused on the lives of both the military and voluntary nursing staff in a field hospital close to the front at the Somme. The environment was one the would have proved something of a culture shock for the middle and upper class Voluntary Aid Detachment (V.A.D.s) nurses who previously would have led sheltered lives in preparation for marriage and motherhood. Greg played a wounded soldier, a part that necessitated him being both ‘muddied and bloodied’ by the make-
Music, however, was not an area that was initially pursued as a career. Rather, when Greg finished full time education, he worked in a variety of hospitality settings; for some time he was the under manager of a restaurant in one of South Wales most prestigious hotels.
One of Greg’s hobbies as a young child was horse riding, something he still enjoys doing very much on the rare occasions that he can find the time to go. He is actually a very competent horseman having been taught by the sister of the Olympic champion David Broom and has won cups and trophies at various equestrian events.
More Low Downs
Greg has had very little opportunity to pursue any hobbies at the moment as music has, to a certain extent, ‘taken over his life’. In 2013 he started teaching a small group of students from a music shop in Chepstow, a pretty market town near his home. The small group grew considerably in number with ages ranging from six to sixty. Greg taught vocal studies, piano, music theory and composition. Many of his students were working towards the graded levels of the A.B.R.S.M. exams and the excellent results that they consistently achieved could well have been of the reasons for their expanding numbers. Greg was also studying for the higher level awards offered by this exam body, taking a raft of exams with them in music theory and practice; so the teacher was still very much the student. He also attended regular vocal coaching whilst waiting to take up his place at York University. York is of course a considerable way from South Wales and therefore his role as music tutor had to come to an end in September 2014.
Whilst teaching Greg also become a member of the St Woolos Cathedral choir and sang with the choir for both their Friday Evensong and Sunday Morning Services The Cathedral has been a place of worship for some 1500 years and is the Metropolitan Cathedral for Wales. The choir have been broadcast on both television and radio programmes. Greg also sung with the Llandaff Cathedral Choral Society.