The young actor talks about his passion for dance, theater, and fashion and his great challenge: to play Romeo in a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic.

 

Oh, nothing more exciting than show time! Those magnificent and imposing theaters, that devoted audience, that emotionally charged atmosphere, and those backstage rushes. To live and be part of it is a lucky thing because you become part of a magical gear whose mission is to bring the works of great playwrights like Shakespeare into the real world. Rory Macleod is a young actor and dancer who is fulfilling his dream. Able to bring grace and beauty to his movements and character and strength to his characters, this young artist represents the ambition and desire to learn of a generation seeking their own voice on stage. Now it’s time to be the legendary Romeo in the new adaptation of the classic, this time directed by Matthew Bourne that promises not to leave us indifferent. The dance for Rory Macleod has just begun.

Rory, it’s a pleasure to talk to you. Tell me, how do you define yourself as an artist? What kind of stories would you like to tell as an actor and dancer?

You’re asking me this question at a really exciting point in my life. I still feel like I only JUST graduated from college (2021) and feel blessed that I immediately joined my dream company, Matthew Bourne’s New Adventures. I’m currently touring with Romeo & Juliet, my fourth production with the company, and in doing each show I’ve been in the midst of discovering who I really am as an artist. Ultimately, my goal is to be a part of projects that have an impact and a lasting impression on the audience – obviously right? But Matthew’s pieces I find are so routed in the story – the way he creates and directs us I mean – and when I’m dancing in his company I sometimes feel more like a part of a storyteller’s vision rather than just a dancer if any of that makes sense.

Can you tell me what is your earliest memory related to the theater? Do you remember any musical or play that meant a lot to you especially when you were younger?

The piece of musical theatre that really took me was actually in cinema. My parents really surrounded me with film growing up and I always reached for musical films. I rotated Hairspray over and over again, as well as The Wizard of Oz and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on DVD every night for weeks on end. It took me reciting the songs and the scenes word for word every day for them to see my extreme interest in the arts and that inspired my mum to take me to a local musical theatre class and my love for performing grew from there.

Who are your influences in the world of theater?

There are too many… I am influenced by everyone I meet in some sort of way. I could give you big names but truly I learn so much from people I work with. I can see how people work and how they develop as artists up close and I really take a lot away from that.

When was the first time you were on stage?

Funnily enough, my first stage show was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In 2010, the show toured the UK and I was cast as a local boy in Edinburgh. I already loved the film version so to be able to perform in it was obviously so exciting for my 9-year-old self. Being on stage was the first time I experienced true excitement and when the show ended I craved that feeling so much.

Tell me about a special memory you had on stage.

My first show with the company was Nutcracker!, and I got the chance to cover the title role. I made my debut towards the end of the contract and the support I had from the entire company on the day was immense and so overwhelming. At such a young age I felt like I had ticked off such a huge goal of mine.

You are now starring in Romeo and Juliet, what attracts you to play this legendary love story?

As you said it truly is legendary. I think it’s beautiful to see what young people will do for love and this story is a classically iconic portrayal of that.

While we are talking about Romeo and Juliet, I would like to ask you, do you believe in love?

OF COURSE! Although it can be complicated at times, experiencing love in any form is such a euphoric feeling and I wouldn’t want to live in a world where that doesn’t exist. What is life even for if not love!! What the point of it all! Ahaha

What do you think this new version of Romeo and Juliet has that we haven’t experienced before?

This version of Romeo & Juliet is completely different from any version I have seen. There are so many versions of the show and Matthew has somehow found a completely new interpretation of it whilst staying true to its original plot. Verona becomes the ‘Verona Institute’, an institution for young people. The divide between Montague and Capulet becomes an unwanted divide between boys and girls, set by authority figures. Romeo is rejected by his political figure parents and Juliet faces serious sexual abuse in the institution. There is also lots of queer representation in this version. Another role of mine in the show is Mercutio, who is in a gay relationship with Balthasar, which ends up being its own tragic love story.

At Fucking Young! We love fashion and we’d love to know if you get involved in creating costumes for your characters.

I don’t have any say in creating costumes for the show but I think it would be so interesting to see what our cast would come up with if we could design our own interpretations. Being so far into the tour, you become so close to the characters you play, so I could easily pick out something I think they would wear.