Hold the phone? Actor Scott Miller goes from working at theatre reception to holding the reins on stage in War Horse

War Horse
War Horse

SCOTT MILLER has gone from manning a theatre’s reception desk to starring on stage at one of Scotland’s biggest venues.

The Cumbernauld-born actor plays the leading role in War Horse, the latest National Theatre production of which opens at the SEC Armadillo next week.

But his early days were a world away from those heady heights.

“I got involved with the Scottish Youth Theatre when I was 12 and they were brilliant for me,” Scott, 25, told iN10.

“When I left school at 16 I worked there for four years.

“I was a performer at the children’s shows, trainee director, anything and everything really including answering the phones and selling tickets on the reception desk.

“It was like an apprenticeship and they took me under their wing.

“I can’t recall one particular moment when I thought that this is what I wanted to do, it all just seemed to fall into place naturally at the SYT where I got the time to grow up and learn.”

Scott landed a part in a National Theatre of Scotland play and then moved on to a prestigious drama school LAMDA in London, whose alumni include Brian Cox and Benedict Cumberbatch.

“Following someone like Brian is great as an inspiration, but ultimately it comes down to what you do,” said Scott, who graduated in the summer of 2017.

“You can’t think too much about anyone else and it’s pretty hectic.

“You start at 8.30am and finish at 8.30pm, six days a week. It’s intense and it shapes you as a person.”

Scott is looking forward to performing in front of a home audience with War Horse and is particularly keen to have family backing.

“My grandparents have always been my biggest fans,” said Scott.

“They are in their late 80s now, so it’ll be lovely to have them there.

“They weren’t able to come down and see me in London when I was in drama school.

“I’m really happy that they can come along, and the show they’ll be at is the one I’m looking forward to the most.”

Scott takes on the central role of Albert, who looks after horse Joey, an iconic part that has been played by the likes of Game Of Thrones star Kit Harrington in the past in London’s West End.

Getting the part was a long process, six auditions over a period of two months and with a lot of waiting and hoping for Scott.

“You have to just try and focus on each audition and not get pressured, otherwise you get stressed,” he said.

And having landed the role, there was still a lot of work to do.

“The whole team put in such a lot but we do get to do some really cool things,” said Scott.

“We went to stables and got to ride real horses and talk to the groomsmen.

“The whole idea was to get to know as much about that world as possible, so that when you rehearse with the horses as puppets it feels as real as it can be.

“It has to feel like a horse and not just that you are with puppeteers.

“There are 23 puppets in the show, between the horses, a goose, swallows, crows. And each horse will usually have three puppeteers.”

The tour itself is a big commitment for Scott.

As well as the UK dates, it will take him as far as New Zealand and Hong Kong over the coming months.

And he’ll be part of the international production through to the middle of next year.

“I think that all in all it will be about 18 months,” said Scott.

“Coming out of drama school you can be waiting for work or have a few days here and there.

“So I not only feel lucky to get such a long-running role but I actually feel pretty privileged to be part of something as iconic as War Horse.

“I saw it quite a few years ago and I know the impact it has on audiences.

“I hope that people who come along realise it’s essentially a love story and not about war.”

Meanwhile, Scott has another project on the go, a Biffy Clyro movie called Balance Not Symmetry.

The film, about an American woman studying at the School of Art who is dealing with the death of her father and has a romance with a local lad, was shot in Glasgow.

War Horse, SEC Armadillo, Jan 15-Feb 2