Swashbuckling success for Performing Arts student

6th May 2022

A former student from Stratford-upon-Avon College is living his dream and performing in the swashbuckling sensation Zorro The Musical at the Charing Cross Theatre in London.

Maxwell Griffin studied on the Musical Theatre course from 2014-2016 and had always dreamed of being a performer. With the support of family, friends and lecturers and no small amount of hard work and talent, Maxwell has successfully gained his professional debut in Zorro.

Max Headshot

As a child, Maxwell lived his dream by creating a theatre in his living room for anyone who would watch. Tina Griffin, Maxwell’s mother recalls: “He was born dancing! And anyone who visited the house would get to watch a show. My other children soon became his extras!”

Maxwell performed whenever he could, starting with dancing and incorporating singing and acting and when the time came for him to choose something to study for a career, performing was the way to go: “I realised that no other subject clicked for me in the same way.”

Choosing to study at Stratford-upon-Avon College was an easy choice: “Not only was it local for me, living in Banbury, but also I knew people who had studied at the College and wanted to follow in their footsteps.”

Maxwell thoroughly enjoyed his time on the Musical Theatre course. He details some of the things he enjoyed the most: “It was a great thing having a two-year course as it meant you can see the work other students do. Seeing work is the best way for young performers to learn. And getting to be in the shows was amazing too. Overall, the environment at college was wonderful; it felt like a family.”

Max was involved in a range of shows in College, including playing the lead character of Ren in Footloose

After college, Maxwell trained at London drama school, ArtsEd, before landing his first professional show with Zorro The Musical. Though the show began in Manchester, it was quickly cut short by the Pandemic: “After the show got postponed the time until it restarted was a whirlwind! I did so many jobs in between to support myself, but that is something you have to be prepared for as a performer. Its like surfing, you catch a wave, and the ride is great but at some point it will crash and you have to find the next wave.”

The industry is a challenge and can be dauting to aspiring performers. Maxwell’s mother Tina describes what you can do as a family member to provide support: “It is a competitive and cutthroat industry. As a parent you have to be realistic. Is it something they can manage? Both mentally and financially. It was a learning curve as a parent, but Maxwell was always passionate about what he wanted to do. He was also extremely resilient which is necessary. And we are confident in Max’s talent!”

And now Zorro The Musical is back! Maxwell is currently performing in the show which is running until the end of May: “I’m so thankful to be back! It’s a great show; the sword fighting, traditional dance numbers and amazing singing, I love it!”

Maxwell’s resilience and passion were further demonstrated when he was recently called last minute to cover the lead of the show. His mum Tina commented; “He was amazing!”

If anyone is interested is pursuing a career as a performer, Maxwell advises: “Know your industry before going into it, connect with others and learn from them. Be committed and driven. It takes a lot of small steps to reach a big goal, but you will get there and it is worth it!”

Find out more about the College’s Performing & Production Arts courses: SUAC Onstage