We had the good fortune of connecting with Jim Rastall and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jim, what’s your definition for success?
I think the ultimate success is to accept yourself fully. That’s basically the same as saying ‘love yourself’ I guess. Because when we fully accept/ love ourself we are free to express ourself without fear of judgement. And to fully express ourself is to be alive. And being truly alive is success! A circular answer to a seemingly simple question…

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Over the years I’ve realised that everything I do is about facilitating freedom. The freedom to be (and express) yourself, trust your instincts, take the action you are called to take- to make the difference you are called to make. Helping people access this freedom, whether on stage and screen or in life, is an immense privilege. And it gives me a massive buzz too!

My journey so far has not been easy- although I recognise how lucky I am- and I want everyone to know it. I am not speaking from the top of a mountain here, I am very much finding my feet on the tough climb with no idea of how much further it is to the summit.

I suffered a great deal of rejection as a young actor (the truth behind the IMDb!). The pain of this rejection flares up sometimes and threatens to stop me putting myself out there. I am battling resistance as we speak, in fact. And in these moments what keeps me going is remembering that it’s not about me. I believe in the infinite potential of each individual and I believe in my ability to prove to their own potential to them- therefore to withhold myself is a selfish act. And I don’t think I’m a selfish person. So what choice do I have…?

The main thing I’ve learned- and have to keep relearning- is that the path to success is paved with vulnerability. And that vulnerability can be fun! It’s the excitement of taking a risk where the upside is you get to live a wonderful life and the downside is – ummm- well, you are seen as human in the eyes of the world. Bring it on.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well this is a sore point because I moved to Manchester in the middle of the Pandemic so I’ve barely ventured out of my house!

That said, things have opened up a little bit lately and I’m really enjoying discovering what my area- Chorlton- has to offer. And the answer is: food and trendy coffees. This makes me feel right at home because I used to live in London, where if you don’t live by a trendy coffee shop you are legally entitled to take your local council to court on charges of neglect.*

Manchester is also surrounded by beautiful countryside. If you find yourself in the North West of England I would strongly recommend a trip into the Peak District National Park where you’ll be treated to some of the most stunning scenery in the UK. And only an hour and a half’s drive to the North of Manchester is the Lake District, which is like Jurassic Park without the dinosaurs ie heaven.

The city is also home to a thriving arts scene which I can’t wait to dive into. The Northern Quarter is at its heart with galleries, music venues and independent fashion boutiques everywhere you turn. A mile west of the centre there is also Salford Quays, and area now occupied by most of the UK’s film and TV industry as well as The Imperial War Museum, The Lowry Exhibition Centre and Theatre, and even an outdoor swimming facility if you are feeling brave.

*Not true

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
When I was training as an actor at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, I had the great pleasure of being taught by Writer/ Director Toby Hulse. He would come in and run a few hours of improv with us and it was always the highlight of my week. Through working with Toby I found a freedom on stage that I’d never had before. This freedom was routed in the practice of saying ‘Yes And’ to my scene partner, the situation, myself- the moment. In other words he taught me to be present on stage- and to enjoy it! Toby was largely influenced by the Godfather of Improv, Keith Johnstone, and so I became a disciple of Keith too. In 2019 I was able to work with him in Berlin. We spent a whole week ‘redefining our relationship to failure’, to use his words. We would deliberately fail, or at least put ourselves in positions where failure was basically inevitable. And sure enough, by the end of the week we didn’t care half as much about how something went. We got up on stage to have fun, we got up on stage for our own enjoyment above all. It was liberating, ego busting, and community building. Both Toby and Keith taught me lessons in life, not just acting, and I’m extremely grateful to them for their work.

Website: www.jimrastallcoaching.com

Instagram: @jimrastall

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-rastall-10b404aa/

Twitter: @jamesrastall

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/user/MrJamesRastall

Image Credits
Jack Lawson (Jamaica Inn) Ruth Crafer (colour headshot) Michael Shelford (b&w headshot)

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