Meet the cast of Murder at Ackerton Manor | Andrew Scanlon as Roger Ackerton + other roles

Making his Lighthouse debut, Andrew Scanlon has killed it in Kinky Boots (Original Canadian Company & First US National Tour), as Captain Hook in Peter Pan (Drayton Entertainment), and in Neptune Theatre’s production of Sweeney Todd, just to name a few. Andrew was kind enough to chat with us about what drew him to this role in Murder at Ackerton Manor, how he approaches character development for complex roles (read: his multiple roles in Murder at Ackerton Manor!), and his most memorable audience reaction.

Andrew Scanlon as Roger Ackerton + other roles

Lighthouse Festival (LF): What drew you to this role in Murder at Ackerton Manor?

Andrew Scanlon (AS): Steven Gallagher, the writer and director of Murder at Ackerton Manor, is an old friend and one of my favourite theatre artists to collaborate with. Much like the work he creates, he is thoughtful, creative and incredibly funny. When he invited me to join the company of his joyful, original, zany play at Lighthouse, I immediately jumped at the chance! 

(LF): Can you describe your most memorable audience reaction?

(AS): After almost twenty-five years in live theatre, it’s hard to narrow it down to just one experience. I will say that over and over again, one of my favourite moment in the process of a show is the instant you come to places for the first time with an audience and hear the hum and energy of all those voices out there again. It never, ever, ever gets old. 

(LF): How do you approach character development for a complex role?

(AS): It’s easy to become overwhelmed in a big part. I always find the key is getting back to 2 fundamentals: What does my character want, and what are they doing to achieve it? When you can answer these questions clearly in every moment of the play, it’s easier to work outwards and address any of the larger, complex, more technical requirements of a part.

(LF): What are the challenges and rewards of live theatre compared to other forms of acting?

(AS): In theatre, so much work is done by so many people ahead of opening night: A completed script, decisions about characters,  relationships and staging, full design concepts. And when the curtain finally goes up, there’s no editing, no post-production, no do-overs. So, as actors, we must honour every element of that plan, in real time, ensuring everyone’s collaborative contributions come across exactly as they intended. It takes a lot of discipline, but it’s also a real honour.

(LF): How do you balance personal life and the demanding schedule of theatre productions? 

(AS): I’m a big sports fan. In recent years,  “recovery” has been accepted as a critical element of high level athletic performance. I really believe the same approach is needed for professional artists: Whether it be rest, time spent with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors, cooking, travel, reading, exercise… you just have to find time to include self-care and balance in your life, or your creative output won’t be nearly as rich or productive.