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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

MOVERS and SHAKERS: Chris Gallarus, Celebrated English Actor Our Coverage Sponsored by Cosmopolitan Dental, Official Dentist of Whom You Know


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Chris Gallarus was born in Dorset and resides there with his wife Karen and two dogs of mixed breed rehomed from a rescue center. Today, they live in a small village in the beautiful countryside of West Dorset; some may think that this is a barrier to working as an actor but for Chris, he is ‘happy with my life so far, having a roof over my head and food on the table is all one can wish for, anything else is a bonus.’

Chris has not always been an actor. After leaving school at 16, he joined the Royal Navy and served as a Tactical Radio Operator for six years. Whilst in the Navy, he and his first wife had three children: Matt, Dom and Steph. His career after the Navy involved him working in a variety of jobs from barman to clerical work culminating in working as a support worker for Dorset Police. It was during this time that Chris was left as a single parent to raise three children, when his first wife left him. For four years, Chris was on his own with support from family and friends until he met the woman who was to become his second wife. Just after they had met, the opportunity arose for Chris to become involved in the fourth Dorchester Community Play, ‘ Fire from Heaven’ based on events in and around Dorchester in the early to mid 17th century. Thinking it would be a good way to bond their newly formed family together and make new friends, Chris was cast in the main role as the Reverend John White the vicar of the town, who later helped set up the colony of Dorchester, that is now part of Boston.

These events following a spell of Amateur Dramatics inspired Chris who was by now working in a local school, with the support of his wife and kids to take the plunge and head for university where he studied for three years. He graduated from the University of Plymouth with a BA(Hons) degree in theatre and performance.

Chris had his first job as a professional actor in a small two-handed production of A Christmas Carol playing Scrooge that toured schools in various parts of England. The next few years saw Chris doing the odd small scale theater work as well as becoming involved in what he considers one of his most enjoyable roles as a Storyteller and Guide on the Ghost walk around Dorchester. His interest in local history and folklore received a boost from this work and now research for this has become one of his main spare time occupations.

Recently, Chris has had work in both film and television with his first film role albeit uncredited as Billy Smallbury in the 2015 production of ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’. He has also appeared as the Clerk of the Court in an episode of Poldark series 2 and is due to appear back on the big screen later this year as Thomas in ‘My Cousin Rachel’.

Chris has a positive outlook on life and takes it pretty much as it comes, grateful for all that he has experienced and content in the knowledge that he has achieved the modest goals so far, although he will always maintain that his greatest success is that his children are now fully grown and leading their own lives happy in what they do.

Chris would love one day to visit Manhattan hopefully and optimistically when he is appearing in a production on or at least just off Broadway; this would also give Chris the chance to finally visit America one of the few places his career in the Royal Navy never took him.  We are so glad to present Chris Gallarus as our newest Mover and Shaker!  Peachy interviewed Chris for Whom You Know.  We are honoring (honouring?!) the English spelling rather than American spelling when Chris Gallarus is speaking!
Peachy Deegan: What should everyone know about Dorset that they might not know? 
Chris Gallarus: It has its own dialect words for a lot of things. One of my favourites is Dumbledore meaning Bumble Bee' another favourite is Horse stinger for Dragonfly (hoss tinger). 

What is it like being in the Royal Navy and what did you like best about it? 
Interesting and at times very tense, but one of the best parts for me was being at sea and at night just looking up at the stars with no lights to interfere with their splendor wind beauty. It really gave perspective on how small we really are. 

What is your first acting memory? 
Playing the Angel Gabriel in the school nativity when I was about 5 years old. 

What motivated your intrinsic passion for acting? 
The joy I get from performing and being able to become someone else. 

What is the difference between a successful actor and one who is not? 
Attitude and having a thick skin to persevere; it is not an easy business so you have to be able to handle rejection and not take it personally, and also be polite to all you meet, today's runner could be the director you work with in a few years time. 

What have you enjoyed the most about each of your acting ventures and why?
The variety of characters I have portrayed and that each venture is different, I have played a wide range from Psychopath to a King, but will always have fondest memories of John White and also George Loveless in the Tolpuddle Martyrs app. 

Please comment on how you came up with how you decided to portray the character from Dorchester; we have a lot of people in Massachusetts reading as Peachy lived there for six years (two in the Back Bay of Boston and four in Chestnut Hill). 
As John White was the first major role and character I portrayed, I was guided mainly by Nina the director, although with him being the vicar of Dorchester it was helpful to be able to go to the church he preached in and also where he is buried in the porch; this local connection and knowing from all the research done for the play by a great team I was able to portray his strong faith and belief in doing Gods work as he saw it. 

Please tell us about your Poldark experience and what you like about it and where you think this series will be going directionally. 
Poldark was my first role in a major TV drama.  I believe they are planning to follow all of the books and although I may not reappear it was a great chance for me to learn even more about working in front of the camera and appreciate all the work that goes behind the scenes and how lovely the crew were to work with. 

What directors would you like to work with and what do you think you would learn from them? 
Ron Howard is a favourite director of mine and I feel he could teach me a lot about the art of storytelling on the screen especially as he has worked both sides of the camera; also I would love to work with Ridley Scott and Stephen Spielberg- again, each are great at telling stories. 

What do you attribute your acting success to? 
I believe that luck plays a large part in the acting world: being in the right place at the right time; also support from family and friends is important. 

Do you enjoy the stage or the screen more and why? 
Stage, as it is more immediate and also you have to be right in the moment at all times and the buzz from performing in front of a live audience is something I will never tire of.

When you're not working, how can people tell when you're acting and when you're being real? If they know me well like my family they can tell quite easily, but it is sometimes useful to call on my acting techniques when in company of strangers or those whom I am not so keen on. 

What or who has had the most influence on your pursuit of excellence? 
My wife Karen, as she has faith in me even when I doubt myself .

What are you proudest of and why? 
Raising three children to be independent and happy in what they do.

What would you like to do professionally that you have not yet had the opportunity to do? Perform with the RSC. 

What honors and awards have you received in your profession? 
None yet unfortunately. 

What one word best describes you and why? 
My kids would say weird. 

What do you take your sense of identity from? 
I would say that my sense of identity is tied very much to Dorset, I love the land and the quality of life I have here. To me, there is still an element of magic and mystery to the area. I am really fascinated by its history and folklore: it is almost as if I was drawn back here after leaving the Navy, and although I could perhaps have greater opportunities in somewhere like London I think that it would have a negative effect upon me.

What is your favorite place to be in Manhattan? And in the UK? 
I would love to wander the streets of Manhattan and sit by the shore of the Hudson river just to watch the world go by. Also I would love to visit Greenwich Village. My wife and I love Cornwall and we often take the chance to sneak away there for a weekend. One of our favourite places is Mullion cove.

What is your favorite shop in Manhattan? And in the UK? 
My wife would love to visit Macy's, I however have a very low tolerance for shopping unless it is a bookshop: I have been known to spend hours browsing books. I also love charity shops as I have often found bargains in the form of new to me clothes such as a wonderfully weatherproof pure wool greatcoat that reaches to my ankles. 

If you could hire anybody who would it be and why? 
I enjoy cooking but have never had much success with sauces so a chef who could teach me how to make a really great Hollandaise sauce. 

What is your favorite drink? 
Coffee and real ale. But not at the same time.  Also single malt whiskey from Islay. 

What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you at a cocktail party? 
One thing I have never been to. 

What is your favorite restaurant in Manhattan? And in the UK? 
Recommendations required for Manhattan but preferably overlooking the water. Karen and I have a couple of favourites but would have to say perhaps the Hive Beach cafĂ© in Burton Bradstock. Right on the seashore. 

What is your favorite Manhattan book or favorite character in Manhattan literature? And in the UK? 
The taking of Pelham 123 and Sherlock Holmes. 

Who would you like to be for a day and why? 
An astronaut on the international space station just for the chance to marvel at the beauty of Earth. 

If you could have anything in Manhattan named after you what would it be and why? And in the UK? 
A bridge so I could stand on it and watch the water flowing under works in both places 

What has been your best Manhattan athletic experience? And in the UK? 
 I am not really an athlete but I did win the captains day competition at my local golf club the day after I first met Karen. 

What is your favorite thing to do in Manhattan that you can do nowhere else? And in the UK? Manhattan will have to surprise me but walking is always good, in the U.K. taking my dogs on their favourite walk down to the river for a swim. 

If you could have dinner with any person living or passed, who would it be and why? Christopher Marlowe to find out if he really was a spy for Elizabeth the first and if he collaborated with Shakespeare. 

What has been your best Manhattan art or music experience? And in the UK? 
Watching a live broadcast of Jeff Wayne’s War of the Worlds from New York in my local cinema.

What do you personally do or what have you done to give back to the world? 
Recycling as much as possible I also try to encourage wildlife in the garden and I hope shop ethnically.

What do you think is most underrated and overrated in Manhattan? And in the UK? 
Not sure about Manhattan as I would need to experience it here. In the U.K. the opportunities to visit our past is perhaps not appreciated as much as it could be and overrated would I have to be the pursuit of fame via reality tv etc. 

Other than Movers and Shakers of course, what is your favorite WhomYouKnow.com​ column and what do you like about it?
 I like the literary column as it has gives me new authors and subjects to look at and explore. I also like the cuisine and drinks as I love cooking and trying new things. 

What else should Whom You Know readers know about you? 
I am basically happy with my life and have hopefully learnt not to take myself too seriously. I look upon all I have done and achieved with satisfaction and am just pleased that I took the plunge at the age of 40 to go to university and follow my dream, as it means I will not look back later on my life and wonder what if. Sometimes you just have to say what the hell and go for it. 

How would you like to be contacted by Whom You Know readers? 
I can be contacted by email at chrisgallarus1@gmail.com or if work related via my agent at agent@paulbyram.com

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