One to One with Keith Vaz : Tom Hendryk

Thursday 14th February 2019 05:10 EST

Tom Hendryk was born in Evington, Leicester and was a member of St Paul's Roman Catholic School where he found his love for performing. After graduating from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire in 2013, he is now a full time professional actor on stage and screen, performing on stages all over the country and also throughout Europe with The English Theatre Company. Aside from acting, Tom is a Theatre Director, having recently co-directed The Polar Express Theatre Experience to a sold out run of 22,000 people in 2018. Tom is also a qualified Polish dance choreographer and instructor after obtaining his diploma in Rzeszow, Poland in 2011. He still performs today with Leicester group 'Polesie Song and Dance Company' where he is also Assistant Instructor.

1 Which place, or city or country do you most feel at home in?
Leicester is my home and I am very proud to call it my city. Since my family heritage is Polish, Poland has a very special place in my heart. Krakow in particular is one of my favourite cities. I have a sense of calm whenever I travel back there, it really is a special city.

2 What are your proudest achievements?
Performing on incredible stages such as Leicester Curve, Birmingham Rep, Manchester Lowry are always proud moments but directing The Polar Express Theatre Experience to a sold out run of 22,000 people has to be also right up there.

3 What inspires you?
My family. My parents are successful in their own fields but they both had to work really hard for it. It can be difficult to compare, since acting is very different to what they do, but the life they have built for my sister and myself is very inspiring and drives me to work harder.

4 What has been biggest obstacle in your career?
Patience. I have always been someone who loves being busy. It is in those quiet, 'in between jobs' moments where you really have to believe in yourself. Some days are harder than others but you just have to keep working at it.

5 Who has been the biggest influence on your career to date?
Mrs Jane Grey was my Performing Arts teacher at secondary school and without her initial support and encouragement, I definitely would not be performing today.

6 What is the best aspect about your current role?
I am currently performing in a play called Brick Lane 78. It is all about the struggle and racial tensions concerning the Asian community when they came to the UK in the 1970s. Whenever I get a new project, I love learning about the subject matter. In this case, different cultures and their history. I love researching and delving into details. It's exciting! Plus, it's what makes me a real asset in quiz nights. Haha!

7 And the worst?
Making sacrifices like missing birthdays and other occasions when on tour or on set. It can be a lonely place sometimes.

8 What are your long term goals?
My goal is to have scripts coming to my door rather than me chasing them. That's when I know that I have done what I set out to do. I love performing, but I want to decide when I can have a break rather than the industry deciding for me.

9 If you were Prime Minister, what one aspect would you change?
I am lucky to live in a city with several wonderful theatres but funding for the arts has been significantly slashed in recent years, especially in schools and that is definitely one thing I would set right.

10 If you were marooned on a desert island, which historical figure would you like to spend your time with and why.
I wouldn't say he is 'historical' yet but Bear Grylls would be the smartest option. Plus he seems so lovely that you could have a laugh with him. That's of course after he continues to save my life on the desert island. Priorities! As a die hard Leicester City fan, Jamie Vardy would also be fun.

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