Christopher Durling

80b594c0-96b7-45e1-9d2b-22ff45856206(Class of 2001)

In what years did you attend Scots? Were you a Day Student or a Boarder?

I attended The Scots School Albury from 1996 through to 2001. My family lived in Mytrleford, Victoria which is about a one hour drive from Albury. I was a weekly Boarder.

What did you pursue when you left Scots and why?

I was fortunate enough to be accepted to study a Bachelor of Arts in Musical Theatre at The University of Ballarat (now Federation University). Being a part of a company putting on a show, baring yourself to an audience, was one of the most intimidating and rewarding things I had ever experienced – and this is why I chose to pursue acting. Once I realised that I could do it (acting) as a ‘job’, I knew that nothing else would suffice.

Can you tell me a bit about what you are doing now?

I just recently finished a two year tour of Australia, Manila and Singapore playing the role of Enjolras in Cameron Mackintosh’s new production of Les Miserables. Getting through one performance of Les Miserables is hard in its own right but getting through 666 was epic! Being cast in the professional production of Les Miserables 12 years after performing it on The Scots School stage was full circle for me. It was the moment that the thousands of hours of hard work truly felt like they had paid off.

Now that Les Miserables is over I’m setting some new goals. I have just recently relocated to Los Angeles and am enjoying the adventure of living and, in many respects, ‘starting again’ in another country.

What does an average day look like for Christopher Durling?

For the past 10 years I have been extremely fortunate to have been a consistently employed actor. Performing any show eight times a week takes discipline both mentally and physically. An average day is filled with maintaining my body and mind – drinking and eating clean foods to hydrate the voice and avoid reflux hurting the vocal chords and yoga and swimming to clear the mind and open the lungs. Singing in a show like Les Miserables is hard on the voice and often requires hours without speaking in order to preserve your voice for when you are on stage – some of my days are quiet both literally and guratively!

What are some of the projects that you have worked on outside of Les Miserables?

Since 2005, I have had the pleasure of performing in nine different countries. Being able to see the world and experience different cultures has been an absolute dream. I am also very fortunate to have had great variety in my work and have worked on stage productions of Jersey Boys, Grease, Fame and High School Musical.

What is your fondest memory from School?

I had a really great time at Scots. My main interests were basketball and Hockey. I have some great memories of being in the School Choir and senior musicals, but my fondest memory was definitely singing in the Barbershop Quartet. Learning how to sing close harmonies and a cappella with other male voices was great fun.

How would you describe yourself while you were at School? Would you have change anything?

(Laughs) I feel like I definitely could have worked harder! But at the end of the day I found something that I love doing and I wouldn’t change that for anything.

Best piece of advice a teacher ever gave you?

The turning point for me came in Year 12 when the director ofour senior musical, (which just happened to be Les Miserables), Phillip Bohun, gave me an opening night card. I can remember how impressionable I was at that time. For two months the show was my life. Mr Bohun’s words of encouragement and his belief that I was special opened something in my mind and allowed me to dream big – and that’s exactly what I did!

What is the key to being a successful actor?

The key is to figure out how to have absolute dedication and belief to fight for your dreams but not let achieving those dreams or not, dictate your happiness. It’s easier said than done. Life never works out how you expect, but not necessarily in a bad way. I have made many sacrifices to be where I am today but have learnt that being happy isn’t always about having the most impressive resume.

In what ways do you feel that Scots contributed to your future successes?

Simply going to Scots contributed. If I had gone to any other School I definitely feel that I wouldn’t have found my voice.

If you could offer one piece of advice to Scots students, what would it be?

Expose yourself to as many different things as you can. Don’t just do what you are good at, or the obvious. Life works in mysterious ways. Be open. Say yes. Try new things because you never know what will light a fire in your belly. I believe that students attending Scots are receiving one of the best educations in the world, so use that as insurance to dream big.

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