Interview with actor Daniel Hoffmann-Gill

"When you fall in love with making art, as I did, as a kid, you’re not thinking of being motivated to get into an industry. You just want to tell stories and entertain and make people feel stuff and change the bloody world. Lofty ideals that crash and burn but that I cling to nevertheless."

Interview with actor Daniel Hoffmann-Gill

Could you first introduce yourself to the reader?

I’m Daniel Hoffmann-Gill, made in Nottingham, I’ve been an actor and writer for 25 years now. Which is 25 years beyond my wildest dreams.

How would you describe your show? 

A one human tour-de-force theatrical extravaganza, that’s part tribute, part stand-up and fundamentally, a right laugh; even though it’s riddled with death and disease. A chance to have a good cry and also a good chuckle. Win-win.

Why do you want to perform at Edinburgh Festival Fringe? 

Well, this is not my first time at the rodeo, sixth time to be precise. I’m not sure it’s a matter of want anymore, I’m not auditioning, and it’s a matter of doing. It’s a showcase for some of the best and worst art you could ever imagine. Naturally, I classify my work nearer the former.

What differentiates it from other festivals?

Size. Scale. The merciless corporatisation that has engulfed it; which to be honest has engulfed the entirety of western civilisation, monetising existence into the oblivion of late stage capitalism. And to be truthful, I’ve never been to any other festivals.

What first motivated you to enter the industry? Who were your inspirations? 

When you fall in love with making art, as I did, as a kid, you’re not thinking of being motivated to get into an industry. You just want to tell stories and entertain and make people feel stuff and change the bloody world. Lofty ideals that crash and burn but that I cling to nevertheless. As for inspirations, Miss Lewis, my drama teacher at comprehensive school. She made me believe that a scruff like me to do a job like this and the fundamentals of acting she taught me, are still the backbone of what I do today. She is a legend.

How has your background, upbringing and education had an impact on your artistic career?

Don’t hold back with the massive questions that in reality would take seven sides of A4 to answer will you? Bloody hell. Where to start with answering that? The first impact it had, was that an artistic career wasn’t for someone like me and that something called an artistic career didn’t even exist. Stuff of fantasy. Constantly being told, Miss Lewis aside, that an artistic career wasn’t an option. Then when I saw that it was, I realised that a lot of the people in the arts were from a very, very different background to mine. Which made me defensive and chippy. That’s how it started anyhow. Where it went is another nine paragraphs.

What is your earliest childhood art memory? 

My dad’s mate drew an incredible picture of a Roman centurion nailing a cross into the hand of Christ using only 3 different coloured biros and it blew me away. It also terrified me. That’s around when I was 4, I think.

If you didn’t have your current job, what would you probably be doing? 

Overseeing a white-collar crime empire.

Did Covid-19 change the way you create work? Do you approach shows with a different mentality now?

No and no. I missed making live work long before the virus came along so I’m just buzzing to be out there, with an audience again, telling stories and getting involved in that magical feedback loop that only live theatre can provide.

Describe the last year in 5 words or less?

Deeds, not words.

Do you subscribe to the idea that art should be exempt from ‘cancel culture’?

I’m glad you put cancel culture in quote marks because it really doesn’t exist. People just need to be kind to each other and keep an eye out for the dismal resurrection of fascism, with its divide and conquer gimmick.

If you could work with anybody, from any point in history, who would you pick and why? 

My German isn’t up to snuff but I’d love to have tried to create a play or something, with Friedrich Nietzsche. What a mercurial human. What a genius. An erratic, kaleidoscopic thinker. I’m guessing hanging out with him would be like bottling lighting but would’ve been great to collaborate with the cultural critic extraordinaire.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to take a show up to the fringe?

Investigate ways of not being indebted and bringing your work here. I know we live in a debt culture but do you really want to be saddled with that for doing a version of 4.48 Psychosis? Do you really want to come? Is what you’re bringing really worth seeing? Remember you can get bad reviews but still sell, your work can be awesome but no one will ever know and you can be garbage but lauded.

When and where can people see your show? 

Assembly George Square - The Blue Room, 1315 hours 3rd - 29th August but I get the 15th and 22nd off.

And where can people find, follow and like you online?

Twitter is my Achilles heel (@danielh_g) but my Instagram is a lot more chill – @danielhg76

Header Image Credit: Robert Day Photography

Author

Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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