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Scotch Stories: Laurence Boxhall

News

11 December 2017

Scotch Stories: Laurence Boxhall

Scotch Stories: Laurence Boxhall

I began my 5-year journey at Scotch in 2009, at the start of year 8. By this point I was no stranger to moving schools, as Scotch ended up being my sixth and final school. Prior to coming to Scotch I was living in Darwin, the first place I had moved to after arriving from England.

My family had to move from Darwin to Canberra due to my Dad’s work, but knew that we didn’t want to settle there. I had previously attended boarding school in England from the ripe old age of 8, so the concept of living away from home was not alien to me. Early in 2007, Dad happened to be in Adelaide and chanced upon an advertisement for Scotch. Mr Oughton was free that afternoon, and graciously showed my Dad around the campus. Clearly Mr Oughton’s kiwi accent and penchant for Caramello Koalas won over Boxhall Sr, although there were two areas of Scotch that sold Dad completely: the Ag farm and the Barr Smith Theatre. My brother had always had a love of farming and I always had some weird fascination with putting on tights and pretending to be other people, so both boxes were ticked there.

Visiting Scotch in September of 2007, I was struck by how blindingly green the campus was. Hamish Ludbrook showed me around for a day and two things struck me: everyone seemed to be very happy and no one brought up how funny my accent sounded. I was enrolled in Scotch shortly after and that was that, but I had to wait an entire year until I arrived and before I could do drama, which was HELL. Give me the TIGHTS!

The following 5 years were a smorgasbord of experiences, but what pinned them all together were the friendships I made. I count myself very, very lucky to have been surrounded by the year group that I was in. My friendships from Scotch remain one of the most important aspects of my life. Despite living interstate for the last 3 years, every time I come back it is as if I had never left and we pick up exactly where we left off. I have found it isn’t until you move away that you realise how important friendships like that are, as they are one of the few constants in your life.

Unsurprisingly my favourite memories of my time at Scotch involve performing, so I shall list a few key moments that stood out that weren’t on stage. Getting a ‘B’ for my end of semester mark in Maths in my final year of taking it was an absolute highlight. I had a discussion with Mr Archibald at the start of year 11 about my goals for that year. ‘A ‘B’ in Maths. That’s all I want.’ I wanted to break 10 years of ‘C’s. It may seem small but, having never been very good with numbers, getting that ‘B’ was huge and the staff made it seem as impressive as slaying the Kraken. I had birthdays at Kyre and at Mt Arapiles, both of which I remember vividly as extraordinary adventures. Nothing quite like freaking out halfway through a very exposed climb up Mt Arapiles on your 14th birthday. Goose Island is a highlight of anyone’s time at Scotch I’m sure and something I remember discussing with my friend who attended Scotch Melbourne: “Scotch Melbourne has had more rowers become Olympians than any other school in Australia,” he would say. “Yes,” I would reply, “but does it have an island with dolphins?” Boom. Mic-drop.

That being said, playing Thenadier in the 2012 musical ‘Les Miserables’ was probably the biggest highlight for me.

My final year at Scotch was one that paved the way for me to be where I am now, and I certainly wouldn’t have achieved what I have achieved without some immense help. At the start of year 12 I found out I had been cast in an ABC/BBC series called ‘Worst Year Of My Life Again’ that required me to move interstate for 4 months for filming. I could have said no to this opportunity, but my 3 teachers in Year 12 (Mr Massie, Mr Scoggins and Mrs Triglau), along with help from the wonderful Mr Bennett, saw how much this could open doors for me. I had Skype lessons with Mr Massie, followed by after school catch-up lessons when I got back, lots of email correspondence with Mr Scoggins and phone conversations with Mrs Triglau. Together, they ensured I didn’t just pass, but pass with a high enough mark to end up in the Scotch 90 Club. I am hugely grateful to all 3 of them for what they taught me: Mr Scoggins gave me a love of the English language and Shakespeare, Mr Massie taught me great selflessness and the importance of critical thinking and Mrs Triglau championed me countless times to countless people.

While I was shooting ‘Worst Year Of My Life Again’ in 2013, I heard from one of the directors that Foxtel was producing a series called ‘Deadline Gallipoli’, shooting in 2014. After a long audition process, I was given the part of ‘Jimmy Paradise’ and got to work with some incredible Australian and international actors. While I was shooting ‘Deadline Gallipoli’, I got an audition for a play called ‘Jumpy’ with the Melbourne Theatre Company and the Sydney Theatre Company. I took a day off filming to fly to Melbourne to audition. I heard nothing for a while, so after filming ‘Deadline’ I went travelling to Italy and England. When I came back I found out I had the part, but needed to relocate to Melbourne. I was in ‘Jumpy’ from January to March 2015 in Melbourne, then from March to May in the Sydney Opera House. I got to work with some brilliant creative minds like Jane Turner (Kath and Kim), Brenna Harding (Puberty Blues), Marina Prior (Phantom of the Opera) all under the direction of Pamela Rabe (Wentworth). After being established in Melbourne, I managed to get parts in the indie film ‘Spirit of the Game’, and the ABC Comedy Series ‘Ronny Chieng: International Student’. ‘Ronny Chieng’ is set to be broadcast on Comedy Central in the USA and on BBC3 in the UK later this year, something I still haven’t got my head around yet. I decided to take a 3-year hiatus from working to get proper training under my belt and now study at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) in Sydney and get to pretend to be other people and wear tights whenever I want. I will graduate in November next year. None of this would’ve happened if I had had to take that extra year to graduate. It’s funny how life has a way of working out.

In 10 years, I hope to be acting still, if I get to be so lucky. It’s a tricky, tough, complex job to navigate but I honestly feel my time at Scotch prepared me for it. I was kept grounded but encouraged to dream, and given the chance to lead when normally I would be a follower. If I’m not acting, my career test in Year 10 came back with ‘Tattoo Artist’ so, hey, at least I have a fall-back.

Laurence Boxhall ('13)

Earlier this week children in the Scotch ELC were treated to a reading of 'Where is the Green Sheep?' by Mem Fox an… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…