Throwback Thursday to Damian Lewis at “The Outstanding Actor” Book Launch

In my experience, one of the best returns in an educator’s life is to see her former students graduate and thrive in their careers. It feels so good when a former student sends an email saying: “Hey professor, I had taken such and such class with you and then you wrote for me a letter of recommendation and I got into law school and now I am doing very well at such and such company. Thank you.” You simply feel you have, in fact, touched THAT life and in a very good way, too! I just cannot think of a better reward for an educator. Otherwise, what’s the point?

And that’s why it was lovely to see that Damian Lewis did write the foreword for his drama school teacher Ken Rea’s book The Outstanding Actor and giving a speech at the book launch party back in 2015 🙂


Ken Rea taught at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama for more than 30 years. His students include amazing actors such as Damian Lewis, Daniel Craig, Dominic West, Joesph Fiennes, Michelle Dockery, Orlando Bloom, and Hayley Atwell. It turns out Rea taught about 950 others who went on to have decent acting careers but did not achieve the international success like that small group of students had. Mr Rea writes about how actors, including his star students, managed to stand out in the profession and his conclusion is that “it boils down to seven keys to success: warmth, generosity, enthusiasm, danger, presence, grit and charisma.”

But, hey, this is Damian! 🙂

source: Dan Wooller
source: Dan Wooller

You know Damian is a good writer and it’s a real pleasure to share with you the foreword Damian has written for The Outstanding Actor.


My favorite part of the foreword is where Damian writes about actors as storytellers and his words attest to the fact that he really really LOVES what he’s doing:

“… stories are not only something you share, they are gifts. Something to be given to your listeners, to your watchers. It’s a privilege to be one of the storytellers, to be one of those to provoke, challenge, incite, educate and entertain an audience with the force of your narrative. And so with storytelling comes great responsibility. This, of course, is what is most important, most exciting about being an actor, as Ken understands so well. Because at the moment of true conviction, true commitment, and the moment when the actor truly shares his story in an open and generous way is the moment that he or she has the best chance of being ‘great.’ Free from tension, unselfconscious, totally ‘in the moment.’ Present. The acting G spot.”

source: Dan Wooller
source: Dan Wooller

But then what does he say of his teacher’s techniques?

“…give you, like an athlete, a state of readiness so you may seize your moment when it comes: either in character or as yourself. He talks about energy and enthusiasm and how these can be nurtured in you so you will be more hirable “in the room”.

Thank you, Mr. Rea, for giving our favorite storyteller as well as to many other wonderful storytellers a state of readiness to seize their moment! And may I just say I love your recent tweet about your former student <3

The Outstanding Actor, now available in a new edition, includes interviews with actors who have taken classes with Rea at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama including Lesley Sharp, Damian Lewis and Paapa Essiedu.  If you want to know more about how stars like Damian Lewis manages to stand out in the profession, and our guy is mentioned multiple times in the book, you can buy a copy of the new edition here.

Author: Damianista

Academic, Traveler, Blogger, Runner, Theatre Lover, Wine Snob, Part-time New Yorker, and Walking Damian Lewis Encyclopedia :D Procrastinated about a fan's diary on Damian Lewis for a while and the rest is history!

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