Actor and retired Teacher
Anthony Sergeant studied Physical Education with Drama at Loughborough, graduating in 1972. Following time spent studying at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), Anthony's career was spent in both teaching and in acting. In his alumni profile, Anthony reflects on his time at Loughborough and some of the most memorable productions he has featured in.
I chose to study at Loughborough because it was well known for rugby and PE. I knew that I didn’t want to work in an office, so I enrolled onto the Physical Education with Drama course.
Would there be one piece of advice that you would give to current or prospective students looking to study the same course that you did?
My advice would be to not be too specialist. Have varied interests and take part in lots of different activities. For example, if you’re on a sports course, what happens if you are injured?
Did you take part in any extra-curricular activities during your studies? If so, how did this impact upon your Loughborough experience?
I played rugby, but I got badly injured - at the time I was fly half to Steve Smith, who became the England scrum-half. I had to virtually do a u-turn after my knee injury, and I moved from having my rugby boots in my locker to having ballet pumps! Luckily, I was able to channel my energies into drama, debating and social services club.
After I graduated, I got a scholarship at RADA. I enjoyed my time there, but after two and a half years it was time to leave and look for a job and an agent.
My first job was weekly rep in Southwold, playing various parts in plays by Agatha Christie, Terence Rattigan and Francis Durbridge. I then did a spell at the prestigious Glasgow Citizens’ Theatre, where I had to sing high tenor in a Brecht Kurt Weill musical. That is one thing I learnt at RADA, the need to be able to sing in theatre, because I have done several musicals since, including ‘Joseph and His Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat’, ‘Little Women’ and ‘Aladdin.’ I was at the Sheffield Crucible, and then went on to understudy Michael Gambon at the Royal National Theatre. But it was extremely difficult to earn a proper living, never mind get on the property ladder.
So having done a little part time drama teaching at places like Italia Conti School and Emanuel, and teaching swimming at Butlins and P.E. at Archbishop Tennison’s, I decided to be less peripatetic and settled down in one school. I stayed at the London Oratory School in Fulham for about twenty years, teaching history and geography, and, of course, PE. This gave me some stability and also I was able to buy a flat.
I retired about five years ago and have gone back into acting. I have a new agent - over the years I’ve had about six. I have made numerous short films, and did three classical plays: ‘Medea’, ’Hamlet’ and ‘The Cherry Orchard’, all on the London fringe.
I have always kept up my Equity and Spotlight membership, even when teaching full-time.
I coached and refereed a lot of school rugby and used to play hockey and tennis to a high level at the Bank of England.
With teaching, you are giving something back. But with acting, it’s the challenge and variety.
I have been able to pursue my two passions of sport and drama, although I bobbed and weaved, and ducked and dived between the two. Though I did discover it was very difficult to serve two masters at the same time!
The proudest moment of my career so far has to be playing Lord Balfour at the Royal Albert Hall to celebrate 100 years since the Balfour Declaration.
I’ve just completed a training film for hospitals for ‘Sponge’. Soon I’ll be going out to the Czech Republic to play a Russian general playing tennis against an American general on an aircraft carrier during the Cuban Missile Crisis.