Southsayer: Paul Holloway, actor and fire-breather

Fire Breathing London 2Paul Holloway moved to Rotherhithe in August last year after graduating from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School as an actor. He has since been doing “a lot of auditioning – and some acting”. In between, he also does a bit of juggling and fire-breathing. “I really enjoy street performing,” he says. “I enjoy the interaction, and it’s great to be able to offer people something immediate and for free. They can then decide what it’s worth after they’ve seen it – so often you are forced to part with your money not knowing if it’s going to be worth it.”

Check out his skills all month in the SE1 vicinity as part of the London Bridge Live Arts festival (details at end).


When were you happiest?
For the past year, as I am pursuing what I really want to do. It’s been one of the hardest years, but one of the best.

Where would you like to live in south London?
I like where I am in Rotherhithe, near Canada Water. It’s a great location and I have a beach just down the road from my house. I’d quite like a bigger bedroom though.

What is your favourite south London sound or smell?
I love the quiet as I turn into the close where I live, and my favourite smell is Borough Market at around six in the evening.

Who is your favourite south Londoner?
Daniel Day-Lewis grew up in Croom’s Hill, Greenwich. He’s my favourite actor and a great inspiration.

What is the most important lesson life has taught you?
Put Jesus Christ as the centre of your life and it will be the best that it can be.

MayflowerWhat is your earliest south London memory?
Apart from various trips through Waterloo Station when I was younger, my earliest recent memory is the first time I arrived in Rotherhithe and got lunch in the Mayflower (pictured right). I walked down to the viewpoint that looks out over Tower Bridge and I knew this was where I wanted to live.

What makes you unhappy?
Dropping burning fireclubs on my foot. Demotivated and bored people. Cowardice. Safety. Too many Supermarkets. Slow Wi-Fi (the Spinning Wheel of Death), people who interrupt conversations to answer a text. I could go on…

What simple thing would improve your quality of life?
£15 million in unmarked cash. A lead role in a major Hollywood feature. Relationship with Sandra Bullock. Oh sorry… Simple… My next acting job. My motorbike getting fixed.

What is your most unappealing habit?
Not finishing things.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Raisin and biscuit Yorkies.

Where do you hang out?
At The Mayflower or the Old Salt Quay in Rotherhithe – our locals.

Who or what do you dislike and why?
Baked beans, broccoli and sprouts. They are crimes against food.

Best south London gig or night out?
Good question. Eating out at the 02 and then a trip on the Emirates Airline (see video above) is a good night. I’ve yet to explore south London clubs.

What do you most dislike about your appearance?
My nose. Although I dislike it less than I used to.

What’s the worst thing anyone’s said to you?
Thank-you for auditioning but sadly were were unable to offer you the part. AGAIN!

What has your career taught you?
How to juggle fire clubs without major injury: I learnt to juggle at a circus workshop when I was younger. I then tried out juggling with clubs. Once you’ve mastered that, all you have to do is set fire to the end – The one you’re not holding. I got taught the fire breathing by a friend at university who assured me I wasn’t going to burn my face off. Fortunately he was telling the truth. The thing that juggling teaches you is that no matter how many times you fail, if you just keep picking up the damn things and keep trying, you eventually get somewhere. It also teaches you that the one thing that really interests a street audience is doing something dangerous!

The house I live in is…
A little smaller than I would like, but has great people living in it.

What is your greatest life achievement?
Odds-wise, getting into drama school was quite up there – 2000 odd people auditioning for 30 places. I also made about £50 from an hour of fire juggling a little while ago. I was quite pleased with that.

Describe yourself as an animal…
A mimic octopus. Look it up.

Your favourite south London…

Canada Water library… building or landmark?
Canada Water Library, pictured left. It gives me a place to work that isn’t my house. And it does good coffee.

… shop?
The random general stores in Bermondsey that sell things like electric plungers.

… bar/pub?
The Mayflower.

…place to eat?
The Mayflower again.

The Arch climbing wall in Bermondsey. It’s not a very well kept secret though…

Catch Paul performing 15 and 16 August at 12.15pm, 1.15pm, 2.15pm and 3.15pm. He’ll be back on Saturday 31 August and 1 September. Find out more about London Bridge Live Arts over here, see listings at the Team London Bridge website for listing details, or keep tabs on the #LBLiveArts hashtag on Twitter. 

Leave a Comment

Specify Facebook App ID and Secret in the Super Socializer > Social Login section in the admin panel for Facebook Login to work

Leave a Comment

Specify Facebook App ID and Secret in the Super Socializer > Social Login section in the admin panel for Facebook Login to work