Steven Elder

Actor and Film Writer

Born Steven Lawrence, Steven Elder is a professional film, television, and theatre actor, hailing from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, England. He is set to star in the highly anticipated television series The Winter King set for release on MGM+ and ITVX in October 2023.

Steven Elder has starred in major feature films The King (with Timothée Chalamet), Hounds of War, and The Echelon Conspiracy. He has also featured in major UK television programmes such as Apple Tree Yard, Doctors, Silent Witness, Vanity Fair, Robin Hood, Rillington Place, Coronation Street, Upstairs Downstairs, and Suffer The Little Children.

Steven Elder studied at Valley Comprehensive School in South Yorkshire, as the son of a coal miner and professional boxer. Steven Elder later studied at The Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

What is your typical day, and how do you make it productive?

I really don’t have a typical day.  I suppose I am a bit of a list maker.

Working days generally are about either preparing for an audition, preparing to begin a job; or doing the job itself – whether it be on stage or on a film/TV project.

How do you bring ideas to life?

Through improvisation and re-exploration— and not worrying about “getting it right”.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I’m not sure “trend” is a word I’d use because, for me, it suggests a temporary development.

All art should be about holding a “mirror up to nature” – that beautiful sentiment of Shakepeare’s. I believe that “mirror” is clearer, sharper, and a more honest and morally correct reflection of the world, the more it reflects diversity and inclusivity. There’s a long way to go, but things seem to be moving in the right direction. I hope this direction of travel will be a permanent one; rather than a trend.

What is one habit that helps you be productive?


What advice would you give your younger self?

“They DON’T know as much as they SEEM to know”.

Tell us something you believe almost nobody agrees with you.

There is no such thing as playing a “character” in performance. Only your instinctive moment to moment response to the material. The audience decides who and what the character is.

What is the one thing you repeatedly do and recommend everyone else do?

Keep going.

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, what do you do?

Exercise – martial arts (Krav Maga); or go for a walk in the countryside.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business or advance in your career?

Work on the capability to be relaxed in circumstances where others may not feel so relaxed.

I think a way towards that is not to concern yourself too much about what you think other people are thinking about you. It is possible to do that and still behave with respect.

What is one failure in your career, how did you overcome it, and what lessons did you take away from it?

It doesn’t help actors if you start to get into a judgemental mindset with regard to failure – and even successes. That creates the absolute opposite of the relaxation required in order to function. I would argue this is relevant to anyone. Just do your best in each moment, and enjoy yourself; because relaxation is where creativity resides.

What is one business idea you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’m not a businessperson. There might be an “analysing mindset” that has value in business, but I think it is unhelpful as an actor. The only professional advice I have is that “they” (client, boss, etc) aren’t really paying you for your technical knowledge – as they regard that as a given – they are actually paying you for your relaxation and creativity when it comes to problem solving.

What is one piece of software that helps you be productive? How do you use it?

I like the Iphone’s Rehearsal Pro App to organise scripts, play texts, etc., and make a few notes.

What is the best $100 you recently spent?

If you’re fortunate enough to be able to do so, buy what’s useful to you or buy what you love – or both. The best $100 dollars recently was on a meal out with my wife, and then seeing Anne-Sophie Mutter play Beethoven at the Royal Festival Hall, London. Perfect.

Do you have a favorite book or podcast from which you’ve received much value?

It’s “Zen and The Art Of Archery” a book by Eugen Herrigel. Even though it is ostensibly about archery (clue is in the title!), it’s the best book on acting ever written; and I think there is a fundamental lesson in there for all professions. I was introduced to it by one of the cast of a play I did in London a few years ago. For me the book is about not aiming to hit the “target” (achieving the goal, or playing the “results” in a performance, for example), but about focusing on the process; focussing on the journey, enjoying it, and being relaxed; thus allowing the destination to take care of itself. This is something results driven businesspeople may totally disagree with of course!

What’s a movie or series you recently enjoyed and why?

“The Triangle Of Sadness” is the best film I’ve seen recently. I don’t really want to analyse why, other than it felt constantly surprising. I love director Ruben Östlund’s work.

Key learnings:

  • Don’t over-analyse follow your instincts.
  • It’s okay to say “no” if it doesn’t feel right.
  • We know more than we think we know