Welsh actor Rhys Ifans opens up about life squatting while at elite drama school
The Welsh actor Rhys Ifans has opened up about his life as a squatter while attending an elite drama school.
The Notting Hill star said that he lived a double life, spending his time studying at Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London and then also breaking into empty properties to live illegally.
The 53-year-old told on Rob Brydon on his podcast that he lived an “extraordinary kind of vagabond existence” while he used the squats as his accommodation for over four years as he sought out an education.
He said: “I’d been in London a year before I went to drama school. I moved down with a mate of mine.
“For my whole period in drama school I lived in squats. I lived in about fourteen, fifteen different squats.”
“It was of course illegal, and I guess looking back, dangerous. But it was a great life.
‘Middle of the night’
He added: “It would be council properties, council flats. You take the steel door off in the middle of the night and then as soon as you change the locks put a notice on the door.
“They had to then switch the gas and electricity on and then you could be in it for weeks to months.
“But it was a constant case of we moved around a lot with a group of lads and girls from Belfast who I’d met at a Cramps gig and we lived together for four or five years moving in and out of different squats of varying degrees of comfort and discomfort.
“In a sense I had this real double life, which was wonderful.
“I had this kind of elitist wonderful life in college and then this extraordinary kind of vagabond existence when I went home each night.
“It was easy to do then. It’s nigh on impossible now to break a squat but then it was relatively simple.”