Apart from family Christmas “shows” organised by my Auntie Eileen, my first on stage experience was probably at Penwortham Primary School playing an old woman chasing cats from her house. I can’t remember the plot but I seem to think that I was the only one willing to play an Old Woman at the time even though it was a mixed school. An attempt to produce “The Princess and the Pea” at around the same time fell flat as we knew nothing about rehearsal, or lines, or indeed anything theatrical.
At Christ’s Hospital, however, my enthusiasm for the stage grew and I got the part of Lord Admas in a play written by one of the teachers. Parts in several plays over my years there included a stunt man, dancer, acrobat and fire-eater in “Indians” and doing a short course in stage make-up which at the time consisted of real greasepaint (5 & 9 dear!).
At the University of Essex, where I was studying Electronics, I would jump ship in my spare time and join plays being put on. Writing (and playing!) some simple incidental music for Chinese flute, being “voice off” and playing the piano extremely badly in a short run of Sweeney Agonistes.
My partner at the time didn’t rate theatre so there was quite a gap but when we parted a friend suggested I join a drama club to make some friends. Someone I worked with (now my wife!) was a member of an RAF theatre club so I started attending with her and since then I have barely stopped. Acting with RAFTA, the hugely successful Flat Four, the Blakehay Actors Company and PST! as well as doing sound, lights, publicity, stage management, set construction, direction, playwriting and quite a bit of costume has meant that I feel comfortable in most parts of a theatre 😉