I remember my first venture on to the stage. It was a home-grown pantomime with Grangewood Players (the Grangewood Residents Club in East Hunsbury) called Home on the Grange. It was a quirky, Western-based affair, and I was a member of the Hole in the Head Gang. Our entrance was through the audience, holding toy guns and shouting 'bang. bang.
On the opening night I was terrified, and probably stumbled through every tortuous line. By the end of the run I was ad-libbing and rejoicing at every minute of the experience.
That was nineteen-ninety-something, and I was in my late forties. A bit of a late starter.
It's all a bit hazy now, but after a few years of pantomimes I seem to remember thinking, "how much more difficult would 'real acting' be?"
My first experience of non-pantomime performing was with Hardingstone Players, when I played the only male role in Stepping Out; a role that meant learning some rudimentary step-dance routines. I did a few follow-on shows with Hardingstone Players, but they mostly did musicals, which, as a non-singer and unrhythmic dancer, meant that I did not stay too long.
But this, and Grangewood's move into an annual murder mystery, gave me more confidence and experience. Consequently, I successfully auditioned for the part of Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream with Earls Barton Players, and shortly after that secured my first role with The Playhouse Theatre.
I had long been an admirer of The Playhouse productions, and landing the role of Andie in And a Nightingale Sang was a pretty special occasion.
Since then I have continued to do the occasional pantomime and most of the annual murder mysteries with Grangewood, and have undertaken a number of roles in plays with The Playhouse.
I think I might have gone for a lot more roles, but in 2005 I began 6 years of part-time study with the Open University to gain may first degree (in English) at the age of 64, and then another two years as a somewhat 'mature' student at Kingston University, gaining my MA Playwriting in 2013.
Alongside full-time employment throughout all this time, this did clip my acting wings a little, but nevertheless, I still managed to fit in some decent roles over the years - a few of which I have highlighted on this page.
My final appearance on the Playhouse stage before moving to France was as David O. Selznick in Moonlight and Magnolias.
Lovesong by Abi Morgan
The Playhouse Feb 2014
As soon as I read this script I knew I had to audition for the part of Billy, and that I would need to audition hard. This is one of the most beautiful plays ever. Philip Welsh had to seek special permission through Abi's agent, and we were very fortunate in being awarded the first ever non-professional licence. It was a real privilege to be able to play this part, alongside the brilliant Pat Nash (on the bed)
The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe
The Playhouse 2010
A fantastic part to play. In truth, even in 2010 I was far too old to play this part. But the director Rob Bee cast well and moved the whole thing age-wise so that the relationships worked and the whole thing was plausible.
An added bonus was being able to be on stage with my wife Rosa. This does not happen too often. Although to be honest, we did not have a lot of scenes together in this.
I would really love to do this again - but I think the age thing is definitely against me now.
Beroom Farce by Alan Ayckbourn
The Playhouse 2012
As Ernest, with Rebecca Allan (left) and Suzanne Richards.
This is one of my all-time favourite photos on stage. Just a wonderful moment in the play.
The Dame of Sark by William Douglas-Home
The Playhouse 2015
Playing Colonel von Schmettau. One of the most rewarding parts played alongside my wife Rosa. She played the Dame. Jem Clack (background) was her stage husband, but our characters' relationship was such that it was very much like playing opposite Rosa.
An Inspector Calls by J. B. Priestley
The Playhouse 2014
A great part to have in a great play. Our director Corinna Leeder chose well, with this play being on the National Curriculum. Consequently, it proved to be exceptionally popular and we played to packed houses every night, and had to put on an additional performance on the Monday, with students being bussed in from as far as Leicester.
I was Inspector Goole, and this scene, I am admonishing Arthur Billing, played by Andy Nettleship, with his stage wife Sybil also on stage, played by Liz Allan.
On Golden Pond
The Playhouse 2005
The first time I played Pat Nash's husband (the second was Lovesong)
From what I can remember, these were not so much rehearsal photos as posed.
Treshams at Lyveded New Bield
My friend Hugh and I somehow got involved in this site-specific play, written specifically to mark the 400th anniversary of the gunpowder plot.
This is where we first met the lovely Bernie Wood.
A Midsummer Night's Dream
Earls Barton Players Circa 2003
My first (and so far only) foray into Shakespeare. I played Peter Quince in this outdoor production, and loved every minute.
The Sunshine Boys by Neil Simon
The Playhouse January 2016
Another 'must do' part on the first of many readings of this script. I feel so blessed to have landed the part of Willie Clark in the brilliantly funny play. Every line is a gift; Willie nevers says anything that isn't a come back of some sort.