March 2nd 2018
Saint Augustine’s church, Haringey, is not easy to find – up a small side street off the ever-busy Green Lanes. Along with the house next door, it is home to the London Catholic Worker, who offer it as a house of hospitality alongside their many other charitable activities – especially their work with destitute and homeless refugees.
Feb. 20th 2018
Friday 16th February – three performances completed of my mini-tour of North Yorkshire, and three still to come.
It’s a sunny Friday morning and tonight, myself, Nobby and Colin will be in Newton-le-Willows – but first, I have time for a morning stroll out of Richmond. Nobby recommends the two-mile walk to Easby Abbey to see the beautiful ruins in a lovely setting.
‘And don’t fail to pop into St. Agatha’s, the small church next to the Abbey,’ Nobby urges me. ‘It doesn’t look much but you won’t regret it,’ he adds enigmatically.
Feb. 13th 2018
Snow. Proper snow. North Yorkshire snow. Falling thick and fast and settling.
Not like our weedy London stuff, which when it can muster the strength to appear, invariably swiftly turns to sleet and slush.
Feb 10th, 2018
‘You’re a disgrace to humanity!’
That’s what the chaplain at Winchester Prison said to Bert Brocklesby, conscientious objector and protagonist of my play ‘This Evil Thing’, a hundred years ago. Another CO was told by a different chaplain, ‘Christ would have spat in your face!’
Just to let you know that I’ve just fixed some new tour dates for February; firstly at Reading University and then in North Yorkshire. More details are here.
20th December 2017
In 1916, the world-famous philosopher and mathematician Bertrand Russell was ousted from his lectureship at Trinity College, Cambridge, because of his work for the conscientious objectors – more specifically, because of the scandal of his arrest for having written an article about one CO in particular (the much-abused Ernest Everett).
That summer, the government also denied Russell a US passport, preventing him from lecturing at Harvard, and banned him from speaking in certain parts of the UK – especially near coastal areas – ‘For fear I might signal to enemy submarines,’ as he sourly commented.
17th December 2017
Five days off…to launder my costume, hang out my costume, iron my costume … to eat, sleep and catch up on the piles of admin … to be taken to the opera as a surprise … then it’s back on the road up north on November 30th for three full-on days of touring.
10th December 2017
Week 8, and it’s Tuesday 14th November when I rock up to Northampton’s Royal Theatre, to play my one and only ‘main stage’ of the tour – a beautiful 500-seat Victorian theatre that I’ve performed in previously in big cast shows – but in a solo play? Just me and my nine crates? Plus two hessian sacks?
29th November 2017
‘There will be more than this won’t there?’
I was looking out at the large hexagonal hall at Leighton Park School, Reading, where I was about to perform at the start of week 7 of the tour. It was 6.05 pm. We should have started at six. I could see maybe five pupils sitting timidly to one side and perhaps 20 adults: teachers, etc.
November 16th, 2017
One of my all-time favourite bits of dialogue, from Mel Brooks’ ‘The Producers’.
Food – where to get it from, when to have it, how much of it to have, and whether there’s enough time to digest it in before the performance – is a constant preoccupation for actors on tour, in strange towns and cities, with little time to spare. I’ve never met an actor who didn’t love their food, and who didn’t happily wolf down any sandwiches, cake or biscuits put in front of them.