Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My first guest on the blog - Dominic Goodwin

With some trepidation, I present my first guest on this blog. And it isn't a writer, but someone whom regular readers of my books and old friends will realise is relevant! I hope I haven't done him any damage by inviting him on here. Thanks, Dom for agreeing to appear on the blog. Can you tell us how you started your life upon the wicked stage?

I was 13 and my best friend Warren was cast in the school play; “The Dracula Spectacular”, (as the vicar) and I thought “Well if he is in it, why not me”, so I auditioned and was cast as Genghis, the deformed manservant. As soon as I took the first tentative steps onto the stage on that first memorable night I was hooked. And have never stopped acting. Since then I have appeared in about 100 amateur productions, about 30 professional ones, 1 radio series, 1 feature film and enjoyed numerous radio interviews. What larks!!

You have a very important association with one of the most beautiful theatres in England, the Georgian Theatre Royal in Richmond, Yorkshire. Will you tell us about that?

When I turned professional in 2006 I already had a relationship at the Georgian as I knew the then chief executive. In the same year he offered to stage a couple of performances of my first tour; “The Long Mirror” by J B Priestley. Since then I have taken about 10 shows to the theatre and happily box office sales have increased for each show, and in 2010 I was approached to be The Dame in the first in-house pantomime in the venue for over 200 years; “Mother Goose”. The show went well with 46 performances from early December to the first week of January 2011. The following year the theatre decided on “The Adventures of Sinbad” and happily I was invited back to don frocks once again. “Sinbad” was a huge success, gaining 5 star reviews and turned a loss for “Mother Goose” into a profit. 2012 sees “Babes in the Wood” take to the stage for the Christmas and New Year season. It is a huge honour to be asked to work in one of the oldest theatres in the UK.

The Angus and Ross Theatre Company are far more serious. How do you find the two halves of your performing life fit together?

Very well. Angus and Ross Theatre Company was originally set-up to do one play: “Holmes and Watson: The Farewell Tour”, a comedy by Leeds playwright Stuart Fortey. Four tours later we are going to tour the show again – it has been so successful. It appears that theatre audiences like to laugh and this show fits that bill. It is pure farce. And audiences have always enjoyed the show. We decided to keep the company going after the end of the first tour and enjoy doing a wide variety of shows. We have also staged “The Mystery of Irma Vep” by Charles Ludlam. A quick-change penny dreadful for two actors; we had 30 changes and four characters each to play, pure madness but a delight.
I was in my dressing room last year at the Georgian – sitting in tights and a frock, and reading the next play “Frankenstein live” by BAFTA nominated Tom Needham. I was to be cast as The Monster in a serious piece, totally at odds with “Irma” or “Holmes and Watson”, an exciting prospect. I sat reading thinking I can’t possibly do this. But we did and it was very exciting trying to scale the heights of a truly monstrous character – especially after donning tights and a frock as Dame. Variety being the spice of life!

How do you feel about community theatre? (Bearing in mind, of course, that I now do community theatre! Oh - and so does Libby Sarjeant.)

I have always done it. It is to be celebrated. I spent some years, even after turning pro directing a local company, (probably as they had no-one else to do it), and it was a good way to put something back. Also the thrill of not learning lines is a real treat. Last summer I worked with 1812 Theatre Company in Helmsley and directed “Oh Clarence”, based on “The Blandings Castle” stories by P G Wodehouse. It was lovely to sit at the back of the house and watch the audience in fits of laughter and to help inexperienced actors grasp the notion of comedy, character and rhythm.
Community Arts brings everyone together like nothing else. You will go to a show in your local village hall / theatre / memorial hall / community centre (delete as appropriate) and sit with every class, every colour, every age. It is the total leveller.

If you hadn’t become an actor, do you think there’s any other career you would have liked to pursue?

Probably Director, if not I would go back and run a venue.

If you have any time off, what do you like to do? Apart from collapse in a heap and sleep, of course!

In no particular order:
Watch British movies of the 50’s and 60’s.
Listen to Audio Books
Visit Scotland
Listen and watch vintage comedy such as Les Dawson, Arthur Marsahll,Radio Comedy of the 40s, 50s and 60s and of course dear old Hinge and Bracket.

And of course read the Libby Sarjeant books! Thanks, Dom, for being my first and surely most interesting guest.

1 comment:

Rachel said...

The theatre is one of my great loves, so it’s a joy to read about it while getting to know this charming gent in the process. A very interesting interview, thanks for posting!