Birmingham Stage Company

Debuts and Debates

3 June 2006

I've just received the brochure for the panel discussion I've been invited to join in Ireland's Theatre Forum conference. The panel includes Stewart Lee (writer of Jerry Springer the Opera) Janet Steel (the director of Behzti) and the director Peter Sellars. That's what you call a line-up! I'm already interested to know what they're going to say!

But before that - the slight matter of two shows opening on the same day - and I'm in both of them! Someone had the clever idea of touring two shows under the banner HORRIBLE HISTORIES. This brilliant fellow even conceived the idea of opening these two shows on the same day! Now this ambitious fool gets everything he deserves by having to perform in them himself. We've spent the last four weeks rehearsing and we open in York on Tuesday. It will be my first ever full scale tour - I did mini tours of THE CRUCIBLE and SPEED-THE-PLOW, but not ten shows a week, for three months.

It may go towards tackling one of my greatest fears - being alone in a new city. I have never found travelling easy on my own, unless I clearly have somewhere to go and someone to meet. It has sometimes induced panic attacks. Yet Mr John Cleese told me when I was 19 that the greatest growth a human being can find comes from facing your biggest fears. It's taken me 21 years to do anything remotely close to touring like this so I clearly didn't pay enough attention to his advice. But finally I'm off. Of course it's not like going away on my own - I am part of a full company - but there will still be nights when I will find myself on me todd (is that one 'd' or two?) and it will be a test. A touring test with the Terrible Tudors. If you are in any of the cities we are visiting, come and say hello!

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