Stephen performed extensively in a wide range of roles in all forms of theatre right across the UK, from the early 1970’s to the late 1990’s. He remains today as open as ever to fresh opportunities & creative collaborations in live performance.
Autumn 2014. Appeared as Adam Scriven in the premiere of De Raptu Meo – Geoffrey Chaucer on Trial for Rape, a play by Gary O’Connor based on his novel ‘Chaucer’s Progress’ directed by Nigel Bryant. Commissioned by the Master of the Revels for the Honourable Society of The Inner Temple, ‘De Raptu Meo’ is based on real life events in the writer’s life. A welcome return to work in London in an amazing historic setting. Played Chaucer’s Scrivener and the work’s protagonist who puts his master (an Inner Temple alumnus) ‘on trial’ before his judicial peers in the great hall, with an audience vote on his guilt or innocence at the end.
Spring 2011 saw me cast as alienated father Frank Dagnall in No Loss – Joe Loss, a powerful black comedy of working class family life set in 1980’s Lancashire by Christine Marshall, directed by Colin Muir. (Jellyshoe Productions for Lowry Studios, Salford Quays).
In 2008 I played Cecil Sharp in A Nest of Singing Birds for Cotton Grass Theatre Co. Our show was the centrepiece of Look Sharp, a re-creation of the famous folk music revivalist’s visit to the Derbyshire village of Winster a century previously. Local schools and six Morris teams from all over England were also involved in the weekend long project.
In recent years Stephen has taken part in many rehearsed play readings and development workshops with new and established playwrights. In June 2005 he played Martin (Police Superintendent) in Unprotected – written collectively by John Fay, Tony Green, Lizzie Nunnery & Esther Wilson – a verbatim account of managed prostitution in the inner city for Liverpool Playhouse and Everyman directed by Nina Raine (‘Everyword’ New Writing Festival). The full production won the 2006 Amnesty International Freedom of Expression award.
For North-West Playwrights Stephen has worked with fellow actors, writer, director and/or dramaturg to present script in hand readings at Oldham Coliseum, Lancaster Dukes, Manchester Royal Exchange, Carlisle University of Cumbria, Kendal Brewery Arts Centre, Preston UCLAN Media Factory, Lancaster University Nuffield Theatre and Keswick Theatre by the Lake.
Artistic highlights of my earlier main career in theatre centre on extensive regional and national tours of two wonderfully written adaptations of classic Victorian novels, subsequently much performed worldwide. I played half the male characters in Stephen Jeffries specially commisioned adaption for four actors of Charles Dicken’s Hard Times. (Pocket Theatre Cumbria, directed by Adrian Harris). A terrific piece of ensemble playing in a very clever adaptation. The other premiere was Sally Hedge’s adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s Far From the Madding Crowd for Orchard Theatre Company directed by Nigel Bryant, playing shepherd Gabriel Oak. Highly entertaining and beautifully crafted, it broke box office records for the company. I returned to play in a number of other exciting new plays for these two touring rural reps, most of them specially commissioned.
Stephen appeared elsewhere, in seasons and single plays, at Hull (Humberside), Derby (Playhouse) Manchester (Library & Wythenshawe Forum) Durham (Durham Theatre Company) Stoke (New Vic) Lancaster (Dukes) Leeds (Playhouse) York (Theatre Royal) Pitlochry (Playbox Company – touring scottish schools) Whitehaven (Stage 77 – Cumbria touring rep.) He also spent a year respectively as actor/teacher/researcher with Leeds and Lancaster Theatre in Education(TiE) companies. Subjects here included a major interactive programme for middle schools on food and farming plus primary age dramas exploring the Spanish conquest of the Incas and contemporary Romany life.
Highly enjoyable educational entertainment with young people in the 1980’s involved co-devising productions with the pioneering Young National Trust Theatre (YNTT) as performer and company researcher, creating original site specific interactive historical dramas for young people in National Trust properties from Cornwall to Cumbria.This intensive period of multi-disciplined creativity gave me a taste for historically sensitive site specific theatre which would eventually find an outcome in the founding and development of demi-paradise productions.