A few things to help you decide what my word is worth.
I’m a (nearly) Dead White Man, (anyway, nearer The End than The Beginning: A way a lone a last a loved a long the / riverrun), working for love and biscuits. I have a pension and a Freedom Pass, so London is quite literally my Oyster.
I got a BA in Drama and English from the University of Hull in 1976, and an MA in Theatre from the University of Surrey in 2021.
I’ve been a stage-hand, a stage-manager, a flyman, and a lighting designer, for not much money. I’ve been an actor on quite a lot of occasions for no money at all. I was a Community Arts Worker in the East End of London for many years, before cashing in my teaching qualification to teach, mostly in Tower Hamlets, mostly kids who found going to school as daunting as I did. Love teaching, loathe schools, love the pension after doing it for quarter of a century, since that gets me into pretty nearly all the shows I want to see.
I was a member of several community theatre groups in the East End, doing work of which I was and am immensely proud, including a production of Caryl Churchill’s ‘Light Shining in Buckinghamshire’ that was toured extensively, including to the anti-Cruise Missile peace camp at RAF Molesworth.
When teaching and I parted company, I got involved in a number of organisations, most significantly Shakespeare’s Globe, where I have volunteered as a steward since 2006; the Roundhouse, where I have volunteered as an usher since 2009, and the wonderful, bonkers, immersive show ‘You, Me, Bum, Bum, Train’ with whom I worked as a scene-leader and van driver on three shows, the third of which was in the old Foyles Bookshop on Charing Cross Road (since demolished) and lasted from 2015 to Christmas 2016. That was a long old show. It should be stated for the record that, while I’m very fond of the Roundhouse, the Globe, and Bum Bum Train, I speak only for me and not as any sort of representative of theirs.
I’m an assessor for The Offies (https://offies.london/about-us/), a reviewer for the Reviews Hub (https://www.thereviewshub.com/), and a senior reviewer for the London Pub Theatres Magazine (https://www.londonpubtheatres.com/ ).This website will feature the reviews I write for them, as well as writings about shows that don’t happen in pubs, anything theatre-related I want to talk about, and indeed anything else I chose to post – my site, my rules. The University of Surrey has declared me a Master of Theatre, and you shouldn’t argue with Surrey University. I would really appreciate any responses to anything on here – I value my own opinion highly but I value discussion an awful lot more; and anyway it’s theatre, no-one is always right, just ask Aristotle. Or Trevor Nunn. Please get in touch if you are moved so to do:
There may be a bit of politics in these writings. As the wonderful Marxist Magician Ian Saville used to say: “If you don’t like politics, you should probably avoid this. You should probably avoid the rest of life as well.” I think that Tom Paine and William Hazlitt were diamond geezers.
The site is called Thestarsshinestill. If you wondered….
“DUCHESS: I could curse the stars.
BOSOLA: O, fearful!
DUCHESS: And those three smiling seasons of the year
Into a Russian winter; nay, the world
To its first chaos.
BOSOLA: Look you, the stars shine still.”
(John Webster, The Duchess of Malfi, Act IV, scene 1)