Inaugural Address

The Host, Christmas Party 2006Welcome to this newly-launched site and to a new branch to my career: teaching.

Since 1996 I have been creating and performing my own work for a living, generally launching new shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and then touring them around usually small venues, arts centers and festivals in the UK and sometimes beyond. I mostly travel to venues unaccompanied by stage management, and so work with such technicians as each venue provides, many excellent, some trying, setting the lights and sound – a full afternoon’s work – and then perform the show, often rushing off immediately after the curtain for a last train.

In 2011 by a totally unexpected chance I found myself in the running for a part in the National Theatre’s soon-to-be legendary smash hit, One Man, Two Guvnors. To my astonishment I got the part; and thus began a three-year, 1052-performance run with the show, during which time I whittled my solo touring schedule to nothing, after a hectic period when I was fulfilling tour dates whilst also doing the One Man, Two Guvnors UK tour.

My engagement with this unprecedented hit show allowed me a precious sabbatical from fifteen years of creating and touring twelve different shows. Now Guvs is finally over for me, I find myself at a crossroads in my career: to return to the road I traveled so long – or to take the opportunity to find new ways to express my creativity and pass on some of what I have learned.

Whilst I have every intention of creating new work of my own to take out into the world, this is also an appropriate time to reflect on the body of work I have built up until now and find ways to use that abundance of material and experience to help others to find their voice and to create work that is uniquely their own.

My overriding aim in my teaching this work is this: to show how easy it is. If I can do it, anybody can do it.

All it really takes is knowing what it is you want to say – and then find the simplest, most engaging way of saying it.

It also takes a degree of self-knowledge and a willingness to let go of self-consciousness and doubt. To stand in the full glare of an audience’s sole attention is for some the stuff of nightmares; but with the confidence that comes from thorough preparation, anybody can command a roomful of stramgers and find themselves in that dreamlike state where audience and speaker breathe with one breath.

I hope to meet many new friends through this work: not students but collaborators. My aim is to foster a generation of fearless public speakers, undaunted by austerity, able to speak on any platform with confidence and authority.

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