In Conversation with Malcolm Macintosh
Did you always know you wanted to ‘tread the boards’?
No, not really. I grew up and went to school in the East End of London and on leaving school I joined an advertising agency in the West End. After three years I realised I wanted to take a different direction and so I applied and was accepted into the E15 drama school which had been started by Joan Littlewood. I honed my skills there for three years and then got a job at Farnham Rep. I left drama school on the Friday, married my wife Barbara on the Saturday and started work at Farnham on the Tuesday – they let me have the Monday off! We had a fortnightly rotation of productions so you would be performing one play at night and rehearsing and learning your lines for the next play during the rest of the day. It was incredibly demanding and hectic and all for the princely wage of nine pounds ten shillings a week! You developed the ability to become a sponge and soak up your part but just as quickly you erased the previous play from your memory! I stayed at Farnham for three years.
Where did you go next?
From there I went to Liverpool Rep and was there for a year. It was a larger theatre doing more ambitious plays and then I moved on to different productions all over the country and one of my fondest memories was appearing with James Fox and Timothy Dalton in Henry V. I also did some television work but in those days of course there were only three channels so work was limited. After our first child was born I made the decision to give up acting because we did not feel it was right to be dragging our son all around the country and I got a job in sales and customer relations and ended up as a business development manager for a national company and was very happy. We were living in the country in Hampshire then but our contentment was shattered when I was diagnosed with a brain tumour which necessitated a move to Twickenham where there was public transport as I could not drive for a while. Thankfully over time I recovered and although we missed the country we did enjoy having a boat on the river there.
What brought you to Dartmouth and how did you get into the local dramatic scene?
Our son and his family were living here and we felt we were missing out on seeing our grandchildren grow up. So twelve years ago we moved to Clarence Hill and opened a shop in Foss Street which I ran for a while with my daughter, Corrina, who had also decided to move down to Dartmouth. One day I was looking through the local paper when I saw that the Dartmouth Players were auditioning so I decided to go along – and I not only got a part but I won the ‘Best Actor’ award. I spent a few years taking part in the local productions and then I started directing plays for them.
How did the Shakespeare Week come about?
A small group of people involved in local amateur dramatics were sitting in The Cherub one evening in the Autumn of 2002 (obviously we were enjoying a drink) when it was mooted that we should put on a Shakespeare play. It did not take long for The Inn Theatre Company to be formed and we decided we would hold open auditions so that we could choose the best talent from across the area. I was asked to direct the production which was Twelfth Night. I had never directed a Shakespeare play but had been in several so I agreed to take the job on. The play was staged at Dartmouth Castle in August 2003 and it was originally going to be a one off but it was so well received and attracted such large audiences that ‘Shakespeare Week’ has become a fixture in the Dartmouth calendar and the Dartmouth Castle site our stage. Since then we have produced The Taming of the Shrew, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Tempest. Not only have we have attracted incredible actors and dancers but our production crew are fantastically talented. This year to hopefully help lift the present economic climate we decided to put on a ‘feel good’ play and are staging Much Ado About Nothing, it’s a romp, a love story – it has everything!
For further information go to www.theinntheatrecompany.co.uk
First published June 2009 By the Dart