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20 Questions with ... Stephen Fletcher

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Runcorn born Stephen Fletcher is hardly off the stage. Recently he starred in Gemma Bodinetz's well received production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Liverpool Playhouse. He followed that with the two-man show - David Mamet's A Life In The Theatre the Liverpool Actor's Studio. He returns to the venue from 24 - 28 July and 31 July - 3 August in Jason Robert Brown's musical The Last Five Years.

Date & place of birth?
1981, Liverpool

Lives now in?

What made you want to become an actor?
I had been to youth theatre, and loved it. I applied for one drama school, LIPA. I said to myself, If I get in there, I'll be an actor. I did. So here I am.

What else might you have done professionally?
Either a designer, a journalist, or a teacher.

First big break?
Landing a part in the 24 hour play at The Old Vic in London. It opened up a door at The Donmar Warehouse, and eventually The West End.

Career highlight so far?
For fun, playing Paul McCartney in Lennon. For the challenge, playing Hamlet

Favourite co-star?
They all are, darling!

Favourite playwright?
I love Willy Russell's plays. Slightly obvious, perhaps, being from Liverpool, but I love the humour, the message, the dialogue. I've been lucky enough to appear in 3 off his plays, now (Breezeblock Park, Stags and Hens & Our Day Out) and loved each one. I'm also a big fan of Esther Wilson (Unprotected, Ten Tiny Toes) another Liverpool writer.

What was the first thing you saw on stage that had a big impact on you?
A pantomime at Chester Gateway theatre about a thousand years ago. I went to see it because my cousin had built the set- he's now one of the chief designers at The National - and I was fascinated by the exits and entrances and trap doors- and wanted to be in every scene. It was so clever. I think that was my first big memory of wanting to perform.

And the last?
Leanne Best in The Match Box, by Frank McGuinness. It was unbelievable. I went to LIPA with Leanne and I'm probably her biggest supporter. She is such a brilliant actress and an amazing person. I was so proud to see her give such an amazing performance. Fingers crossed it helps put her on the map.

What's the best advice you have ever received?
Be yourself.

And the worst?
Be fake.

Is there any writer's work you would like to do more of?
No-one writer in particular- I just want to be in good plays, that have a reason to be seen.

What's your favourite book?
I'm not a big reader, to be honest. I think reading scripts and researching plays for auditions and things ticks the 'reading' box. But I do like reading about real life and biographies- I loved Clive James' Falling Towards England, and I'm loving Tony Benn's diaries- he's an amazing man.

Favourite holiday destination?
I'm no Alan Wicker, but of the places I've been, I loved Greece. Favourite place there was Porto Katsiki- it's what I'd like heaven to be like.

Why did you want to get involved with The Last Five Years?
The Last 5 Years has been with me since LIPA. I've always wanted to do it because I love the music so much and the story. As time is getting on, it's one of those plays that I will soon be too old for- so it felt right to do it now while I still can! Time has crept up quickly. I've never seen it on stage before either, so it'll be good to do it how I have always imagined it to be.

Summarise the appeal of The Last Five Years in five words
It is a lovely play.

What is your favourite scene and why?
Cathy (Helen Carter) is an actress, and she is auditionning for a part. In her song "Climbing Uphill" she is singing at her audition, but simultaneously narrating her thoughts while the audition is taking place - commenting on the paranoia and insecurity most actors feel in their career, particularly at auditions. It's a great scene, and a brilliant song.

Why is The Actor's Studio such a unique venue?
It's intimate- 80 seats, close up to the action. The audience are very much part of the play. There's no actual participation, being dragged out your seat. It's just the fact you're in touching distance of the action. The stage is like a big TV screen.

What have you got lined up next?
I'm getting stuck in to developing Life In Theatre productions. This is show two and there's more to come. I'm also developing a TV drama with Leanne Best. Watch this space!


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