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James Spofforth on...... One Night in Istanbul

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James Spofforth is one of Liverpool’s finest emerging actors. With a role in Willy Russell’s remixed hit of 2008, Stags & Hens, already under his belt, he is about to tread the boards of the Liverpool Empire in Nicky Allt’s new musical recounting the events of a certain One Night in Istanbul opposite John McArdle and Ann Marie Davies and is delighted to be involved. We caught up with him to chat about this highly anticipated production.

When did you first become aware of One Night in Istanbul?
Nicky came to watch me at the Unity theatre in a play called Gods Gift by local writer Arthur Ellison. We then became reacquainted at the Royal Court in 2008 and that is when he put the idea to me. Istanbul was such a massive and historic occasion in LFC history and this is an opportunity to celebrate and reminisce about that night.

How would you describe the play to a potential audience member?
The play follows the journey of two dads and their sons who travel to Istanbul. There are ancient cuff links to dispatch of, a stash of cash and the Turkish underworld which stand in the way of the lads on their memorable journey. As an audience member, you can expect the hairs to stand up on the back of your neck as you embark on a rollercoaster journey of fun on a trip back in time.

Are you looking forward to the prospect of working with John McArdle?
John McArdle is a legend and such a nice person who always has time to listen. John has great timing, and essentially he always remains in character. For someone with such a great CV he is very humble and I had instant respect for him. He has a calming influence on the cast and I feel very privileged to work with him. I will no doubt be picking his brains in the next few weeks.

What experiences did you gain from working with Willy Russell last year?
Willy Russell was very hands on when rehearsing for Stags & Hens which meant we spent quite a lot of time with him. It was nice to be able to ask questions to him direct about your character and he was very approachable. He is obviously a world famous writer and it was very special to be cast.

What are the best and worst things of acting?
Overall, the best part of the job is that I love acting and going to work with a smile on your face everyday is priceless. The worst part is that the profession is unstable and unpredictable at times. You have to be able to deal with the lows. I do get nervous. I think anyone who says they don’t are telling pork pies but then I think it’s a good thing because if you channel that nervous energy then the adrenalin can always assist in enhancing your performance.

What is next for you?
I’ve just finished shooting a short film with Elegance Productions. After One Night in Istanbul, I will be considering a play early in 2010 and working on a new feature film about football fans. As much as I enjoy theatre, I’m equally as passionate about TV drama and film. Hopefully I can stay busy for as long as possible but I’m not sure what the future holds for me. At the moment I am going through quite an exciting time and long may it continue.

James Spofforth was speaking to Chris High.

One Night in Istanbul runs at the Liverpool Empire from 9 to 18 July 2009


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