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How stagey are you? Stuart Piper vs Julie Atherton

Who will win in the battle between actor and agent?

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Julie Atherton

Julie Atherton is a well known supporter of new musicals, and has myriad stage credits from Avenue Q to Sister Act to Lift and Ordinary Days.

She is currently starring in Shock Treatment at the King's Head Theatre, and will soon be at the Arts Theatre in I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change.

Stuart Piper

'Agent to the stars' Stuart Piper is managing director of Cole Kitchenn, and produces the annual WhatsOnStage Awards Concert.

His career has included acting opposite Sheridan Smith and John Thaw and general managing and producing numerous productions before becoming an agent for Cole Kitchenn.

What was the last show you went to see?

The last show I went to see was The Sound of Music at the Leicester Curve because my best friend, Laura Pitt-Pulford, was in it. She was amazing! 1

The last show I went to see was a preview of Bend It Like Beckham. I have clients, Lauren Samuels and Preeya Kalidas, starring in it. It was totally fabulous.1

How many showtunes do you have on your phone/iPod?

Not many actually. Normally I download stuff for auditions but I don't have many – that's mainly because I'm really bad at technology. 0

So I've got the largest storage Apple products and they're all full which is constantly annoying. I've been collecting cast albums since I was nine, so you know that guy from The Drowsy Chaperone? That's basically me. 1 [Good niche musical theatre reference too]

What is the stagiest picture you have in your phone?

Me and Kate, the stagiest monster I know (a present from Cameron's office). 1

Me with my client Janie Dee and Juliet Stevenson, whose son I played in the 1995 drama The Politician's Wife. 1

Who is the stagiest contact you have in your phone?

I think Stu Piper might be the stagiest contact! Or Stephen Fry, Mel Giedroyc, Richard Fleeshman… 1

I think it has to be Dame Joan Collins. 1

How many of the Strallen sisters can you name?

Ok, there's Scarlett – I love her, and she's the only one I know, really. Summer. Zizi. I don't know the other one, I'm really sorry! 0.5

I was a fellow child star with Scarlett when we made our West End debuts together at nine years old in 1992. I've since got to know the lovely Summer, and I've worked with the fabulous Zizi. I know Sasi the least, but I do know the fifth Strallen, Cici. She keeps a low profile and shuns the spotlight. I'm an agent, I know all the secrets. 2 [We don't know if there is actually another Strallen, but bonus points because we hope so]

What is your favourite Shakespeare quote?

There are quite a few, but I think my favourite one is "I would challenge you to a battle of wits but I see you are unarmed" 1

I have this on my fridge – "Listen to many, speak to a few". 0 [Stagey people talk to everyone]

Do you have any theatrical superstitions?

No I don't, I really try not to do that at all. I got a little bit too into it when I was little and had to literally repeat everything twice, so had to stop it. 0

The one to always remember as an agent is from Mel Brooks's The Producers – "It's bad luck to say good luck on opening night". 1

Who would be your ideal dinner date?

It would have to be a Hollywood film director so he could give me a job. 0 [Sound thinking, but not very stagey]

My assistant Brooke Kinsella MBE, who's one of the most inspiring women in the world. 0 [She is very inspiring, but not too stagey]

Tell us a stagey joke

I only know filthy ones… 0

Knock knock.
Who's there?
The interrupting jazz hands.
The interrupting jazz hands w-
[Jazz hands in face] 1

What is your earliest theatrical memory?

Going to see Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat - it was on at the Charter Theatre in Preston and my mum took me along. I couldn't believe I wasn't one of the kids in it, I was pretty annoyed about that. 1

My first theatre trip ever was to see Jason Donovan and Linzi Hateley in Joseph and I literally wore my CD out singing along to Linzi. I used to sing along to her every day of my childhood. 1

And the winner is...


Julie started well and had some good stagey anecdotes, but was let down by her lack of technological skills and clean joke knowledge.


Stuart well and truly won this week's battle, and takes joint second place in the overall league table. What more would you expect from someone who made their West End debut with a Strallen aged 9?

Coming up next week: A battle of the Boys with Jersey Boys's Michael Watson and Tim Driesen

Stagey League Table

1. Drew McOnie

10 points

=2. Stuart Piper

9 points

=2. Jenna Russell

9 points

4. Kerry Ellis

8.5 points

=5. Gerard McCarthy

8 points

=5. Noel Sullivan

8 points

=5. Charlotte Wakefield

8 points

=5. Michael Xavier

8 points

9. Richard Fleeshman

7.5 points

=10. Louise Dearman

7 points

=10. Carley Stenson

7 points

12. Charlie Brooks

6.5 points

=13. Summer Strallen

6 points

=13. Catrin Stewart

6 points

=13. Rachel Tucker

6 points

16. Julie Atherton

5.5 points

17. Matthew Kelly

4 points

18. Lucy Briggs-Owen

3.5 points