Clarke Peters: 'There's a sixth Moe in my Five Guys Named Moe'

”The Wire” actor is directing his show ”Five Guys Named Moe” at a brand new theatre in London

Clarke Peters
Clarke Peters

I moved to London in 1973 after I starred in Hair in Paris. I got a call to come to do a demo in London, returned to Paris, then a week later was asked back to London. I signed a singing and songwriting contract with Essex Music and the rest is history.

The theatre scene in London in the '70s was so different. When I came over I worked with some wonderful actors including Elizabeth Welch, who had come over from America in the 1930s with Josephine Baker. She was there at the birth of musicals in the 1930s. Elizabeth put me in touch with a stream of artists who had come to Europe and made a life for themselves.

In America, once you get a job on Broadway you feel like you’ve arrived. You could be there for ten years in the same show. That would drive me nuts. Here in England, you’re trained as an actor to play as many roles as you can. That’s what serves you as an artist: to be able to stretch in one direction and then another.

The cast of Five Guys Named Moe
The cast of Five Guys Named Moe
© Helen Maybanks

We’re using the space we’re in for Five Guys Named Moe as if it’s a sixth Moe. The show has never been performed in the round before. But the Marble Arch Theatre has been designed for our show, so it’s both exciting and humbling to be in it. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds. Hopefully it will be successful and they will put other productions on in it.

The show is an evening of joyful noise. It’s an escape from all the misery and nonsense we’re living through today. It’s an evening of communing with strangers in the most joyful way that’s possible. Part of the reason we revived it was that it’s celebrating its 25th anniversary but also because Underbelly said this was the best piece of theatre to bring attention to the space.

I started entertaining because I was the middle of four brothers. I spent time telling stories and babysitting. I’m not too sure where it came from but in one way it felt like a calling. Wherever it came from I’m very grateful that it came and I’m glad that I listened to it.

Five Guys Named Moe runs at the Marble Arch Theatre from 14 September to November 25, with previews from now.

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