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Brief Encounter with...The Seagull's Graeme Hawley

Former Coronation Street star Graeme Hawley is in the last Library Theatre production The Seagull before it becomes HOME. Here he talks Chekhov, life after soap and why he likes working with Manchester's popular theatre company.

What's The Library Theatre Company like to perform for, as you have worked here before?

Graeme Hawley

I love working for The Library. I did my first show with them 15 years ago. I met my wife whilst working for them. Chris Honer has given me the opportunity to do some of the most challenging and exciting roles of my career. I have made so many friends through The Library Theatre Company, it is a company that is very close to my heart.

Do you have good memories of your time on Coronation Street?

I have many wonderful memories from Corrie. I had a brilliant time there and I learned a huge amount while I was there. It was an experience that will hopefully stand me in good stead for many years to come.

Is there life after soap?

Well, I'm still here so I hope so!

Do you get recognised?

Yes. I suppose it takes a while to forget about a kidnapping, identity stealing, and being an accidental serial killer! It's nice that people still remember John Stape though. Hopefully that means I did a good job.

Actors often talk about the buzz they get from performing on stage. Can you describe it?

I suppose the buzz is like an addiction. First nights are simultaneously the most exhilarating and terrifying experience imaginable.

What attracted you to The Seagull?

I'm a huge Chekhov fan, and The Seagull is one of his greatest plays. I was in Uncle Vanya at drama school and have been desperate to do another Chekhov play ever since. So this job has been nearly 20 years in the making.

What challenges does Chekhov provide for an actor?

His writing demands that the characters have to be highly detailed and fully rounded. The joy for an audience is in seeing these complex characters exist in front of them. So that is a challenge but one that most actors relish.

Do you have a wish-list of roles?

I do, but the list is far too long to mention. And the list grows every year. I'm still far too young to play half the roles I'd like to.

Would you ever perform in musicals?

I was in quite a few musicals when I was young but I haven't done one for years. Maybe one day though.

Can you summarise why audiences should see The Seagull?

The people in this play are as relevant and recognisable as they were when it was written over 100 years ago. Anya Reiss's new translation also makes it feel like a brand new play. It's funny, witty, painful, and at times very moving. We have a brilliant cast, a wonderful script, and a great production. I think it could be something very special.

Anya Reiss's new version of Anton Chekhov's The Seagull is at The Lowry from 21 February - 8 March. This is Chris Honer's final production as the company's Artistic Director. For more, click here.

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