The Hostry Fes­ti­val

The Hostry Fes­ti­val brings a fort­night of drama, mu­sic, con­ver­sa­tion and celebri­ties to Nor­wich this month – and it couldn’t hap­pen with­out Peter Bar­row, writes ROWAN MANTELL

EDP Norfolk - - Inside -

We talk to event bene­fac­tor Peter Bar­row

PETER Bar­row thought he had given up act­ing – un­til he got in­volved in a new Nor­wich fes­ti­val.

Ever since he has played a vi­tal role in the Hostry Fes­ti­val, not just on stage, but in help­ing fund it too.

To­gether with Stash Kirk­bride he helped stage a sin­gle play in the new Cathe­dral Hostry, seven years ago. The fol­low­ing year they re­vived an­other play and added more events. To­day the fes­ti­val runs for more than a fort­night, with pa­trons in­clud­ing Melvyn Bragg, Hay­ley Mills and Olivia New­ton-John.

“Stash’s father was a big noise in Aus­tralian tele­vi­sion. He pro­duced a show a bit like X Fac­tor, called Boomeride. Olivia New­ton-John was one of the promis­ing young con­tes­tants,” ex­plained Peter.

She went on to star in Grease and the Kirk­bride fam­ily moved back to Nor­folk, but when Stash got in touch, and men­tioned his father, she agreed to be pa­tron of the Nor­folk fes­ti­val.

Peter grew up in Canada and still speaks with a soft Cana­dian ac­cent, of­ten mis­taken for Ir­ish. “My father was a suc­cess­ful busi­ness­man, with a big cat­a­logue and de­part­ment store com­pany, Simp­son-Sears,” said Peter.

Of­fered a job in the Lon­don of­fice, he was far more in­ter­ested in the clas­si­cal mu­sic concerts and op­eras of the Bri­tish cap­i­tal.

“But I couldn’t hold a tune in a bucket so I thought I may as well have a look at this act­ing lark and was sur­prised by how much I liked it,” ex­plained Peter.

He en­rolled in drama classes, and then drama col­lege, and be­came part of a group of friends who loved the­atre.

“But I never re­ally got be­yond the fringe of the in­dus­try,” he said. When two of the group, Stash Kirk­bride and Re­becca Chap­man, moved to Nor­wich, he soon fol­lowed. “I didn’t know

many peo­ple and half the peo­ple I knew well had come up to Nor­wich, so I thought I’d try it.

“I loved it. It’s a lot more con­ve­nient than Lon­don be­cause it is so much smaller, but it is a city with a lot of arts stuff go­ing on and quite lively.

And Stash, Re­becca and Peter soon added to that. He had given up try­ing to make a liv­ing from act­ing but said: “Once you’re in it, it never re­ally goes away.” Now 66, he still mainly wants to act. He se­cured parts in Mad­der­mar­ket and Crude Apache pro­duc­tions - and in­vested part of an in­her­i­tance in the Hostry Fes­ti­val.

“So far it’s a mas­sive phil­an­thropic ven­ture!” said Peter. “It’s hard to make money in a small venue.”

But the Hostry Fes­ti­val is mak­ing a big im­pact. It show­cases the tal­ents of in­ter­na­tion­ally-known names along­side lo­cal peo­ple with dis­abil­i­ties, brings pain­ters on to the streets of Nor­wich, re­vives lit­tle-known plays and re­wards the tal­ents of peo­ple work­ing in the arts across the county.

And for Peter, who helps make all of this hap­pen, his high­light of each Hostry Fes­ti­val is the chance to act.

This year he will be play­ing the chief of po­lice in The Ea­gle Has Two Heads by Jean Cocteau. A would-be as­sas­sin falls for a reclu­sive queen in a love story, with live mu­sic, which has not been staged in Nor­folk for at least 70 years.

Peter Bar­row in cos­tume for his part in the cen­tral pro­duc­tion of the Hostry Fes­ti­val

Stash Kirk­bride and Peter Bar­row

Nor­wich Hostry Fes­ti­val 2017 launch night at Nor­wich Cathe­dral

Hostry Fes­ti­val 2017 - To­tal En­sem­ble The­atre Com­pany.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.