Life at The Lit­tle The­atre, South­port

Midweek Visiter - - Life at The Little Theatre, Southport -

THE fi­nal play of the sea­son, Same Time Next Year, fea­tur­ing Trudi Hirsch as Doris and Les Gom­er­sall as Ge­orge, opens tonight.

Les then em­barks on an­other sig­nif­i­cant role: he’s next sea­son’s South­port Dra­matic Club chair.

Sur­pris­ingly, this is Les’s first time as a per­former in a bar pro­duc­tion.

He’s rel­ish­ing the chance to act ‘in the round’, sur­rounded by and within touch­ing dis­tance of the au­di­ence, for the first time in many years since per­form­ing in lo­cal li­braries with the Garrick Play­ers.

Les had his love of the­atre ig­nited in 1980 by former boss David Davies, an­other vet­eran of the South­port stage.

He’d never con­sid­ered the­atre be­fore – as a foot­ball fan his nat­u­ral habi­tat was the ter­races rather than the au­di­to­rium.

He was drafted into a show with work col­leagues.

En­tered into in the Civil Ser­vice The­atre Fes­ti­val, it won best play, best di­rec­tor for David and best ac­tor for Les. He was bit­ten by the bug. He joined Sefton The­atre Com­pany and mar­vels that within six months he went from com­plete novice to a ma­jor part in a Shake­speare play, Much Ado About Noth­ing.

The role that had most im­pact on him was as Je­sus in a 1982 pro­duc­tion of Den­nis Pot­ter’s Son of Man.

He felt every ounce of the pas­sion of the part, es­pe­cially on the night the fix­ings that held the cross failed and he had to hold strength of will.

The suf­fer­ing on his face, so well acted on other nights, was gen­uine.

He was tempted into the SDC in 1989 by then chair Colin Grime.

He never con­sid­ered him­self good enough be­fore, in awe of peo­ple such as Mike Yates and Mike Stow­ell.

He quickly es­tab­lished him­self as an SDC panto reg­u­lar, first as Dame side­kick for Ray Mann, then with Arnold Gorse with whom he formed an in­stinc­tive com­edy rap­port. He went on to play Dame twice. A pro­lific ac­tor and di­rec­tor, Les knows there’s so much more to the­atre and has vol­un­teered in every ca­pac­ity for the SDC over the years.

He is a ded­i­cated ad­vo­cate for the Youth The­atre and gets fired up mak­ing sure they get all the sup­port and recog­ni­tion they de­serve. He’s very proud to be chair. He says if some­one told him 30 years ago he’d be asked one day, he’d have thought they were crazy.

He wants his year at the helm to fo­cus on recog­nis­ing ev­ery­thing the SDC does right and do­ing more of it!

He says: “If you’ve got a happy smile on your face and you’re wel­com­ing, you make it eas­ier for the per­form­ers on stage when the cur­tain goes and ev­ery­one’s in a good mood.”

Les does the­atre sim­ply be­cause he loves it.

He’s still hun­gry for it and still rel­ishes every role and part he plays.

His pas­sion cer­tainly comes across as you’ll no doubt see if you come to

Les Gomer­all – who ap­pears in the present bar show, Same Time Next Year – in the role of Sir Humphrey in Yes, Prime Min­is­ter

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