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