It’s a Wonderful Life opens at the Maltings on 28 November and will tour up and down England and Wales until 1 February 2015. Richard Ede, one of the actors in the company, has taken time out of busy rehearsals to answer a few questions for us. For more information on the tour and booking tickets for the show visit It’s a Wonderful Life.
What character are you playing in It’s a Wonderful Life?
I play the character of George Bailey. I am really looking forward to it; it’s going to be a fantastic show. I’m lucky because I just have the one character to play all the way through but the other guys have to play everybody else in the story. Even though I have the central character to play with a lot to remember, they have to do all the quick changes and all the hard work.
Without giving too much away, what can we expect from the show?
I think we can expect certainly a twist on the original story, if people are familiar with that. However, you can expect all the same magic and the same wonderful human story that you’ll find in the original with our little theatrical twists.
What was the first play you went to see?
I can’t remember the first play I went to see – it was probably at school. Though, I certainly remember seeing CATS in London. I’d never seen anything so big and theatrical, and that made me think “I can do this!” It really lit the touch paper for my love of theatre that stayed with me.
What made you decide to become an actor?
I started my acting journey as a Butlins Redcoat. The real reason that I became an actor was because a friend of mine said “my mum works at Butlins, we should apply to be Redcoats because they look like they have a load of fun and you can get your equity card”. I applied and got an audition. I said to her “have you been called for an audition?” and she said “no I never applied”. So I had to go there by myself with no acting experience whatsoever. I auditioned and got the job!
If you weren’t actor, what would you be doing instead?
That’s a tough question; I am not good at anything else! Well I am quite good at drawing, so maybe I would be an artist or an illustrator. So that’s my fall back, if you’re not actor, an artist, both well-known well-paid trades, yeah right!
What advice would you give to any budding actors?
If you love it and you really think you wouldn’t want to be doing anything else with your life, then this is what you should do. It can be a tough profession and difficult to make a living from. Sometimes you get a little disheartened and you get a lot of knock-backs. You go to auditions and you don’t get them. If people have told you are really good and lots of people have told you should make a career out of it, then you have to stick at it. Be tenacious and thick-skinned.
What are you normally doing in the fifteen minutes before the show starts?
I would usually try to find a quiet corner, think about the show ahead and check all my props. If I have some big speeches, go over those -that’s what I should be doing! But usually if someone is telling a funny story, I am listening to that and realising “We’re on!” So I run like a maniac and hope I am not late!
What are you most looking forward to about rural touring?
I have done outdoor rural touring before, so I am looking forward to not getting rained on. I’m looking forward to getting out into the communities, it’s so interesting. If you do a theatre show and you are in the same theatre every day, it gets familiar and familiarity can breed contempt. It’s nice to be in a different space every day, it’s really exciting and it keeps you on your toes as an actor. It’s nice to meet new people every day and we actually get to talk to people after the show.
Where is the best place you have visited whilst on tour?
Natalia who plays Mary in the show, she is my real life partner. We have toured together and we both love the Far East – China, Japan. We were doing Shakespeare plays and they had never seen any Shakespeare before. We were doing Romeo & Juliet to people who didn’t know the ending. They would gasp because they had no idea what was coming next.
Not many theatre actors are fortunate enough to have Christmas off, how will you be spending your Christmas this year?
It’s going to be a family Christmas with my Mum and Dad, so a traditional one. Although, recently I have become a vegan, so it’ll be Christmas without the turkey. My Mother’s Dad was a butcher, so she will roll her eyes as she serves the nut roast.