Always Dreaming: Graham Fewell Visits Every UK Venue
Graham Fewell, aka Snug from The Castle Players, has seen Dream at every single venue on our UK tour.
We asked him why…
I decided to go and see the show at every UK venue because I wanted to support fellow Mechanicals up and down the country who were probably going through a similar experience as us. I also wanted to connect with other groups as The Castle Players was all I had known up until then.
I have long-loved A Midsummer Night’s Dream, since I saw a young Judi Dench (and if I ever get to meet her I will die happy!) in a film version in 1968. It is not possible to tire of this play and the chance to see the wonderful professional cast week-in and week-out was too much to miss.
Some of the areas I knew well already… I’ve driven trains in Norwich (living there for a year) and up to Nottingham, which has special significance for me. I still remember the old Trolly Buses (withdrawn in 1960) around the city. My sister was born there, my mother was born there and at that time I had a lot of family from my mother’s side. So Nottingham and I are old friends.
I know Glasgow well as my old schoolmate Chris and I both worked on BR (British Railways) in the 70s & 80s. Chris was an engineer on the Advanced Passenger Train, which was located at Shields Depot. We often visited Glasgow and I know the city really well.
I have a sort of link with Cornwall, thought not specifically Truro. My very first holiday was in 1965 in Bude, and then Penzance. My wife and I visited Lands End whilst we were down seeing the Truro mob. I had not been there since the mid sixties and like a lot of locations, it was a trip down memory lane.
I worked in Norwich on the footplate for a year in 1973 and struggled on my return this year to locate the parts of the long-gone Carrow Road Depot I worked at.
I worked in London for over five years and never set foot on Barbican tube station. It was an eye-opener to see that part of London for the first time in my life. Sixty years old and I’d never bothered to look at that part of London.
Again, I had never set foot in Bradford, though a good friend of mine at college hailed from there and I used to pass through on my way back from University each weekend.
I had never been to Canterbury, but with the new high-speed South Eastern service and a good service from Darlington to Kings Cross I was able to catch the matinee and be home by 9pm that night. I fell in love with Canterbury’s streets and its shops. I will definitely be returning with my wife to visit Canterbury again. All the Mechanicals have been most welcoming, but Canterbury and Truro stand out in my mind as they made a point of looking me up and getting in touch.
I adored the visit to Blackpool and it was really wonderful to see another side of the famous old seaside town. The Blackpool visit was made with Peter Cockerill and Ben Pearson, fellow Mechanicals from Castle Players.
Cardiff and in particular Cardiff Bay has been a firm favourite with my family and I for a number of years. Thankfully my whole family share the same love of Dr Who, which is now firmly based in Cardiff. We visit at least twice a year. To share the same stage as Chu, Aiesha and Peter who have all appeared in Dr Who has been another dream come true for me.
I last visited Belfast in 1973 when I attended a friend’s wedding there. It was wonderful to see how much regeneration has gone on in the city and how much life the city has now. Trevor (their Bottom) is most certainly on of the great Dream characters and a pleasure to have known.
Stratford-upon-Avon also has fond memories for me. I was fortunate enough to appear in the Open Stages festival when we took The Castle Players version of As You Like It there about four years ago. Although we performed outside and I thought my chance of appearing onstage in the actual theatre had come and gone…
I can honestly say that this Dream is the best production of the play I have ever seen, and I never will get tired of seeing it. I rate the play for a number of reasons…
Firstly, it is probably Shakespeare’s most accessible comedy by a country mile. Even for those who cannot access his language are kept engaged and know what is going on all the time. The play has been beautifully handled by the RSC and in particular Erica Whyman (Director). She has the knack (as do Kim and Sophie – Associate Directors) of drawing the very best out of the actors and the script.
It is quite clear having been involved in the production that the audience have remained at the top of the list. I have sat now in fourteen different audiences and Erica’s team had found the formula to engage each and every one. This play has been successfully taken on to the next generation and is in safe hands at the RSC.
I thought my chance had gone when failing to land a speaking role in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by The Castle Players in 2013, but now I am about to walk out on one of the most famous stages in the world as Snug the Joiner.
This is a dream I do not want to wake up from.