BRIAN Malone is one of the leading actors currently appearing in Colchester’s theatre scene. He’s next up in Colchester Theatre Group’s The Foreigner, which runs at the Headgate Theatre from May 23 to 26.

What or who got you interested in theatre? Did you take part in any productions at school?

As a very short seven year old I played 3rd Wise Man alongside two very tall 11-year-olds. Further Nativities followed - 5th shepherd and Joseph - and then I rested for about 30 years before starting again, plunging straight into panto (and purple tights) at the Bridewell Theatre in London.

Are or were any members of your immediate family involved in the theatre?

Our youngest daughter Lindsay, who can remember lines far better than I can, has played leading roles in the sixth form and also appeared for Dedham Players reeling off a list of foodstuffs in a Yorkshire accent in When We Are Married. My wife Sam has now picked up her baton.

Who is the most inspiring person you’ve worked with and why?

I have been lucky to work with a range of very experienced and talented local directors - examples being Jenny Burke and Paul T Davies - who have been very patient.

Colchester is very lucky to have one of the most thriving and high quality amateur theatre scenes in the country, and an excellent venue, the Headgate Theatre, at which to experience it.

Seriously, people of Colchester, tickets are only about £12 or £13 and the standard is often comparable with the West End (or better, actually) - do try it if you haven’t already.

What formal training have you done?

I have done a few workshops at the Headgate but other than that it has mainly been observing and attempting to emulate some of my excellent fellow actors.


Brian Malone in the Headgate panto

Do you have any specialist skills – anything from stilt walking to dress-making – which you work into your repertoire?

Sadly no - my face does seem to pull some interesting expressions but as I stay away from mirrors I have no idea how that happens.

Which experience/role do you regard as the highlight of your career to date?

I have enjoyed so many roles, including playing a ridiculous king with some great comedy lines in Dawn King’s panto last year, but probably my favourite character was a seven year old boy in the Second World War in Steve Dunt’s Blue Remembered Hills.

All seven in the cast enjoyed regressing to our younger selves and yelling excitedly at each other, although I did feel that Kevin Topple dribbled on me a little too enthusiastically.

What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?

Over the years I’ve learned that it’s best just to throw yourself into the character and ignore the potential embarrassment, for example some suggestive wood whittling in Colchester Theatre Group’s Canterbury Tales, because for the audience those can be the funniest and most memorable moments. Fortunately the Canterbury Tales was full of them (primarily thanks to Ian Amos’s imaginative direction) so I certainly wasn’t alone.

What role would you most like to play and why?

There are so many good plays out there and so many interesting roles. I do particularly enjoy comedy because of the instant feedback you get from the audience, hopefully.

Ever corpsed on stage? What happened?

Not in an actual performance but in the dress rehearsal for Dedham Players’ See How They Run I did fall about laughing when a fellow actor pointed his gun in a threatening way and it broke in two.

In Priory Players’ Richard III, my character died and I had to lie on a camp bed for ten minutes. In a string vest. In the pouring rain and howling wind in Castle Park. I’m sure the audiences could see me shivering.

Any big plans for the future?

I’m currently Chair of the committee of Colchester Theatre Group, which is a great honour given that it has been running for 65 years.

I’m very proud of the plays produced by the Group but I’m also conscious that behind the scenes we do struggle to find people to assist with the technical side of theatre - lighting, sound, set building etc.

We have some excellent people who provide loyal support but they aren’t always available and it would be great to build up a pool of new people. Those interested please check out our website and Facebook pages.

Any tricks for remembering your lines or other useful tips to pass on to other actors/directors?

Repetition, repetition, repetition. No wonder most actors hate learning lines. Other than that, I do try to inhabit the character and imagine how they would be feeling, which seems to work well. Even ridiculous panto kings have feelings.

For tickets call 01206 366000 or go online here