Rob Gathercole is making another welcome return back home, this time to feature in Frinton Summer Theatre’s first musical in the Greensward Tent. That’s Fiddler on the Roof, which runs from August 14 to 19. For tickets call 01255 676656.

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

I was a budding actor from a very young age! I always enjoyed entertaining people, and so being in plays and musicals was something I wanted to do from a very early age. My first role was playing two of the three wise men in my nativity play at Elmstead Primary School. I had to cover for one of the other wise men who was being sick! Since then I threw myself into anything I could – I performed in school shows, and did amateur dramatics with groups such as KATS, CO2 and COS. I also was heavily involved with Mad Hatter Productions, where I also had the opportunity to move beyond acting into other avenues, such as directing, producing, writing and composing.

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

Not really – although they have been incredibly supportive of me. At some points I was rehearsing for four or five different shows at once, and they would shuttle me to and from many rehearsals.

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

On Dreamboats and Petticoats, I had the privilege of working with Jimmy Johnston. I remember watching Jimmy on the DVD of the National Theatre’s ‘Oklahoma!’, when I was rehearsing to play the same part as him in CO2’s production back in 2012. He has starred in so many massive shows, and his charisma and energy is infectious. It was amazing to watch how he managed to keep his role and the show fun and fresh for nine months, which is something I hope I can bring to my performances.

What formal training have you done?

I trained at Rose Bruford College on their Actor-Musicianship course. The course is designed for actors who play musical instruments, and so in addition to a traditional actor training you explore ways in which live music can be brought into productions. And funnily enough, that is exactly the kind of show that ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ at Frinton-on-Sea is going to be. As well as playing the role of Fyedka, I will be playing accordion and trumpet throughout the show, which should be an exciting challenge.

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

I often work as a musical director alongside my acting role in productions, which means I may do bits of conducting or arranging music, and teaching the rest of the acting company.

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

I think it is going to be Fyedka - Fiddler is my first ‘legit’ musical – as well as being a very funny show with some cracking songs, it has a real dramatic edge and a darker side. So I’m really looking forward to getting to flex my acting muscles more than usual in this show.

What has been your most embarrassing moment on stage?

On Dreamboats and Petticoats there was a really funny moment that took place in ‘The Tunnel of Love’. I played one of the ‘Stupid Cupid’ angels, whose job was to ‘push’ a couple around the stage in a dodgem car while they sang. I say ‘push’ because the carts were actually motorised, and we didn’t actually have to push them at all. Well of course, one night the cart stops moving. I flip the emergency switch to disengage the engine so I can push it off but the cart won’t budge. Eventually the other actors end up getting out of the cart and carry on singing the song at the front of stage. I couldn’t actually get it off in the end, and so for the rest of the song you just had me in this stupid angel costume making an absolute fool of myself trying to shift this cart… oh the glamour of showbiz!

What role would you most like to play and why?

Once I hit the right age, I would love to play Max Bialystock in The Producers. It’s a masterfully written musical comedy and has been one of my biggest inspirations as a writer – so to be able to perform that role professionally would be an absolute dream come true.

Any big plans for the future?

I really enjoyed creating my own original musical, ‘The Downfall of the School’, back in Colchester in 2013. Five years later, I’m about to embark on the same process, albeit professionally this time. My new show is called ‘Say My Name!’ and it’s an unauthorised parody musical-comedy adaptation of ‘Breaking Bad’. I’ve had a huge amount of fun trying to turn this really epic, dramatic story into a short and snappy musical comedy, and I will be producing the show later this year.