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Colin Fine's Theatre Work

This is a brief history of my interest and activity in theatre.

Early years

I never had much involvement in theatre as a child, perhaps surprisingly, since my parents had been active in amateur dramatics before I was born. A youth group my elder brother was in put on a pantomime in about 1970 and I ended up providing the music for it (on my own, after the rest of the band walked out), but my only stage appearance was as a scholar in the school play, Marlowe's Dr Faustus.

Even as a student I never did any theatre (I once went for an audition, but didn't get the part), and even watching theatre wasn't a particularly big part of my varied activities. I was much more involved in music than in drama.

But in my twenties I began going to the theatre a great deal more. I became an ardent follower of the Impact Theatre Cooperative and Cambridge Experimental Theatre. In around 1990 Richard Spaul and Richard Fredman (of CET) led an evening course in Improvisation: I took this course and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Gilbert and Sullivan

I had always been vaguely aware of G&S: I was taken to see The Yeomen of the Guard at the Tower of London in my teens, and I knew some of the music from The Mikado. But I acquired from those about me a dual attitude of disdain: the serious music world looked down on G&S, and the late 20th century at large regarded them as stuffy.

Then in about 1991, I saw my youngest brother in The Gondoliers with Cambridge University Gilbert and Sullivan Society, and my reaction was "That looks like fun!".

In October 1991 I went back to being a student, at Bradford University, and discovered there was a Gilbert and Sullivan Society there. The rest is history, listed below.

My Appearances

The following tables show my appearances to date and scheduled, both on and off stage.

Before 1996

Date Location Group Production Role(s) Job(s) Notes
Feb 1992 Theatre in the Mill BUGSS (Bradford University Gilbert & Sullivan Society) The Mikado (G&S) The Mikado   My first appearance on stage as an adult
Feb 1993 Theatre in the Mill BUGSS Iolanthe (G&S) Lord Mountararat Musical Director  
Jun 1993 Theatre in the Mill BUTG (Bradford University Theatre Group) Vinegar Tom (Caryl Churchill)   Musical Director  
Feb 1994 Theatre in the Mill BUGSS Ruddigore (G&S) Sir Roderic Musical Director  
Aug 1994 The Minack Theatre, Cornwall Cambridge University Gilbert and Sullivan Society The Yeomen of the Guard (G&S) Second Citizen    
Feb 1995 Theatre in the Mill BUGSS The Pirates of Penzance (G&S)   Musical Director, Lighting Designer I also accompanied the performance
Mar 1995 Theatre in the Mill BUTG Everyman Cousin and Discretion    
Aug 1995 Greyfriars Kirk House, Edinburgh BUTG The Hunting of the Snark (Lewis Caroll)   Director I adapted the poem for the stage. The venue no longer exists, but is part of the Grassmarket Community Project, which was run by Paradise Green as Paradise in the Kirkhouse in 2013
Sep 1995 Theatre in the Mill Incite Theatre Under My Skin   Lighting Director Four new short plays
Nov/Dec 1995 Theatre in the Mill BUTG Stags and Hens (Willy Russell)   Technical Director This was my qualifying show, supervised by Martin Roseveare

1996 - 2000

Date Location Group Production Role(s) Job(s) Notes
Feb 1996 Theatre in the Mill BUGSS HMS Pinafore (G&S) Dick Deadeye    
May/June 1996 Wakefield Theatre Royal and Theatre in the Mill BUTG Perfect Circles (John Martin Blythe) Various parts   Part of Wakefield's Walk the Plank festival
June 1996 Theatre in the Mill BUTG A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare) Bottom    
Nov 1996 Theatre in the Mill BUTG Look Back in Anger (John Osborne)   Technical Director  
Dec 1996 Theatre in the Mill BUTG Toad of Toad Hall (A A Milne) Badger    
Feb 1997 Theatre in the Mill BUGSS The Gondoliers (G&S) Giuseppe Assistant Director, Assistant MD  
June 1997 Theatre in the Mill BUTG Bone (Matthew Groom) & Searching for the Sun (Alan Kaye)   Technical Director  
Nov 1997 Theatre in the Mill BUTG Tasty Morsels   Technical Director An evening of new short plays, selected from a competition
Dec 1997 Theatre in the Mill BUTG Lend Me Your Ears (Minton & Whyte)   Co-director, Musical Director, Accompanist This musical spoof on Reservoir Dogs and other Tarantino movies had had only one previous production, in Oxford and Edinburgh.
1997 ? Theatre in the Mill BUTG Chelsea are Shit (Michael O'Brien)   Technical Supervisor  
Feb 1998 Theatre in the Mill BUGSS The Mikado (G&S)   Director  
Nov 1998 Theatre in the Mill BUTG Illusions of Truth (devised by BUTG)   Technical Director  
Feb 1999 Theatre in the Mill BUGSS (Space) Pirates of Penzance (G&S) The Pirate King    
Mar 1999 Theatre in the Mill BUTG Consequences   Technical Director An evening of short new pieces
Apr 1999 Reconvene (the 1999 National Science Fiction Convention), at the Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool The Reconvene Rubber Tree Company Captain Tartan Saves the World - Again! (David Wake) Jeff Tracy, Footnote 1 Lighting Director A one-off extravaganza based on Captain Scarlet, Thunderbirds, Pinocchio, X Files ...
Nov 1999 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society Princess Ida (G&S) Guron    
Nov 1999 Theatre in the Mill BUTG Oh What a Lovely War (Littlewood)   Musical Director  
Nov 1999 Theatre in the Mill BUTG The Woman (Edward Bond)   Technical supervisor  
Mar 2000 Theatre in the Mill BUGSS Ruddigore (G&S) Old Adam    
Mar 2000 Theatre in the Mill BUTG The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (Andrew Crowther) George   World premiere
May 2000 Theatre in the Mill BUTG Foolish Lives, Foolish Loves Actor, Singer   A compilation of scenes from Shakespeare and Ben Jonson, with music by Purcell and Bernstein
Nov 2000 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society The Yeomen of the Guard (G&S) Lieutenant of the Tower    
Dec 2000 Theatre in the Mill BUTG Wyrd Sisters (Pratchett, ad. Briggs)   Co-director  

2001 - 2005

Date Location Group Production Role(s) Job(s) Notes
Feb 2001 The Priestley (now The Bradford Playhouse) BUGSS The Mikado (G&S)   Accompanist I arranged the score for two pianos, and played it with my brother Philip
Apr 2001 Paragon (the 2001 National Science Fiction Convention), at the Hanover International Hotel, Hinkley The Reconvene Rubber Tree Company 20:01, a Sunday Odyssey (David Wake) Footnote 1 Lighting Director More of David Wake's genius. Based on 2001 and 2010, with liberal doses of Captain Tartan, Red Dwarf etc. etc. One performance only
Aug 2001 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Present Laughter (Noel Coward)   Assistant Stage Manager  
Nov 2001 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society HMS Pinafore (G&S) Dick Deadeye    
Dec 2001 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Comfort and Joy (Mike Harding)   Lighting Director  
Mar 2002 The Priestley (now The Bradford Playhouse) BUSOM (Bradford University Society for Operettas and Musicals) Chess (Andersson, Ulvaeus & Rice)   Musical Director The first time I ever waved a stick! BUSOM is BUGSS under a new name
Jun 2002 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Total Theatre Skylight (David Hare)   Lighting Director  
Nov 2002 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society Ruddigore (G&S) Old Adam    
Dec 2002 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Total Theatre Silly Cow (Ben Elton)   Stage Manager  
Mar 2003 Theatre in the Mill BUSOM A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Sondheim)   Band Leader  
Jun 2003 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Relative Values (Noel Coward)   Lighting Director  
Jun 2003 The Priestley (now The Bradford Playhouse) ACT Welcome to Paradise (Andrew Crowther)   Lighting Designer World Premiere. Unfortunately I was sick, and was unable to get to the performances
Oct 2003 The Priestley (now The Bradford Playhouse) ACT Twelfth Night (Shakespeare) Sir Toby Belch   Enthusiastic review by the BBC archived here.
Nov 2003 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society The Mikado (G&S) The Mikado    
Nov 2003 The Priestley (now The Bradford Playhouse) ACT Nativity (Jonathan Hall)   Lighting Director  
Feb 2004 The Priestley (now The Bradford Playhouse) ACT The Love Act Singer Assistant MD, Accompanist An evening of short pieces and songs, on the theme of Love.
Feb 2004 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Total Theatre Curtain Up On Murder (Bettina Manktelow)   Lighting Director  
Mar 2004 Theatre in the Mill BUSOM The Boyfriend (Sandy Wilson) Lord Brockhurst   I also played an accordian on stage to accompany Fancy Forgetting
Apr 2004 Concourse (the 2004 National Science Fiction Convention), in the Pavilion Theatre at the Winter Gardens, Blackpool The Reconvene Rubber Tree Company Tartan Restrung (David Wake) Footnote 1 Lighting Director This time, the Matrix series, Blade Runner ... One performance only
May 2004 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Murderer (Anthony Shaffer)   Lighting Director  
? 2004 Halifax Playhouse bar Halifax Thespians A Night on the Tiles (Frank Vickery) - rehearsed reading   Director  
Nov 2004 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society Iolanthe (G&S) The Lord Chancellor    
Mar 2005 Theatre in the Mill BUSOM Salad Days (Slade & Reynolds) Uncle Zed and a dancing bishop    
Apr 2005 Civic Theatre, Leeds West Riding Opera Faust (Gounod)   Stage Manager  
Apr 2005 Paragon2 (the 2005 National Science Fiction Convention), at the Hanover International Hotel, Hinkley Paragon2 World Premiere Audience Participation Richard III (David Wake, with some assistance from Shakespeare) Clarence   From an idea by Jasper Fforde (see The Eyre Affair), realised by David Wake
? 2005 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians The Imaginary Invalid (Molière) - rehearsed reading Gerald (Beralde)    
Aug 2005 Augustine's, Edinburgh Paradise Green Promotions Trial by Jury (G&S) Usher    
Nov 2005 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society The Grand Duke (G&S) Chorus member    
Dec 2005 Theatre in the Mill Theatre in the Mill Whose Shoes? (Mike Kenny)   Lighting Designer  

2006 - 2009

Date Location Group Production Role(s) Job(s) Notes
Jan 2006 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Loot (Joe Orton) McLeavy    
Feb 2006 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Total Theatre Hans, The Witch and the Gobbin (Alan Cullen)   Sound  
Mar 2006 Theatre in the Mill BUSOM Kiss Me Kate (Cole Porter) Harry/Baptista    
Apr 2006 The Carriageworks, Leeds West Riding Opera The Magic Flute (Mozart)   Stage Manager  
Apr 2006 Bingley Arts Centre Bingley Gilbert and Sullivan Society The Mikado (G&S) Chorus member    
Jul 2006 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Art (Yasmina Reza) Serge    
Nov 2006 The Priestley (now The Bradford Playhouse) ACT The Visit (Dürrenmatt) Doctor Incidental music (played live on accordian)  
Jan 2007 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians The Lion in Winter (James Goldman)   Lighting and sound  
Feb 2007 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Total Theatre Tom's Midnight Garden (Philippa Pearce) Uncle Alan, Abel    
Mar 2007 The Priestley (now The Bradford Playhouse) BUSOM Fiddler on the Roof (Bock and Harnick) Tevye    
Apr 2007 Contemplation (the 2007 National Science Fiction Convention), at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Chester He's Spartacus Inveigle (David Wake) Father Luke   This world premiere was a straight play, unlike David's previous work
Apr 2007 The Carriageworks, Leeds West Riding Opera The Impresario (Mozart)
The Conspirators (Schubert)
Abu Hassan (Weber)
  Stage Manager  
Nov 2007 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society The Pirates of Penzance (G&S) Sergeant of Police    
Nov 2007 The Priestley (now The Bradford Playhouse) BUSOM I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change (DiPietro & Roberts) Ensemble member    
Feb 2008 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Total Theatre Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl) Grandpa Joe Lighting designer  
Mar 2008 Orbital (the 2008 National Science Fiction Convention), at the Radisson Edwardian Hotel, Heathrow   The Terminal Zone (Andrew J Wilson)   Lighting director  
Aug-Sep 2008 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians The Lady in the Van (Alan Bennett) Underwood    
Nov 2008 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society The Sorcerer Chorus    
Dec 2008 Theatre in the Mill BUSOM Company (Stephen Sondheim)   2nd keyboard  
Jan 2009 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Laying the Ghost (Simon Williams)   Lighting director  
Feb 2009 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Total Theatre Look Back in Anger (John Osborne) Colonel Redfern   Moved to the 1980's. Further performances in July in Halifax and Bridlington
Mar 2009 Theatre in the Mill BUSOM Merrily We Roll Along (Stephen Sondheim) Joe Josephson    
Apr 2009 LX (the 2009 National Science Fiction Convention), at the Cedar Court Hotel, Bradford He's Spartacus Invidious (David Wake) Father Luke   Sequel to Inveigle. I was in hospital for most of the convention, so in the end Peter Wareham played my part and I watched!
Jun 2009 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Cider with Rosie (Simon Roose-Evans, after Laurie Lee) Laurie   Very complimentary review in Halifax Courier
Aug 2009 The Vault, Edinburgh (now Paradise in the Vault) Flying Yak Theatre Company Look Back in Anger (John Osborne) Colonel Redfern   The Halifax production from February, further shortened, at the Edinburgh Fringe
Nov 2009 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society The Gondoliers (G&S) Don Alhambra del Bolero    
Dec 2009 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Twelfth Night (Shakespeare)   Lighting director  

2010 on

Date Location Group Production Role(s) Job(s) Notes
Jan 2010 Halifax Playhouse bar Halifax Thespians Man from the Sea (Geoff Daniels) Frank   One of an evening of short new plays.
Mar 2010 Theatre in the Mill BUSOM The Pirates of Penzance (G&S) Major General Stanley    
July 2010 Bradford Cathedral ACT As You Like It (Shakespeare)   Composed music for the songs  
Nov 2010 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society The Yeomen of the Guard (G&S) Lieutenant of the Tower    
Dec 2010 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Great Expectations (Ormerod & Donnellan, after Dickens) Wemmick Lighting designer  
Mar 2011 Theatre in the Mill BUSOM Calamity Jane (Sammy Fain)   Musical Director  
May 2011 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Beata Beatrix (Gillian Plowman) Frank   One of an evening of short plays.
June-July 2011 Korks, Otley Otley Community Players Macbeth (Shakespeare) Macbeth   This production was cancelled three weeks before the performance
Nov 2011 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society HMS Pinafore (G&S) Dick Deadeye    
Jan 2012 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Nightmare (Norman Robbins)   Lighting designer  
Mar 2012 Theatre in the Mill BUSOM Iolanthe (G & S)   Musical Director  
July 2012 Bradford Cathedral ACT The Winter's Tale (Shakespeare) Antigonus    
Sep 2012 Undercliffe Cemetery Undercliffe Devising Theatre Revelling in Secret Spaces Charles Dickens, Titus Salt   This open day at Undercliffe Cemetery was originally scheduled for July. I wrote the pieces I performed, after Dickens and Balgarnie
Oct 2012 Halifax Playhouse bar Halifax Thespians The Trojan Women (Euripides, tr. Gilbert Murray) Menelaus   Script in hand
Nov 2012 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society Princess Ida (G&S) King Gama    
Jan 2013 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians The Woman in White (Constance Cox, after Wilkie Collins) Count Fosco    
Mar 2013 Theatre in the Mill BUSOM Pride and Prejudice (musical, by Bernard J Taylor)   Musical Director There was heavy snow after the first night, so on the last performance the theatre was closed, and we moved to a room in Student Central.
June 2013 The Bradford Playhouse The New Community Arts Academy (TNCAA) Up Front and Personal   Keyboards  
July 2013 Undercliffe Cemetery Undercliffe Devising Theatre A Walk in History Titus Salt,Isaac Holden    
October 2013 Huddersfield Town Hall Slaithwaite Philharmonic Orchestra The Flying Dutchman (Wagner) Chorus member   Part of the singing chorus (in the balcony of the auditorium) as opposed to the silent on-stage acting chorus
Nov 2013 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society The Mikado (G&S) Pish Tush    
Dec 2013 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians The 39 Steps (Patrick Barlow, after John Buchan) Clown    
March 2014 The Bradford Playhouse The New Community Arts Academy (TNCAA) Oliver! Mr Sowerberry    
Nov 2014 Halifax Playhouse Halifax G&S Society The Pirates of Penzance (G&S) Major-General Stanley    
Dec 2014 Kala Sangam tncaa The Addams Family Musical (G&S)   Conductor  
April 2015 The Bradford Playhouse The Bradford Playhouse Our Country's Good (Timberlake Wertenbaker) Governor Philip    
May 2015 Seckford Theatre, Woodbridge Halifax Thespians Happy Jack (John Godber)   Lighting I was only a little involved in the lighting when this was at the Halifax Playhouse the previous week, but when we went to the Woodbridge Drama Festival, I set and operated the lights. We won the Runner-up prize.
May 2015 Seckford Theatre, Woodbridge Talking Stock Le Grand Return (Alan Stockdill)   Lighting As I was at the Woodbridge Drama Festival, I offered to help Talking Stock with their lights, and ended up programming and operating the lights. We won the Festival, Audience, and Acting Team prizes.

Currently scheduled

Date Location Group Production Role(s) Job(s) Notes
June 2016 Halifax Playhouse Halifax Thespians Stepping Out (Richard Harris)   Sound  

Long-term commitments

Theatre in the Mill

I was technical manager of Theatre in the Mill from 1996 to 1998.

Paradise Green

After BUTG ran Greyfriars Kirk House at the the Edinburgh Fringe in 1995, Thomas Sandford invited me and Richard Chapman to join him in running it the following year. We formed a partnership called Venue 28 Promotions, to do so. In 1997 we formed a company, now called Paradise Green, which continued to run the Kirk House every summer, and added a second venue, Augustine's in 1998, with two performance spaces. In 2007, The Kirk House was no longer available to us, and we built a new venue The Vault in the basement of Augustine's, which we make available for hire year-round. Since 2008 we have run a fourth space, The Annexe, built as a temporary theatre each year in another basement of the church.

In 2011 we rebranded the venues as Paradise in Augustine's and Paradise in the Vault. In 2013 we ran a third venue, Paradise in the Kirkhouse, in the Grassmarket Community Centre, a brand-new building which incorporates the old Greyfriars Kirk House as part of its fabric; but in 2014 we reverted to our two venues.

I have been on the board throughout, except for the three years 2006-9.

Halifax Gilbert and Sullivan Society

I was on the committee for several years, and have maintained the society's website for longer.

Bradford Playhouse

In July 2014 I bought the Bradford Playhouse, in order to preserve it as a theatre and as a piece of Bradford heritage. I own the building, but I have no intention of trying to run the place. Jono and Clare Gadsby, and Megan and Carl Murray, are doing that admirably without interference from me.

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Page created by Colin Fine . Last updated: 2015/04/19