In 1971, I went to Eltham College, an English Public School, reknowned for its academic leanings, where I was a dayboy for ten years.
From the outset, I took part in annual school plays, and in the Shakespearean tradition played the girls – including playing a princess in,
- “The Charcoal Burner’s Son“, in 1973, and
- Alice, in her adventures, in 1974.
- In a Sixth Form Review I played “Tina” in Joe Orton’s “Funeral Games.”
In the main school I at first played only small roles in the annual school plays –
- in Giles Cooper’s “Unman, Wittering and Zigo“,
- Aumerle in Shakespeare’s “Richard II” in 1977
- Benvolio in “Romeo and Juliet“,
- and the boy in the French farce, “The Italian Straw Hat” by Eugene Labiche.
I won 1st prize in the annual Reading and Speech Competition, in my age group, seven times.
- In March 1979, aged 16, ‘O’ Levels behind me, I played Joseph Surface in Sheridan’s “School for Scandal“, directed by then Head of English, Anthony Barnard, in the gym/theatre space at the school. (Eltham College now sports the ‘Anthony Barnard Theatre’.)
- In March 1980, aged 17, I played Charleston, the lighthouse keeper, in Robert Ardrey’s “Thunder Rock“, directed by Anthony Barnard.
- During this year I also directed extracts from Jean Anouilh’s “Antigone“, in which I played Creon, for a Sixth Form Drama Showcase.
- In July 1981, following A Level exams, I played Prospero, in Shakespeare’s, “The Tempest“, directed by Anthony Barnard, in the open central courtyard.