Parallel with school productions, I was involved in youth drama, and, through an introduction made by Anthony Barnard, I began to take roles in plays at local amateur ‘little theatres’.
National Youth Theatre of Great Britain
In August 1980, one of a 400 intake from several thousand applicants that year, I took part in a Senior course with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain, and played George Frith in Don Taylor’s “The Roses of Eyam” at the Jeanatta Cochrane Theatre, Holborn, near London’s West End.
Churchill Theatre Youth Section
One local drama teacher who led some of the sessions for the CTYS, Lynne Noble, also wrote a pantomime, performed at the Churchill Theatre, in which I played a policeman, in February 1980.
In December 1975, aged 12, I played Tupper, in Alan Bennett’s “40 Years On” directed by Alan Dodds, at the Crayford Geoffery Whitworth Theatre.
Robert Dilks, who took part in “40 Years On”, introduced me to the Bromley Little Theatre Company. The Bromley Little is an intimate, thriving little place where I was to perform in no less than seven shows over the next few years.
- In November 1980, I played Tybalt in Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet“, directed by Jeffrey Smith.
- In Feb-Mar 1981, I played the tramp and P.O. clerk in Checkhov’s “The Cherry Orchard“, directed by Patricia Plumb.
- In July 1982, I played Eric Birling in J.B. Priestley’s “An Inspector Calls“, directed by Rachel Hodson.
- In August 1982, I played Snug, the lion, in Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream“, directed by Robert Dilks, at the Roundhouse, Tonbridge Wells, in the open air.
- Back at the Little Theatre, in January 1984, I played Dr. Grimwig in Lionel Bart’s “Oliver“, directed by Robert Dilks.
- In June 1984, I played Simon Bliss in Noel Coward’s “Hay Fever“,
- and in June 1985, I played Tristram, in Alan Ayckbourn’s “Taking Sides” directed by Don Dryden.
The Dumb Waiter
In April 1984 I directed Harold Pinter’s “The Dumb Waiter“, at the Bromley Little Theatre, with two sixth formers in the cast. The next time I saw Dominic Mafham, (on the left) in 1990, he was a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company! Nowadays he has his own Wikipedia page.