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Culture: Weeks of action lie ahead for Swan ace; Actor Kevin Patton is busy with three diverse productions looming, as John Slim discovers.

Byline: John Slim

Kevin Patton has had a pretty busy time since joining Worcester's Swan Theatre Company last September.

He has been in the company's annual music hall production, plus Blithe Spirit, Albert's Plot, and The Owl and the Pussycat Went to See. . .

And things are not exactly slowing down. At present, he is rehearsing for what will be the world premire of The Love Nest, a comedy due to open at the Swan on Thursday, August 29, for a nine-night run.

But he is also involved in the title role of The Welsh Rabbit, a Swan Children's Theatre production - which means he will be rehearsing that on Friday, September 6, before going on stage in The Love Nest that night. The following morning, the curtain opens on The Welsh Rabbit and the last night of The Love Nest is a few hours later.

Soon after the final curtain, he goes into rehearsal for The Talented Mr Rigby, which opens on October 10. The Love Nest is by Raymond Hopkins, whose Love Begins at Fifty was done by STC not long before Kevin joined the group.

Its 'world premire' tag comes about because of the success of Love Begins at Fifty. But the fact that STC chairman Brian J Burton is also the man at the helm of Hanbury Plays, the play's publisher, may not be entirely unconnected with the coup.

People's Theatre, an offshoot of Maverick Theatre Company, has ambitious plans for a full-scale production of Henry V next month - as an exercise in community theatre involving both amateurs and professionals.

It is the brainchild of Nick Hennegan, the driving force behind Maverick, and he is looking to complete his tally of actors and backstage staff by the weekend.

The production will be at Birmingham Library Theatre from September 23 to October 5. Between now and then, there will be rehearsals three nights a week plus one day during weekends.

Already, he says, he has a company with a healthy mixture of age and experience - and he plans it as the first of a series of annual community productions.

Time is whizzing by, so the best way to contact him is by email at nick@mavericktheatre.com.

A young Wolverhampton company is looking for a dame for a highly unusual pantomime.

The group is Central Youth Theatre, which plans to present Dick Turpin at the Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton, from December 7 to 15.

Its dame for last year's even-more-unlikely Christmas show - Hercules - was Wolverhampton University student David Payne, who is not available this time round because he is studying for his finals.

Director Jane Ward says: 'David is going to be a very hard act to follow - but we are sure that somewhere in Wolverhampton there must be similarly talented young actors who are dying to pull on a pair of pantomime bloomers and impress us with their acting skills.'

The young man she is seeking will probably be between 14 and 25 years old, quick-witted, and able to strike up a good rapport with an audience. There will also be places for young men to become part of Dick Turpin's gang of highwaymen.

The show is being specially written and created for young actors by Wolverhampton-based writer Jonathan Collings. Rehearsals start early next month.

Auditions will be on Saturday at the Arena Theatre in Wulfruna Street. There will be weekly rehearsals on Sundays.

Applicants should contact Fiona Trenchard Davies, the theatre's marketing manager, on 01902 322 646.

While we're on the subject of unusual pantomimes, there's a fairly rare Beauty and the Beast due at the Priory Theatre, Kenilworth, from December 20 to January 4.

This one could, however, be on an upward popularity curve because of the Disney film and stage musical.

Just a reminder that there is still just about time to drop in at the International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival at Buxton Opera House before it finishes on Sunday with The Gondoliers, presented by Derby Gilbert & Sullivan Society.

Between now and then, there are productions of HMS Pinafore and TrialBy Jury (tonight) and Princess Ida(tomorrow), and three performances of Iolanthe (Friday and Saturday night and Saturday afternoon), as well as other events in other venues during the mornings and afternoons.

The box office (01323 412000) is open between 10 am and 6 pm, until Saturday.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Aug 14, 2002
Words:720
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