Theatre; CURTAIN CALLS

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The Independent Culture
There's nothing wrong with acting but there's everything wrong with being an actor. Unless you're Judi Dench, you have to spend most of your time begging for work. Without appearing desperate, of course.

Then there's the insecurity. Short of going into Phantom or signing up for a stint at the RSC, there's almost no such thing as guaranteed employment so financial planning is a pretty alien concept. And, contrary to popular belief, the wages are dreadful, particularly for women. According to Equity's most recent survey, the average annual earnings for a woman are pounds 11,000. So it's no wonder that many perfectly fine actors move into other areas of the profession.

Prior to worldwide success with his play My Night With Reg, Kevin Elyot was an actor and Peter Gill (above) started out acting too. But he fairly swiftly changed his mind and switched to directing. Then he began writing. Drawing on his understanding of the profession, his beautifully distinctive plays provide actors with extraordinary opportunities, the exquisitely rendered characters building unfashionably quiet atmospheres of acutely observed emotional intensity.

Certain Young Men was a knockout at the Almeida this year, and now, thanks to inspired programming, the Haymarket Theatre in Basingstoke is reviving Small Change.

Booking: 01256 465566

David Benedict

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