Performer and producer John Hewer: ‘Camaraderie always gets you through’
I started Hambledon Productions with my sister, Rachel, in 2007. It came from a lack of practical outlet following my university course, support from my local theatre, Louth Riverhead Theatre and a certain amount of luck – many of my friends were taking a gap year and fancied the opportunity to try out some new writing.
We performed Stop!…You’re Killing Me, a film-noir spoof, which went on a successful summer tour and was revived at London’s White Bear Theatre earlier this year.
With my company giving me the outlet I needed, my first job in somebody else’s production followed: a European tour of a trio of Shakespeare plays for Whitehorse Theatre Company. My partner Jane (now my wife) was in Germany with another group and suggested I audition so we could spend more time together.
I can’t remember much about the audition, except that I chose a Peter Cook monologue that I’d recently performed in a variety show. Looking back, it wasn’t wholly suitable, but the director found the humour in it. When I was away in France, Germany and the Netherlands performing Shakespeare, it was great to jump from town to town and see different countries while taking Shakespeare into schools, local communities and their theatres.
When you’re producing the work, there are many more responsibilities than being a hired actor. Fortunately, when Hambledon Productions was taking off, things grew organically and there was a natural progression, with each new show becoming more ambitious.
Whoever is behind the production, the thing that gets you through is camaraderie. It’s important, in the rehearsal room and on the road, to bond with everyone in the team; particularly for comedy. My advice: if you want to do something, chase it. Not everything will come to fruition when you want it to, but you’ll be surprised which doors open when you’re proactive, keen and have a set goal.
CV: John Hewer
Trained: Northumbria University
Theatre credits include: Just Like That! The Tommy Cooper Show (UK tour), Steptoe and Son (UK tour), A Fistful of Spaghetti (UK tour), Stop!… You’re Killing Me (UK tour), Hancock’s Half Hour – The Lost Episodes (UK Tour), Twang!!
Agent: Nelson Browne Management
John Hewer is playing Harold Steptoe in the touring show Christmas with Steptoe and Son. He was talking to John Byrne