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Brian Conley – ‘dyslexia made me want to act’

Brian Conley Burnam Brian Conley in Barnum. Photo: promotional poster
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Brian Conley has revealed that being dyslexic made him want to become a performer.

The actor, who went to Barbara Speake stage school, said he had problems with writing as a child, but that he had embraced dyslexia because “it’s made me what I am”.

In an interview with The Stage, Conley said: “If I wasn’t dyslexic I would not have been in a classroom, confused, and wanting to diffuse the situation by making people laugh. Otherwise I would have been a cab driver like my dad – and there’s nothing wrong with that.”

The performer was talking to The Stage about the new production of Barnum touring the UK, in which he plays PT Barnum.

The musical ran in Chichester Festival Theatre last year, but has been revamped for its current tour.

Conley said: “I am glad we looked at this again and said, ‘It was fantastic last year but how we can take this to another level?’. We’ve given it plenty of time. Chichester had five weeks, we’ve had a whole year to think about it and cherry-pick the best bits.”

For the full interview with Conley, see this week’s The Stage.