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Diary: Baby steps in Tim Howar’s way

Never work with children, hey? Or maybe do. Remember Tim Howar – he who made headlines in February when he had to dash during the interval from London’s Coliseum, where he was playing Freddie Trumper in Chess, as his wife had gone into labour? It was a good news story, you’ll recall, as the understudy stepped up and, in Howar’s words, “smashed it”, and everything went well with the birth of Howar’s son Hamish.

Actor and Chess understudy Cellen Chugg Jones – ‘It was single-handedly the best moment of my life’ [1]

But the story does not end there. That baby, whose appearance had such an impact on one West End show, has already made his acting debut in another. Wasting no time, Hamish made around 16 appearances at the Harold Pinter Theatre in the National Theatre transfer of Consent [2], playing, er, the baby. It’s a key role.

Howar, who is preparing to take over the title role of The Phantom of the Opera, reveals his youngest’s budding stage career. “My wife [Jodie Oliver-Howar] and I have both been doing theatre for a while. When you’re at home with the baby you can feel like your life has gone. So we had a discussion and I said: ‘If you want to take him to the theatre, why not?’”

Read our exclusive interview with Tim Howar [3]

Hamish was one of six different babies to play the part during the run. “He was on at the opening night,” Howar says. “I chaperoned him a couple of times. And he was amazing. The first time, I thought he was going to cry, but he didn’t. He was laughing with the actors and the audience loved it.”

This acting lark… just child’s play.

Send stories to tabard@thestage.co.uk [4]