Steve Speirs, one of Britain’s most recognisable film and television actors, is heading to Sheringham’s Little Theatre to make people laugh this summer – and to work with an old friend.
Steve, whose film credits include Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean, was invited to put on a play of his choice at Sheringham, by theatre director Debbie Thompson. The two studied drama at Loughborough University in the 1980s when Steve cast Debbie as principal boy in the panto he was directing.
He will star in I am Hamlet, a one-act comedy by Richard James about an audition for the role of Hamlet, which opens the Sheringham summer drama season on Saturday July 29.
Steve said: “The play is a two-hander and it’s incredibly funny, with plot twists all the way through it to keep the audience guessing. Afterwards, there will be a question-and-answer session in which further plot twists will be revealed,” he said.
Recalling his “uni” days with Debbie he added: “She absolutely smashed the audition. We go back a long way and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to come to Sheringham and work with Debbie.
“I’ve got a pretty busy schedule but the stars aligned nicely to enable me to do this. I’ve never been to Sheringham but I’ve seen pictures of it and it looks wonderful. I’m in love with it already and I am really looking forward to coming.”
It will be the first time Steve has appeared on stage since he played Shakespearean actor Richard Burbage in Ben Elton’s Jacobean comedy The Upstart Crow at the Gielgud Theatre, London, in 2020. The first Covid lockdown forced it to close after only a few performances and he said he was looking forward to treading the boards again in an intimate venue like the Little Theatre.
“These are the only performances we’re doing but if it gets the reaction I think it will I would seriously consider taking it to other venues,” said Steve.
He will be on tour this summer with a series of one-man shows called An Evening with Steve Speirs, which features comedy, music and a Q&A session with the audience. Steve can also be seen this summer in Wet Leg, a short film in Channel 4’s award-winning On the Edge series.
The Welsh actor has a long list of television credits, including Extras and After Life with Ricky Gervais, who wrote a part specially for him in his film Cemetery Junction. He has also appeared in Stella, Gangsta Granny and Big School, and wrote, directed and starred in The Tuckers.
I am Hamlet also features Lewes Roberts, 26, as the young hopeful auditioning for the lead in an am-dram production of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy. Lewes, who trained at the Mountview Theatre School, London, said, “Steve is incredibly funny and I’m really looking forward to working with him in this brilliant play. I know the audiences in Sheringham are going to love it, and him.”
Lewes is staying on in the town after I am Hamlet to appear in two more summer season shows – The Hound of the Baskervilles (Aug 15-19) and Private Lives (Aug 29-Sept 2).
“There’s very little opportunity today for young actors to be part of a rep company, so I’m incredibly excited about doing these three plays at Sheringham. It’s an amazing opportunity,” he said.
Debbie, who worked as a professional actor for 10 years, including in the West End, said, “It has been a while since Steve and I caught up. He always has a fund of stories about the film and TV world and I can’t wait to see him on our stage doing what he does best – making people laugh.
“I know that our audiences are going to love Lewes too. He is a very talented young man with a great future ahead of him.”
Tickets for I am Hamlet, which runs July 29 – August 5, and other summer shows, are available here or through the box office on 01263 82237.