Leonard Webster

After getting a law degree at Edinburgh University, I went to Paris to study mime and movement with Jacques Lecoq.

I started as a professional actor at the Liverpool Everyman Theatre in "Romeo & Juliet", followed by a couple of Bob (Return to the Forbidden Planet) Carlton rock n' roll pantomimes and "The Taming of the Shrew".

Since then I have worked in repertory theatres all around the UK. High points have been appearing in "Oedipus" at the Manchester Royal Exchange, playing the MC in "Cabaret" and Adolf Hitler in "Good" at Chester Gateway, Amos Hart (Mr Cellophane) in "Chicago" for the late lamented Century Touring Theatre and opening a new play, "Physical Jerks" at Alan Ayckbourn's Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough.

Worryingly, I felt most at home playing psychotic wimp Lawrence in a joy of a production of "Abigail's Party" at the Northcott Theatre, Exeter and more recently played a man dying of throat cancer in the UK premiere of Brian Friel's "Wonderful Tennessee" - his follow up to "Dancing at Lughnasa" - at Nottingham Playhouse. Most bizarre part was playing Gemima the Giant's wife at Clwyd Theatr Cymri last Christmas.

Outside the UK, I played Lawrence in Abigail's Party again in the far and middle East for Derek Nimmo's company, as well as a couple of shows in the US for the thriving Aquila Theatre Company.

And Eastern Angles Theatre Company deserve a special mention for being the most unexpectedly enjoyable experience on four wheels.

Television credits include two Screen 2 films with Les Blair- "Honest Decent & True" and the BAFTA winning "News Hounds".

In 2002, a thyroid operation went wrong and I was left with a paralysed vocal chord and no voice to speak of. Early in 2004 another operation placed an implant in my throat to enable the remaining vocal chord to work better so that I now have normal speaking voice and a husky singing voice. It can't deal with the demands of the stage, however, so it looks as though this chapter has closed after 20 or so years.

Photograph by Beth Webster

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