Actor/Singer, Leamington Spa, UK


About Me

I became interested in theatre, especially performing, very early on, and participated in many school productions from about the age of seven. Theatre as a career, however, was not considered by my family to be a suitable option, so the profession was saved at least one overcrowding element! As a non-professional I have been lucky to play many great rôles that probably would otherwise have eluded me.

I trained as a singer and between 1961 and 1974 I performed, almost exclusively, the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan with Coventry Savoy Opera and Spa Opera of Leamington Spa, specialising in comic baritone rôles, although, from time to time, I also played a tenor lead. Looking back, the only G&S opera that I didn’t perform during that period was "The Grand Duke". Towards the end of that time I also played Motel, the tailor, in the British amateur premiere of "Fiddler on the Roof" with Spa Opera.

By the early 70s I was finding that the long rehearsal periods required by the musical companies were beginning to pall, and I was longing to get into straight drama where six week, intensive rehearsal periods were the norm. So, in 1972 there began a very long association with the Loft Theatre Company in Leamington. Apart from a couple of breaks, each of about six years, this continues on an occasional basis. During this time I have been fortunate enough to play many exciting rôles in some wonderful plays. I also continued to make a few appearances with Spa Opera up until 1997.

In 1997 I joined the Talisman Theatre Company in Kenilworth which, like the Loft, is a member of the Little Theatre Guild (LTG). At the time, this was specifically to play Antonio in "The Merchant of Venice", but for seven years I performed almost exclusively there. However, since returning to the Loft in 2005, I have appeared at both theatres and in 2009 made my debut at the Criterion Theatre in Coventry.

From time to time, I have also enjoyed taking on the occasional ‘professional’ engagement, filming historical documentaries, and rôle-playing for various organisations. In 2003 I spent an enjoyable 12 months writing theatre reviews for the BBC WM website. Sadly, BBC economies brought these to a premature end. For three years I toured some anthologies that I put together as entertainments for club meetings, but finished evening presentations at the end of 2009, as they were limiting availability for other performing activities. I still take the odd daytime booking though. I am a past webmaster for the Talisman Theatre and Side By Side Theatre, and remain online archivist for the Talisman. 2011 marked the 50th anniversary of my first production in adult theatre, and I was pleased to be able to share that anniversary with the Criterion's 50th whilst appearing there in "Guys and Dolls". 2012 was another notable year in which I shared my 70th birthday with the Talisman's 70th.

In 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic when theatres were closed I wrote a monologue and a short one-act play which I produced and directed as audio presentations, published on YouTube, together with other plays and monologues not of my authorship, but which I have adapted specifically for this purpose.

© John Fenner 2017