David Wood’s Stage Premiere at Chichester Festival Theatre

23rd December 2010

David Wood in 1963, in costume as a soldier in SAINT JOAN, standing outside the Festival Theatre.

David Wood, the adapter of GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM, went to Chichester High School.  His English master, Norman Siviter, was Secretary of the Friends of the Festival Theatre, and suggested to David that he might be interested in becoming an extra for the 1963 season.  In fact, he had suggested this the year before, the opening season of the theatre, but David was a little too short!  But in 1963, along with Michael Elphick and Mark Penfold, both of whom later turned professional, he played a soldier in SAINT JOAN, which featured an amazing cast including Joan Plowright, Robert Stephens, Robert Lang, Jeremy Brett, Norman Rossington and a young Derek Jacobi, and directed by John Dexter.  There were five extras in all.  Robert Enos, also from Chi High was another.  And Mai Zetterling’s son.  They also played policemen in John Arden’s THE WORKHOUSE DONKEY, directed by Stuart Burge.  David remembers it as an amazing experience, working in Laurence Olivier’s company, and meeting extraordinary people like Sybil Thorndike, Fay Compton and Frank Finlay, with whom some years later David was to act in AFTER HAGGERTY for the Royal Shakespeare Company at the Aldwych and Criterion Theatres.  David is delighted to be involved once again with Chichester – his favourite theatre – after 48 years!  In the years in between, he has been back several times.  He has directed three of his children’s plays here, THE OWL AND THE PUSSYCAT WENT TO SEE …., THE SELFISH SHELLFISH and THE GINGERBREAD MAN.  And he was also thrilled to appear as a fully-fledged actor in TERRA NOVA, the play by Ted Tally about Captain Scott, in 1980.

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