Actor Steve Huison, who played Lomper in The Full Monty, tells the Yorkshire Post’s Nick Ahad why he chose to continue to work in community theatre and how he’s preparing for his role in John Godber‘s new play…
When The Full Monty became a global hit, it had the potential to make stars of all those involved. Writer Simon Beaufoy, for example, went on to Oscar glory with Slumdog Millionaire and wrote the Danny Boyle-directed 127 Hours.
Mark Addy, Robert Carlyle, Tom Wilkinson and Hugo Speer went on to appear in Hollywood movies, with varying degrees of success.
One of the cast of the movie, however, shunned the very idea of capitalising on his new found fame to take the stop into movie big leagues.
Steve Huison, who played Lomper in the film, not only stuck firmly to his roots after the global success of the movie, he went right back to them and remains loyal to them to this day. Huison did not head for the hills of Hollywood, he instead returned to community theatre, set up his own company making work in the community and tackling the issue of mental health.
“It wasn’t a return to community theatre – I never really left it,” says Huison.
“I did two-and-a-half-years on Coronation Street, and that was great, but the thing that I have always done, and that has always been really important to me, is the community work.
“We produce work that tackles the issues of mental health and the stigma that it is associated with. I trained in community theatre and I think creating work like that is really important.”
You might consider it a little surprising that Huison, who might have had the door open to some very big stages after the success of The Full Monty, decided not to capitalise on it. He finds it surprising that anyone would think he should.
“It’s what I do. It’s what I’ve always done. I recently had a text message from a girl we worked with who has recently started a drama course at Derby University. She sent me the message to say that she saw a big picture of me on the way into the university theatre and she suddenly felt much more comfortable about being there,” he says.
“When she joined the company, she was 15 and had a lot of issues, was incredibly shy and was not in a good way. The fact that she was able to get to university and is now studying drama is why I set up the company in the first place.”
The sense of social justice, then, is clearly strong in Huison, which is probably why he is currently working with another politically engaged Yorkshire theatre maker, John Godber.
Huison is one of a cast of two in Godber’s newest play Losing The Plot, which opens at Wakefield Theatre Royal next week before touring the country.
In the show Huison plays Jack Munroe, a middle aged man who, after walking out on his Job, his wife and his teenage children, sets off to travel Europe and write his much promised novel.
He returns with no money, no novel and no idea why he left. Huison says: “I saw John a little while back and he said he had me in mind for a piece, which is always flattering.
“It’s also a little odd to think that people are thinking about you performing in their work. I jumped at the chance to work with John again. It’s been a pretty big challenge – it’s 120 pages and 95 minutes on stage with just the two of us, but I think we’ve more or less cracked it now.”
By Nick Ahad
You can see Losing the Plot at the following dates:
1 – 9 February: Theatre Royal Wakefield
12 – 16 February: Derby Theatre
19 – 23 February: Hull Truck
28 February – 2 March: Fairfield Halls, Ashcroft Croydon
5 – 9 March: Coliseum Oldham
11 – 13 March: Pomegranate Chesterfield
19 – 30 March: New Vic Newcastle-under-Lyme
4 – 6 April: Devonshire Park Eastbourne
8 – 13 April: Stephen Joseph Scarborough
22 – 23 April: Waterside Arts Centre Sale
25 – 26 April: Brewery Arts Centre Kendal
27 April: Georgian Theatre Royal Richmond, North Yorkshire
29 April – 1 May: Lyceum Crewe
2 – 4 May: Opera House Buxton
7 – 11 May: Harrogate Theatre Harrogate