A quick chat with The Little Theatre’s manager, supremo and all around good guy, Phil Royley.
How did you come to have the job of manager at The Little Theatre?
I’d been a member of Leicester Drama Society since 2002 so was already quite familiar with the theatre. I happened to bump into relatives in Leicester one Saturday morning in late 2009, who had seen the job advertised. So I had a look at the advert, felt it was something I could do and put in my application. Having an interest in theatre, it’s quite a privilege to be able to work in the industry.
What are your favourite and least favourite parts of the job?
For many people involved with the theatre it’s their hobby; they give their time freely because they love the theatre. That creates a positive atmosphere which is nice to be a part of. Having worked in a few places where the prevailing outlook is often a bit pessimistic, it’s really quite rewarding to be involved with an organisation burgeoning with affirmative attitudes. I’m sure most jobs have their moments but I really can’t think of anything negative worth mentioning! Let’s stick with my favourite part.
You do a lot of acting as well as working for the theatre. What’s been your favourite play that you’ve been in?
I have to say playing Rudyard Kipling in ‘My Boy Jack’ – it’s a great play, a great part and was a real challenge. Parts like that don’t come along very often and the whole experience was a genuine pleasure. ‘The 39 Steps’ is a very close second.
And your favourite play that you haven’t been in?
I’ve always quite liked ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’. Many years ago I saw the film version with Marlon Brando and Vivien Leigh and was lucky enough more recently to see the play at the Young Vic starring Gillian Anderson.
Why do you feel people should come to see shows at The Little Theatre?
We offer a wide variety of plays every season so there’s something for everyone. As an amateur theatre our audiences are watching the work of a company of very talented volunteers. The consistently high standard of productions is achieved by a team of people working together to produce something everyone can be proud of – and we couldn’t do that without our loyal and supportive audiences. Anyone who visits is part of something really quite special.
Who would win in a fight between Gandalf and a velociraptor?
For fear of over-thinking this question, I’m just going to say velociraptor.
Are there any plays that you wish we could do at The Little Theatre (films, musicals, books, anything)?
There are many brilliant new plays produced all the time and it’s great if we’re able to include some of these in our season. We’re always conscious to produce a balanced and varied season of plays – dramas, thrillers, comedies – and I think we achieve that pretty well. The Haywood Studio is a great place for ‘edgier’ plays, or those which may be considered to have less commercial appeal, and five visiting companies bring some excellent musicals to the theatre.
Finally, if you weren’t a theatre manager, what would you be doing instead?
First class cricketer, I should think [Phil got to sort-of realise this dream while playing the part of Bob in our 2013 production of ‘Outside Edge’]. Realistically … difficult to say. Whatever it might be, I’d still find time for a little am-dram.
Do you have somebody you’d like us to interview? Drop us a line and let us know!
Photograph by Sally Evans, our theatre photographer