Haverhill Centre Stage Company stalwart Steve Powter glad to be back directing, one year on from being in a coma
In November 2022, Steve Powter was in hospital in a coma, unable to fulfil his roles as actor and co-director of the Harold Pinter plays being staged at Haverhill Arts Centre.
Now, one year on, Steve is set to put that difficult period to one side and take his place at the same venue for the Centre Stage Company's three night run of Educating Rita, the two-handed play by Willy Russell that became a hit movie starring Sir Michael Caine and Julie Walters.
Rehearsals began five months ago, with Steve directing and Rita being played by Billie Fletcher and her lecturer Frank, by Steve Murray.
And when the opening night arrives next Wednesday, it will be a very different experience to the one Steve was going through 12 months ago, to the day, when he was in Addenbrooke’s Hospital after being rushed in for emergency surgery.
“I went into hospital and was in an induced coma for ten days and woke up the day after the opening night,” he said.
“Last year, with me being in a coma, or probably because I was in a coma, It (Pinter) did quite well.”
The plays will be performed from Wednesday, November 22 until Friday 24th and, as with the Pinter plays last year, set in a cabaret style seating arrangement, with only 50 tickets available each night.
Steve added: “We sold out (Pinter) pretty much but I didn’t get a chance to see it because I was in hospital but we had some really great feedback and It’s nice to give people this sort of stuff.
“The Pinter last year was pretty edgy for Haverhill, so that’s why we wanted to go for the smaller audience and the pretty low (ticket) cost.”
And having cast Billie and Steve as Rita and Frank, respectively, Steve said: “The most important role of the director is to get the right people in the right job and I’ve been incredibly lucky.
“If you have not got a Rita, you have not got Educating Rita.
“We had a couple of people audition and Billie was just breathtaking in audition.
“It just feels very real, very natural and very raw. There are some very emotional kickers in the play.”
After Steve was hospitalised last November, Luke Allen stepped into the role of director, having never done so before’ all of which left the man he replaced very impressed.
“I’m proud of the whole cast but I’m proud of Luke for stepping up and doing that.”
Educating Rita will be followed by additional dramas each night, with A Chip in the Sugar & A Lady of Letters, by Alan Bennett, on Wednesday, The Lie, by Vaughan McBride, adapted from the story by Kurt Vonnecut on Thursday and Her Big Chance, by Alan Bennett (with special appearances) on Friday.
Wednesday’s Allan Bennett play will see husband and wife Chris and David Hart take up the two roles.
It will be a first acting performance in five years for Chris, with David’s absence from the stage being even longer.
Tickets are only £8 per show. To find out more call 01440 714140.