Trevor Thurgood is relishing the chance for a little bit of escapism as he steps into the shoes of The Music Man for Chichester’s CAOS Musical Productions.
Trevor has been treading the boards for the past 25 of his 40 years, but insists he would never have had the confidence to do it professionally.
“Also, if you were a professional you would have to stay in the same role for six months, and you wouldn’t get to play half the roles I’ve done.”
But the main thing is that it’s all a great release, he says: “It’s a hobby and it’s an escape. One of the nicest things is you get to step out of your own life for a few hours and become someone else. I love it with the orchestra, but the best thing is that escapism. It is time-consuming, you go two or three times a week, but there is nothing better than the buzz of being on stage and just being someone else.”
That someone else, in this instance, is Harold Hill, so memorably played by Brian Conley on the Chichester Festival Theatre stage some years ago.
“It’s one of the biggest roles I have done,” says Trevor. “I did play Arthur Kipps back in 2002 with Haying Island.... so I have got previous! I have done three or four for CAOS. I did Guys & Dolls and Sweet Charity. I also did Hello Dolly.”
All were directed by Kathryn Wignall who is in charge once again for The Music Man.
“Harold Hill is a likeable character,” Trevor says. “He is a bit of a rogue, though. I suppose it depends how you look at him...”
His intentions might be to swindle, to sell his goods, to make a profit and then to move on. But as Trevor points out, maybe you’ve got to look more at the end result. The fact is that it is Harold who brings the whole community together.
“He is a cheeky chappy, like I am – though I don’t go in to fleece people! I go into people’s houses and I fix their boilers and I come out making them happy, and Harold is a bit like that. He makes people happy.”
And that’s a great reason to pursue an interest in the stage: “We used to live on Hayling Island, and my father was walking past the rehearsal hall for the Hayling musical society. A little lady came out and asked him if he would come in and turn the heating on. It was ceiling heating, and they couldn’t reach! They were rehearsing Dick Whittington.”
And one thing led to another. Trevor’s dad got him involved.
“I never said boo to a goose at the time. I didn’t have much confidence. He took me along to the rehearsals, and I was hooked. It was the music I loved. I was going, and I was watching panto. And I was joining in. It was great. My childhood was mainly work, work, work. I worked every weekend. I contributed to the family pot. I didn’t socialise. I did a lot of weekend work so it was good mid-week to have something different to do, something that was fun.”
And he hasn’t looked back since.
“I had a little bit of a gap when my children were born, but I have been doing it solidly since 2002.”
Performances are from May 26-30 at 7.30pm with a Saturday matinee performance at 2.30, at the Millennium Theatre, Westbourne House School, Chichester, PO20 2BH. Tickets 0333 666 3366 (a £1.50 booking fee for telephone bookings) or www.ticketsource.co.uk/caoschichester.