How a children's theatre workshop in Brighouse inspired Brian Blessed's career on the stage

Brian Blessed at the Brighouse Arts Festival
Brian Blessed at the Brighouse Arts Festival

Brian Blessed wowed the crowds at Brighouse Arts Festival last weekend as he credited a visit to the town many years ago with his decision to work in the theatre.

A sell out audience was entertained by his theatre stories and anecdotes at St Martin’s Church. In an interview with Steven Lord, chairman of Arts for Brighouse, the charity behind the town’s arts festival, Brian revealed his connections with Brighouse and the Calder Valley.

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He said “Over 65 years ago I came to a children’s theatre workshop in the Calder Valley. This was when I was still at school and had begun to develop a passion for acting. We had a great time and during the week I memorably fell in love for the first time with a girl called Nancy.

“I also met another young actor there by the name of Patrick Stewart who went on gain fame in the Star Trek series. We are still great friends and I love to take the mickey out of him!

"Sometime later a garden party was organised by Brighouse Children’s Theatre which was established in 1947 by Gerald Tyler to encourage young people’s interest in drama and at that party I got to meet up with Patrick Stewart and my other acting pals once again.

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“It could be said that this party in Brighouse was where I truly decided that working in theatre was what I wanted to do.”

Brian kept the audience spellbound on Saturday night with tales of his career in the theatre, television and cinema.

Famous for appearing in Z Cars on TV and in films such as Flash Gordon, Brian also revealed how the Queen is one of his many fans.

The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

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