For Newport-born actor, Gareth Tempest, who plays the title role in Newport Riverfront’s latest pantomime Dick Whittington, his acting career has come full circle.
Gareth, who recently toured with a production of Macbeth, appeared in Hiss and Boo’s first pantomime presentation at the Riverfront in 2005 which coincidentally was also Dick Whittington. On that occasion he was a fresh-faced extra as he recently told Andy Howells.
“It’s gone completely right around.”
“I remember been shouted at a lot by one of the managers. Me and my friend were two little tykes really. I’ve got some really fond memories, including going on stage in very see-through tights, because I’d bought the wrong ones.
“The first time I ever held a girls hand was in that show. We were dressed up as rats and we had a big rat tale fight and we smashed a load of light bulbs.”
Gareth had previously been involved with Newport’s New Venture Players prior to his role in Dick Whittington.
“I’d done a few shows with them and it was actually my friend who said he was going to go to this audition. I went with him; it was a really fun experience.
“I remember turning to one of the actors in the wings one day because even then I knew I wanted to be an actor. I said “How do you be an actor?” he said “you just work really hard!” I went “Right, okay!”.
“I finished High School and got very lucky by getting into the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School where I trained. My first job was at the Sherman Theatre in It’s A Family Affair, We’ll Settle It Ourselves”
Gareth performed alongside actor Lee Mengo in It’s A Family Affair and is reunited with Lee (who plays Sarah The Cook) in Dick Whittington.
“I’m really excited because I’ve heard really good things and I’m excited to work with Lee again,” says Gareth.
Of course, Gareth is glad to be back on home turf in Newport,
“I’ll be home for Christmas and of course I’m working so it’ll be great.”
A version of this interview by Andy Howells appeared in The South Wales Argus entertainment supplement The Guide on November 28, 2014.