Back in 2010 Iris would be transformed when it met an actor central to many of the most memorable productions put on around St Paul’s Church. David Hywel Baynes would go on to play Richard III, Puck, and this summer will be taking on Macbeth – but it all started with the Chief Weasel. Here’s a Q&A with this summer’s leading man…
When/how did you get involved with Iris?
My first work with Iris was playing Chief Weasel in The Wind in the Willows and Abraham in Romeo & Juliet what seems like forever ago now. I originally auditioned to play Mercutio but Dan saw the weasel that was desperate to be released. Accepting that part was probably the best career decision I’ve ever made.
What was your favourite Iris production from the past 10 years (and why)?
It’s so hard to answer. They’ve all been such amazing experiences to be involved in but put a gun to my head I’d have to say Richard III. To get a chance to play one of the most complex characters Shakespeare ever wrote was and still is my single favourite experience as an actor.
What’s your best memory of Iris Theatre?
So so so so so many. It’s a combination of everything really. There’s specific moments in performances, like Peter Manchester clotheslining me as Oberon in Midsummer, playing with the audience as the Queen of Hearts in Alice in Wonderland. However I think Richard III was probably my favorite. I grew so close to him on a level I didn’t know was possible as an actor. Everything about him exceeded all expectations and I didn’t want the run to end. As I climbed up on the spike on the final show it was hard to keep it together knowing it was the last time, so I’d have to say playing Richard is my best memory but it only wins by a nose ahead of all the work I’ve done with Iris.
What does Iris Theatre mean to you?
It means everything to me. Before working with Iris I’d been out of work for a year and a half and was really struggling to even get an audition. I look back on my career since I accepted the role of Chief Weasel in Wind in the Willows and I’d have to say I don’t think I would have played some of the amazing roles I’ve been lucky enough to experience if I hadn’t accepted that offer. I’ve learned so much about myself as an actor, and without Iris I wouldn’t be the man I am today. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing but it’s a thing, and I have Dan and Iris to thank for that.
Sum up Iris Theatre in three words!
Life Changing Experiences