The Good Listening To Show: Stories of Distinction & Genius

"Hi-Diddly-Dee-the-Life-of-an Actor-Manager-for-Me!" with Theatre Impresario Neal Foster (Artistic Director of Birmingham Stage Company for 30+ Years) with many a Children's Theatre "BANGER" & Acolade to his Name!

December 16, 2023 Chris Grimes - Facilitator. Coach. Motivational Comedian
The Good Listening To Show: Stories of Distinction & Genius
"Hi-Diddly-Dee-the-Life-of-an Actor-Manager-for-Me!" with Theatre Impresario Neal Foster (Artistic Director of Birmingham Stage Company for 30+ Years) with many a Children's Theatre "BANGER" & Acolade to his Name!
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Delighted to welcome Neal Foster "Actor Manager" in the age-old tradition! With the likes of Sir Richard Burbage of Shakesepeare's Lord Chamberlain Company & The Globe Theatre coming before him and modern contemporaries such as Sir Kenneth Branagh & Sir Mark Rylance et al since!

Neal Foster and I were at The Bristol Old Vic Theatre School together circa many many years ago and it's an absolute delight to be reunited, here together in The Good Listening To Show 'Clearing'.  

This a wonderful conversation in which we also riff about some former "Acting notes of old" from the likes of Theatre School Director greats such as Nat Brenner, who was Peter O'Toole's mentor. 

Ever wondered what lies behind the scenes of the world of acting? Join us as we take you on a journey into the fascinating life of actor-manager Neal Foster, a stalwart of the Birmingham Stage Company for over 30 years. With a rich blend of experiences and a unique perspective, Neal shares his insights on the ancient tradition of Actor-Managers, performing in unconventional spaces during the Pandemic, and the challenges and triumphs that come with it. 

An unmissable peek into his upcoming role in David Walliam's "Awful Aunty" in a year-long tour, and a glimpse into the company's performances of old in iconic locations such the Sydney Opera House and on Broadway.

Imagine interviewing celebrities at 15 for a noble cause. That's exactly what he did, and we take you down memory lane as we share captivating anecdotes from Neal having interviewed the likes of John Cleese, Roald Dahl, and Sir Ian McKellen. This experience not only brought Neal face-to-face with the generosity of the acting community but also offered insights that can be invaluable to budding actors gearing up for auditions. From tips to self-confidence, the lessons learned are plenty, and we can't wait to share them with you.

From admiring Richard Dreyfus and Paul Schofield to having a fascination with Russian politics, Neal Foster's inspirations are as varied as they are intriguing. Nail shares his mantra of living in the moment - a philosophy that has shaped his approach to life and his career. 

Our conversation is brimming with delightful titbits and anecdotes — an unusual champagne-related one too! Along with Neal's favourite cake, and an inspirational quote that's close to his heart. 

Join us on this enlightening journey together , and prepare to be inspired.

Tune in next week for more stories of 'Distinction & Genius' from The Good Listening To Show 'Clearing'. If you would like to be my Guest too then you can find out HOW via the different 'series strands' at 'The Good Listening To Show' website.

Don't forget to SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW wherever you get your Podcasts :)

Thanks for listening!

Speaker 1:

Welcome to another episode of the Good Listening To Show your life and times with me, chris Grimes. The storytelling show that features the clearing, where all good questions come to get asked and all good stories come to be told, and where all my guests have two things in common they're all creative individuals and all with an interesting story to tell. There are some lovely storytelling metaphors a clearing, a tree, a juicy storytelling exercise called 5-4-3-2-1, some alchemy, some gold, a cheeky bit of Shakespeare and a cake. So it's all to play for. So, yes, welcome to the Good Listening To Show your life and times with me, chris Grimes, are you sitting comfortably here? Then we shall begin. Welcome to a very exciting and indeed scintillating episode of the Good Listening To Show stories of distinction and genius. Absolutely thrilled and delighted to have actor-manager Neil Foster in the clearing, neil and I were at the Bristol Ovid Theatre School circa way back when, and just to blow a bit of extra, extra happy smoke at you. You're an actor-manager, which is a wonderful ancient tradition. You've been at the helm of the Birmingham Stage Company for, I know, at least over 30 years. But, if I may just blow this particular happy smoke, I loved researching you and actor management. This is lovely from Wikipedia, not just about you, but about what you do. An actor-manager is a leading actor who sets up their own permanent theatrical company and manages the business, sometimes taking over a theatre to perform select plays in which they usually star. It's a method of theatrical production used consistently since the 16th century, and I happen to know that that's in the company of greats like Sir Richard Burbage of the Shakespeare's Lord Chamberlain Company and the Globe Theatre. So you're an illustrious company because you're keeping going with an ancient tradition that happens most often in the United Kingdom and in America as well. So, neil Foster, you are extremely welcome to the clearing of the Good Listening To Show.

Speaker 2:

Thank you, spotlight. Wouldn't let me put myself in spotlight as an actor-manager. To start with, they didn't recognise it. No, no, there's no such thing. So you're ahead, chris, you're ahead of spotlight. Eventually I forced them. I said, well, I'm not a director, I'm not artist director and I'm not just a manager, I'm not a chief executive, I'm an actor who manages the company.

Speaker 1:

So eventually they recognised that it exists and thank you for that wonderful word recognised. You've even. You've done many, many, many things. You've got many theatrical bangetia names specialising in children's theatre which you bring to families the world over, and I think 2018, I know you know this, but you were given an honorary professorship of Amity University in New Delhi for bringing quality theatre to children and families throughout the world- yeah, so I am technically a professor, which is why I shaved all my hair off, so that I'd look the part. Lovely, and so, professor Neil Foster, you're extremely welcome you were at the Bristol Albings High School together 1986 to 88. I was there. I was on the two year course, you were on the three year course, but you sent me a photograph which reminded me to get in touch with you of us being in the front page at one of our final year productions Very good production. Yes, I mentioned your theatrical bangers. You can tell us all about it, but you specialise in bringing a lot of David Walliams' stuff to the stage. But horrible histories is a real cut and thrust that you're doing very often of late, and you even were at the children's prom at the Royal Albert Hall bringing horrible opera just a few months ago as well, thus proving I've done some research. So how are you? How's morale? What's your story of the day, neil?

Speaker 2:

My story of the day is that I've been working with puppets this morning for our new production of Awful Aunty, which is going out next year. I will be playing Awful Aunty and it's my first ever year-long tour. We've never done it before because it's hard. So I've decided I've reached that age when I should get out and be an actor manager and take the title role, and so I'll be playing Aunty for David Walliams next year, all year. So if you want to see Awful Aunty, it's on all year.

Speaker 1:

And some of your productions. It says coming to a car park near you soon, but you don't normally perform in car parks. Obviously, richard III should obviously be pasted in a car park or buried under it, but normally it's theatres throughout the land, but not least your own, which is the Birmingham Stage Company.

Speaker 2:

Yes, well, birmingham Stage Company. We were based at the Old Rep Theatre for 23 years and then we moved to the Alex about eight years ago. We did do car parks because during COVID, guy Robinson, who runs Coalition Agency, had a brilliant idea. He said given that we can't do any theatre in the theatres they're all closed let's do them in car parks. So we were the first theatre company in the country to be performing when the lockdown opened and we were the only theatre company still performing on I don't know whether it was Christmas Eve or New Year's Eve up in Harrogate, because that was the time when they were shutting down by tears and we'd managed to just outmaneuver Boris as he closed down the country. So we were still performing the only. We were performing outdoors in my pyjamas in the middle of winter, to 900 cars that were sitting watching our show Horrible Christmas, which we're still doing up in Harrogate. I think it was in a race course up there. So yeah, we've done them all. We've done car parks, sydney Opera House, broadway and Warwick Castle. That's the list I'm going to give you.

Speaker 1:

A theatrical troupe are always on the run, moving from top house to top house as you move, as you say, keeping it just ahead of the pandemic, very good. So it's my great pleasure to welcome you to this show, where it's going to be a clearing a tree. There's a lovely juicy storytelling exercise called 5-4-3-2-1. There's going to be some alchemy, some gold, a couple of random squirrels, a cheeky bit of Shakespeare and a cake I'll end, a golden baton as well, so it's all to play for. So let's get you on the open road then. So where is what is a clearing for Neil Foster? Actor manager, where do you go to get clutter-free, inspirational and able to think?

Speaker 2:

Well, I'm very lucky that I have a place where I was born, where I still own it even all my family have gone in Warwickshire, which is at the bottom of a lane there's only four houses in the lane and I am at the bottom of it and it's absolute paradise and it's where I go to feel real again because I like London. But I don't know if I love London. I'm not really a city person If I go, like when we did the Tour of Australia, I was always trying to get to the newest rainforest or the botanical garden wherever I was and I spent all that time there. I'm not really. Concrete and glass and pavements does very little for me as a human being. So I'm very, very lucky to have a country place where I can go and feel that I'm whole again.

Speaker 1:

So it's a country pile in Warwickshire which is very Shakespearean, if I may say so, Is it near Stratford.

Speaker 2:

About 40 minutes from Stratford and he often pops around and shares his ideas with me. Most of his ideas are really quite rubbish. These days it's amazing how people go off, isn't it? They go off. But yeah, the early stuff was good. I thought. I thought the early stuff was the best.

Speaker 1:

And you mentioned that everyone's gone from your country pile now. Is that because your parents and siblings are no longer with us or they just decided to use?

Speaker 2:

you. The siblings aren't very much with us, but they're with us somewhere else and my parents are. Yes, my father wanted to be buried in the field where my house is, but his wife didn't like the idea of that. But I did. I thought it'd be quite nice to have Dad sort of just there. But anyway, he went up and my mum is buried in a cemetery in Birmingham. So, yeah, it's just me now and the neighbours and luckily I've got amazing neighbours, so I go there as often as I possibly can. I do not like to be in London when it's hot. If it's hot I want to be in the middle of country.

Speaker 1:

So and you mentioned, it's just you. I haven't seen you for about 30 years, obviously, so I don't know if you're actually married or not. And that was a bit of research I didn't manage to stumble onto.

Speaker 2:

No, I don't think that was my gift. It wasn't never, probably never on the agenda. So, no, not because I'm of the persuasion that leads away from marriage in that context. Just that it's not something I'm not something I'm brilliant at.

Speaker 1:

So, yeah, I've done it my way and I love I've done it my way. We can burst into song at that moment. Yeah, could. And you mentioned your father went up. I'm assuming you didn't send him off on a hot air balloon. You're talking about the sort of normal ways in which we dispatch he did have a hot air balloon.

Speaker 2:

He was a hot air balloon pilot. You see, He've done your research and I in fact, oh no, I think it's going to be one of the things I tell you, so I'm not going to give it away just now. Ok, Am I? Is it to do it? Yes, it is one of the things I was going to tell you. But yes, he did have a hot air balloon. No, what happened was I sort of didn't feel I'd said a full goodbye as funeral, and I said I just like to say one last goodbye to my dad. And he said, oh, he's gone through already, but let's rush round and see if you can just say your goodbye. And when I went round, he went oh, we're too late. And there he was on fire. And so that's an experience I wouldn't recommend to anybody.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and how many years ago is this now, neil?

Speaker 2:

Five, five yeah.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

And your mum is Nearly six.

Speaker 1:

Your mother is with us, no.

Speaker 2:

I died a long time ago, yeah.

Speaker 1:

And the remaining fosters? How many siblings?

Speaker 2:

I've got a brother and a sister, both older, and I've got lots of nieces and nephews, which is good, some in America. God help them. Yes, but some people do live in America and I feel sorry for all of them.

Speaker 1:

And you did mention earlier that you've done tours of the Australia because you've been in the Royal Opera House. Have you toured the States as well with the Birmingham Stage Company?

Speaker 2:

We only went once. We only went once. We went a Broadway with Skellig, which was a play by David Ormond based on his fantastic book, and it was one of the great experiences, because we did. We opened Skellig when they opened Spider-Man and our show cost £60,000, and Spider-Man cost $60 million and we got better reviews, which made me feel, you know, slightly pleased with ourselves. Yes, but we outdid this monumental production by the woman who, of course, directed Lion King, but it wasn't as good as that.

Speaker 1:

And you have directed a lot of role dial stuff in the past. You tried to offer me a part in Big Friendly Giant once upon a time, which I thank you very much for trying to do that. Let me down again. And yes, Michael Moore-Pergo, you've also done adaptations of his work too, Maybe he'll do that.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, he's a wonderful person. We're very lucky with the people we've worked with. I mean, we didn't work with Roald Dahl, although I did speak to him. Okay, when I was 15, I decided I wanted to interview people to raise money for charity.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I remember this. This is your audience with yes.

Speaker 2:

That's right, because I did one at drama school with John Cleese. At that point the who's who the book has everyone's name and addresses in it also had all their phone numbers. I mean you could literally call anybody, because it was in the age part before celebrities. So I called this number in Great Missington and a man answered the phone. I said hello, is there Ronald Dahl there, please? And the voice said no, no, he's not. I said oh, I thought this is Ronald Dahl's number. He said no, no one of that name lives here. He said there's a Roald Dahl who lives here.

Speaker 1:

You're lucky, I went oh, oh.

Speaker 2:

Yes, Mr Roald Dahl. Can I speak to Mr Roald Dahl speaking?

Speaker 1:

And that was him, and luckily he didn't put the phone down on you for not getting his name right, which is so he didn't have that sort of ego, which is great.

Speaker 2:

No. But I said would you let me interview at my school? And he said no, no, I'm far too old, far too grumpy and far too annoying to be interviewed by a young boy like you. But good luck, and that was it.

Speaker 1:

And it was Clifton College, wasn't? It Is the old school, it's Clifton College Because by the way. I've just had a breakthrough. This has become a theater show now as well, and the Red Grave Theater have just offered me some dates to continue doing the live theater show version. Oh wow. So I love the Red Grave. It's a great theater and your audience is with. By the way, you've got a lovely, as you say, your who's who-ness and just a veracity of ringing people up. You had Alan Bennett, dane, judi Dench, michael Frey, dustin Hoffman, derek Jackaby, bangers, bangers, bangers. Jack Lemon, sir Ian McKellen, prunella Scales and Donald Sindon.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but I didn't ring them, I doorstepped them at stage doors. What I did is, on one afternoon ran from stage door to stage door, grabbing as many famous people as I couldn't say, would you let me interview you in the West End? And they all went yes, and six weeks later we did the interviews. So that Fantastic, that was fun.

Speaker 1:

I'd love to pick your brains about that. More Interestingly, I met Sir Ian McKellen recently because he was there was well. I met him and I said he'd been furnished with the fact I might want to speak to him and he gave the most fantastic answer, which involves an expletive. Not at me, but he went oh, do you mind if I don't? I'm so fucking bored about talking about myself, so it's in another wave, obviously.

Speaker 2:

So you got it. Well, that's it. I was turned down by three people Sir Anthony Hopkins, who told me at great length why he didn't want to do it, vanessa Redgrave and Daniel Day-Lewis. They were the only three. I actually said no, and you can sort of understand it with all of them, because they really don't do interviews very often, but as a great tribute to our profession, everybody else you've read out a long list and there are more Peter O'Toole, Paul Eddington, fiona Fullerton, you know everyone just said yes, and it's such a tribute to our business that all these amazing people were prepared just to turn up. I said do you want me to arrange your card? No, no, no, no, no, we'll just arrive. They all just arrived, did the interview and went on to the show that they were doing. I kind of planned it quite carefully so they could literally come to the young Vic or come to the Playhouse, do the interview and then go straight to the theatre, and it worked really well.

Speaker 1:

And, by the way, you write a blog attached to the Birmingham Sage Company. I know you know this, but I'm just pointing people to it, you get. Your most recent blog was very helpful to any actors worrying about auditions. You called it awful auditions and you very helpfully point out that as a producer, you have a problem and you're desperately looking for the actor that next comes to the door to be the one that will solve that problem by being the marvellous person that you've been looking for all this time, and I thought that was a very helpful sort of inverted lens to be more encouraging to actors, because we're all terrified of the competition most of the time.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, everyone thinks they're walking in to be judged and you know the interview is going all right, then go on, show me what you've got. But actually, as you say, we're all desperate, we're going. Please, please, please, be the next good actor.

Speaker 1:

Please.

Speaker 2:

And if you get a reaction that feels a bit disconcerting, it's only because the producer is really unhappy and pissed off that you aren't the person that's going to solve their problem for them. So that's why they might be like OK, thanks very much, it's not because they didn't think you were great, it's just because you weren't what they're looking for. Yes, so yeah. But my advice to any actor, any audition, is go in to get the job. I made the terrible mistake in my early days of thinking my job as an actor was to go in, present myself and let them make up their minds whether I was right or not, and that is not the way to do it. You go in having done all the work necessary to be basically saying to the producer director, you ain't going to find anyone better than me for this, I'm the one you've been waiting for, and every time someone has come in who's really prepared it probably learned that three or four speeches because they don't know which one's going to come up and absolutely delivered a lovely performance in that room. We've always cast them. It's never like those sort of people who do that sort of work tend to be the people who get the job.

Speaker 1:

Yes, very good and sage advice and very helpful for any actors who will be listening or watching. And by the way, I've just remembered, to sort of just complete my story, it was Cal McChrystal who was very kind to furnish me with a warm introduction to Sir Ian McKellen, but I did get that. Rather, it was very amusing actually when he said because he was really knackered and leaving stage door at the time I've just been at the Eustonoff studio doing the most recent live versions of this show as well, right, anyway, so we're in your country pile in Warwickshire, very Shakespeare-esque, and so now we're going to arrive with a tree in your clearing and I love the fact that you always go back to your Warwickshire country pile to feel alive again, or to feel what expression did you use to feel something again, you said.

Speaker 2:

Well, refreshed probably.

Speaker 1:

Yes. So I'm now going to arrive at the tree in your clearing now, A bit waiting for Godot-esque. Deliberately, I'm going to shake your tree now to see which storytelling apples fall out. How do you like these apples? Comedy clips every now and again Props, rather so. Now you've been kind enough to prepare your answers to a construct called 54321. Five minutes to have thought about four things that have shaped you, actor-manager Neil Foster, three things that inspire you, two things that never fail to grab your attention, that's the oh squirrels borrow from the film Up. And then a quirky or unusual fact about you. We couldn't possibly know about you until you tell us so over you over to you to interpret the shaking of the canopy of your tree.

Speaker 2:

Well, I've written them down Because otherwise I wouldn't remember. So I'm going to say there are four things that have shaped me. One of them is that I have a low resting heart rate. Now, very few people know what that is. Even when it's mentioned in medical circles, like when I proudly tell a doctor, no one really seems to know what it is. But I had one of those epiphany moments when I there's a chap who wrote a book about physiological predisposition to criminal behavior. There are two aspects to predisposition. One is the way the brain functions and the other one is a low resting heart rate. People whose heart beats slower than average suffer from a lack of fear. They constantly need stimulus because they feel flat all the time. So they're constantly looking for things to keep them interested. Low arousal in that, in sort of the autistic way, I suppose, in a sense of what it takes to get you to interact.

Speaker 1:

Yes, there's a four symptom which I never remember, but that I think it sounds like one would be calm in a crisis with a low heart rate because you're not yeah, but that's it's not possible.

Speaker 2:

That sort of comes under fearless yes. Okay, I think that the fact that I'm constantly in detention and the fact that I lack fear is part of the reason I run a theater company and part of the reason I could run up to Judy Densha and say, oh, would you, let me interview you? That sort of thing and everything else I've done is because my body functions at a lower rate. So by the time I get excited, I'm probably just barely beating at the same rate as most other people, so that I'm going to give you as my first thing that I think has shaped how my life has unfolded. And if you're going to there you go. Didn't expect that.

Speaker 1:

I didn't expect that and thank you for that curious fact. And just one other question about that so if you go to the gym to try and do some cardiovascular work, does that mean you've got to sort of pump yourself extra, extra hard in order to get up to other people's rates where they would feel slightly sort of under strain?

Speaker 2:

Well, I wouldn't know about that. I've never measured my heartbeat, except the only time. I mean, for example, I went in for an operation and the nurse took my pulse and literally began to run out of the room calling doctor, doctor. And I managed to get her back and I said what's the point? And she said you're about to crash. Your heart rate is 45 beats. You're about to crash. I said no, no, no, that's me, that's me. She said what do you mean? That's you. I said that's how it works. My heart beats very so.

Speaker 1:

You know, in medical terms I'm nearly dead, and in many other ways, but you have a this is not just blowing some happy smoke at you, but you've got a very good sense of rhythm and energy. That's quite frenetic. You're not coming across as somebody who doesn't have, you know, much energy because they've got a low heart rate, for example.

Speaker 2:

No, but I think we of the low resting heart people that will eventually have our own planet, we're in need of constant stimulation. That's the point. We're constantly, whereas a lot of other people are happy to relax and do nothing. We find it harder because we feel much more sluggish when we're not doing something. It's a weird and that's why it presupposes criminal behavior, because if you're fearless, I fear you have a need for excitement.

Speaker 1:

Yes.

Speaker 2:

And low arousal, that you don't pick up really on what other people are accused from other people. You, it lends yourself towards it. You also have to have other things. For example, I don't steal much but-.

Speaker 1:

So it gets into my so I move on to my second thing.

Speaker 2:

Yes, it's my last move on-.

Speaker 1:

You can. Sorry, I don't mean to be harkening on, and this is the last thing I was going to say about that. It makes you a bit of an adrenaline junkie, then, because it disposes you to. Yes, number two please. And I've got a bell, by the way, for getting to rabbit holes. I nearly took us down one there, so-. Yeah okay. Number two now, please. So this is the second shape-edge.

Speaker 2:

Well, the second shape-edge is my dad, because my dad was an entrepreneur. He was a working-class boy, born in Stretum and very poor upbringing, moved from relative to relative because his father couldn't handle him. His mother died when he was two and he ended up working for his dad in Birmingham in his 20s. I think he had about eight or nine jobs over that period. He couldn't settle down. I've still got his bus badge and then he set up a he was in tooling I mean, that's what he was doing for his dad and he eventually got a job with an engineering company and then eventually, when he was 40, he set up his own business. And so 40, I'm trying to think how old I was he had me when he was 44. So by the time I was 10 years old and upwards, he would be telling me stories about how he ran his business and I think the stories, his confidence in how he did things, probably enabled me to run a theater company because, combined with my low-racing heart rate and lack of fear, he gave me a sort of bullish quality to it can be done, because he'd done it. I mean he was a Tory, because he was typical Tory and a self-made man. He'd not been educated. He left school at 14, he was working class. He thought, if I can do it, why everyone else is a shurker? So he was really one of those people that believed you should just get out and do it. And he wasn't happy when I went out to do acting. I mean, he really wasn't, that was not on the radar at all, but he definitely. I think a lot of my decisions and the way I run my business is based on my dad, so that's a tribute to my father.

Speaker 1:

Yes, and you did say I've got his bus, ken Foster.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

You mentioned a couple of paragraphs ago. I've still got his bus badge. Just tell me a bit more about that.

Speaker 2:

Well, he was a coach driver during the war because he had apparently a dodgy heart. Ah, I'm through life. They wouldn't let him. They wouldn't let him serve. So he had to drive a bus and it was a Bedford and the Bedford buses are what they still drive in Malta. So I bought him a model Bedford when I went to form in Malta and I've still got that badge when he was a bus driver.

Speaker 1:

And did he have a low rate as well, your dad.

Speaker 2:

I don't know. He had a heart that wasn't. They kept telling him he'd had a heart attack or a stroke, because the readings were always off and what it was. We think we found out that basically, his heart was in the wrong place. So, although his heart was perfectly fine, he lived to 95. Whenever you tried to do a reading of his heart, it would always tell them that there was a serious problem and that's why he wasn't allowed to serve. Okay.

Speaker 1:

That worked well. His heart was in the wrong place. It was on his sleeve. See what I did there. So at ShapeHead number three, please.

Speaker 2:

ShapeHead is Nat Brenner. I'm going to mention a name that you know. Yes, because Nat Brenner was the principal of the Old Vic Bristolovic Theatre School and then when I joined, it was being run by a wonderful Chris. Dennis and Nat used to come in and do classes and Nat and I had a love-hate relationship. He couldn't work me out at all, I was. I think we did the show together at Midsummer Night's Dream. Did we do Midsummer Night's Dream together? We certainly did yes. Well you might remember when, I might turn to read a Geass. And I put on the 30 times at Phoebus Cart and he said what are you doing? What are you doing? I said I'm being old. He says I'm old, I don't talk like that. Very good, but eventually we found a common ground and he gave me one of the best pieces of advice. One of the best pieces of advice I'd ever had, he said because I'd already. Even when I was at Bristol, I had sat at my company and I was. We were doing shows with the company and he said you're a very clever boy, you're very clever All your life. They're going to tell you, stop doing the acting and become a producer. They're going to tell you, forget the acting, become a producer. Never let them do it to you. Because that's what happened to me and I've regretted it my whole life. I should have been an actor. And here I am running a theatre goal in a theatre. Because he was general manager of, obviously, the Bristol Ovid. And he said don't let them do it, never put your name in the program anything other than an actor. And he was absolutely right, because acting is such a weird profession, my father, anyone who was successful would always go. What are you doing this acting, for you seem quite good at the producer. Just be a producer. There's much more financial success to be gained from that, and it was always great to know that someone who you admired as much as I admired Nat had given me that advice. Yes, so there you go.

Speaker 1:

We both know this, but he was Petro Tull's mentor and, similarly, relatively to you, nat couldn't quite work me out. But then he gave me a final note which I'll never forget as well, which I can tell you if you want. But it does involve quite. I'm going to have to bleep this out. There were two things. Another actor, richard Ryan, in our ensemble. He went Richard, this is a good note for coaching now, which I also do. He went very embryonic performance Give birth, would you love, in other words, commit, make a choice which I still use in coaching.

Speaker 2:

A good note for Richard Ryan, it has to be said.

Speaker 1:

That's a good note for Richard and he's been a wonderful guest here in this show too in the past two. And then Nat couldn't quite work me out. But then another outside external director came to watch me and he kept saying to me lighter, you need to be lighter, In other words, to try and get me to be more comic, which I was trying to be anyway. But the more he said lighter, I got darker. And then this external director watched me and was giggling all the way through. I was playing Collins in a Bernard Shaw piece. And then here it comes, Nat, it went quiet and that went. Chris, you did it, you cunt. It's what he said to me.

Speaker 2:

I remember him doing that. I remember that yeah.

Speaker 1:

And I mean I'll never forget. But it made me come somewhere into his spectrum of what a good actor would have been, so he couldn't quite work me out, so I similarly had a really enjoyable love hate, but I found it.

Speaker 2:

Well, I had another story and my favourite in that story is I was bumped up to be in the second year final show for someone who had left to get a job. So they gave me Sir Nathaniel in Love's Labors Lost and we opened and I saw Nat the next day and I said Nat, what did you think? He said very good, you were very good Wrong. I said what do you mean wrong? He said why'd you play him old? I said the director told me to. He said he's not old, is he? He's young, he's a sycophant, not old at all. But you did it very well, wonderful, wrong, yes.

Speaker 1:

So he was of the ilk where he could say stuff that others couldn't get away with now, but stuff that you never, ever, ever forget. Great man he also, by the way, just while I'm riffing on this, he gave me a note about. I think the teaching intent was you need to leave an arm and a half length between you and your fellow actor if you're on stage. But how he landed that note was what are your standings of fucking close to him for? Do you want to fuck him? Well, that was his, that's what he said, and it was me and Mark Bannister and I subsequently processed.

Speaker 2:

You know, secretly you did, though, didn't you? Because Mark was a cutie.

Speaker 1:

He indeed yes. Who ended up running a flooring company? Apparently yes. Anyway, sorry, we have digressed. Cashew number three and four, please. So yes, we've reached the end of the shape-a-ges, I believe. Is that right? No, we haven't there are four of them. Ok, cashew, what did you?

Speaker 2:

do to me.

Speaker 1:

Got me short, no, so let's have your fourth talk.

Speaker 2:

So my fourth is a recent workshop. I've been trying to write a play for about eight years and so I finally finished it and did a workshop with six of my favorite female actors, because it's about a historical female character, and I thought I need six women brilliant women to talk about this with me, and we got together for two weeks and it was one of the most important things I've ever done, because for the first time in my life really, I sat for two weeks and just listened rather than feeling a need to bring my own opinion to the table, because I knew my opinion, so it wasn't relevant, so I was just there to listen to what they had to say, and I think it was pretty life-changing, because I think it just changed the way I relate to people. I find myself listening a lot more than I did, because I really enjoyed it and, a bit like Ian McKellen, I realized just how boring it is to keep thinking and speaking what you already know. Yes, and the real point of this workshop was to hear what everyone else thought, and I'm carrying that with me, hopefully forevermore.

Speaker 1:

And this is a production of a play of your own that you're realizing.

Speaker 2:

Well, at the end of the workshop I realized I've got to start again. So this is not going to happen soon. I have to write this play. I feel lazy. I am lazy. Actually no one believes me. I run a major theater company, blah, blah, blah. But actually I'm lazy because I tend to do what I enjoy doing, and writing I find extremely hard, even though I do write a lot for the company. I heard Jimmy McGovern talking recently and they said to him do you love writing? And he said no, I don't love writing. I love when it's written. And I thought well, there you go. If Jimmy McGovern feels that, then I don't feel quite so bad. But I don't enjoy writing really. I enjoy it when it's done or when you have a good idea. But for me the idea of writing this play is going to kill me. So it will be probably the last thing I do.

Speaker 1:

And what brought the idea, if it meant? I mean, what was the shift that made you sit and listen for two weeks? How did you arrive at that process?

Speaker 2:

Well, I think I did it straight away because I just knew that I wanted to hear what they thought and I picked people who are very forthright, you know, very I got at different ages and I got a couple of younger girls in their 20s who have been very vociferous about their views of what the role of women in today's society, and it was just fascinating to listen to them and hear. And we did some great work. I mean we cracked it. I mean the shame was we cracked it on the first day. Just I didn't realise we had. So we then cracked it on the first day but then carried on with the draft I'd written. What I should have done is be brave enough on that first day to have gone proverbially right through that draft out. Let's work on this idea, because what I ended up realising I should have done from all along was what we decided on the first day of the workshop.

Speaker 1:

And, by the way, that's so relatable. I do a lot of comedy, improvisation now. That's what I've been doing for sort of 20, 30 years now, and there's a lovely adage with it, which is trusting your instincts. Your first idea is from God, your second idea is from the devil, is the adage. So, with the idea being that we trust our instincts and it's often the way, with the gift of hindsight, your first idea was the best.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but I guess it wasn't. That was the point. It wasn't my instinct. I thought it was a ludicrous idea.

Speaker 1:

Yes, the gift of hindsight yes.

Speaker 2:

But it was as we went through it. I thought you know the buggers worked it out on day one and I was too slow. Lovely, great shape edge. Yeah, it was a great, great and what I like. I love the fact that you know one is still rewiring your brain and the way you behave at the great age that we are, because I'd hate to feel you know that awful thing of getting stuck, because I am stuck in many ways. In many ways I'm stuck, but it's nice to free yourself up occasionally.

Speaker 1:

Yes, yes, wonderful, wonderful. There's an echo suddenly. Okay, now we're going to talk about three things that inspire you, neil Foster.

Speaker 2:

Well, okay, here we go. The first the reason I have a theatre company, I think partly is because of Kenneth Branagh, because I'd had an idea for a theatre company and like a lot of ideas, you go, oh yeah, that was a good idea, and then you forget about it and anyway. So Christmas time, we used to have this time share and I was very bored. So I turned on the TV and Branagh was doing Hamlet in Elsinore and I thought I really should get on with this theatre company. I mean he's doing it. I mean I know he's Kenneth Branagh. I mean that's the big difference between me to all the other people you mentioned Burbage and, if we want to say Kevin Spacey or Ken Branagh, who ran their own companies, peter Anthony, quayle, olivier is that they were all very well known and established in their own rights before they ran with it.

Speaker 1:

Derek Nimmo as well was one. Somebody was still around when we first graduated, Sorry.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but I was and remain really a nobody in terms of I'm not a name, no one knows who I am, and that's partly why I thought I can't do this. But watching Ken, with Branagh in, you know, being so successful with Renaissance as it was then, yes, that was an inspiration. So I owe a lot to Ken Branagh. I've never had the opportunity to tell him because he's always too busy to talk to me, but one day I will trip him over and then tell him as I lift him up.

Speaker 1:

We've got this on. We're recording this as we go, so this will get the extra grist to your mill to be able to get the door open, to tell him that, to thank him. Yes, lovely, thank you, you're welcome.

Speaker 2:

And the next one is Richard Dreyfus. I work with Richard Richard Dreyfus. Richard Dreyfus people will know as the American actor who was in Jaws, closer Countess of the Third Time, the Goodbye Girl, one of his Oscar, the youngest male actor to win an Oscar at the time and I work with him. He directed my production of Hamlet and it wasn't fun and I realized that if it isn't going to be fun, I don't want to do it. So I had to thank Richard for giving me a miserable experience in order to understand that, however interesting it is to work with someone as incredible as Richard and to be sold out and all the things that came with working with Richard Dreyfus, it wasn't fun. What's the point? And that's also been important to me for the next 30 years.

Speaker 1:

And have you had the chance to tell him that, even though it's from a dark part? I?

Speaker 2:

wrote a very long letter and he wrote a very long reply and I thought that was the end of it. And then this is spookiness for you, particularly as I don't believe in anything, but I don't know how old was it? How much later was it Maybe six years later I was in the office and a fax came through and I said dear Neil, this is Peter Evans. I'm Richard Dreyfus's assistant. He is coming to London next week. He would like to invite you for dinner. No hold on, hold on. I've forgotten the point of the story. The point of the story is, two weeks before this fax came through, I had a dream that I met up with Richard Dreyfus and we'd had an amazing chat and put everything to bed and become mates and it was all great. Two weeks later, this fax came through saying Richard would like to invite you for dinner. And I went to this dinner and it literally was my dream because we talked about it, we got on, we went shopping and afterwards and mulled around London and I met him a couple of times in New York. Whenever I was over there he was happy to meet up and it was just weird, because I don't believe in things like that. So I don't know how that happened, but I dreamt about something that then happened. Yes, wow, with Richard. One of the things that Richard Dreyfus said which is going to bring me to my next inspiration is that he said that my letter illustrated one of the problems was my inability to talk to Richard when we were doing Hamlet. And I sent it to Paul Schofield, the great actor that people not everyone knows anymore, paul Schofield, who was very famous, much to his chagran, for Manfred Seasons. But Paul was my patron and was very involved with the company, and I sent him Richard's letter and his reply was I don't know how, as everyone is now aware, I mean watch this podcast. I don't know how anyone can accuse you of an inability to talk. So, but that brings me to Paul, because Paul is my third inspiration, because Paul Schofield, he's one of the great men I've met. He really was this fantastic human being and I was very lucky. He became patron of my company because he worked at the Old Rep in 1944 and obviously went on to great things and is considered to be the greatest lear that's ever been, and he I used to go over a year to have tea in their lovely garden and Joy would cook fresh gums and we sat under the apple trees talking about theatre. And he was just an amazing person to know, because of being the sort of human being I hadn't met before, and such a wise, generous, warm, hyper-intelligent, joyous man who did everything he could to help the company. I mean, when we started he came to see Katna Hotton Roof and loved it so much he wrote to at the time Richard Ayer at the National saying please give this boy all the help he needs. Anything you could do for Neil would be great, and so, consequently, the National Theatre would help us with casting. We got all our props and costumes from the National, never got charged for any of it because of Paul. So he's looking down at me now from his picture. There's a very severe down expression that he has in this picture. That I think was his spotlight picture and I always look at it when I have an idea. I always think, oh, I wonder if we should do that. And I look at Paul's picture and I go, no, no, paul's not happy.

Speaker 1:

So it's a very useful picture. Could you share that picture later on so I can sort of include it? That would be very exciting.

Speaker 2:

Yes, I can.

Speaker 1:

Yes, I can. Lovely, great inspirations. You could be on to a third inspiration now. Now, I've done it. Now I've done it. Excellent. And now two. What are your squirrels of distraction? What never fails to grab your attention, irrespective of anything else, that's going on for you, neil Foster.

Speaker 2:

Well, russian politics. Because my dad, as we mentioned, was a balloonist and was invited to be one of the first to participate in the first ever balloon fest from Red Square in Moscow. So I went with him and we were the first people in history to take off from Red Square and fly over the Kremlin, which we weren't supposed to do. But we got pushed by the Italians no surprise there and they were going to shoot us down the wind that pushes you, but the Italians push you.

Speaker 1:

You're blaming the Italians. It was the Italians.

Speaker 2:

All the other balloons went that way and we ended up going over the Kremlin and literally they were going to shoot us down, because no one is allowed to fly over the Kremlin.

Speaker 1:

So you have I love that we did.

Speaker 2:

I've got lots of pictures, and our order to take off was signed by Gorbachev and Yeltsin, because it was just after the attempted coup against Gorbachev, when Yeltsin had stood on the tank. So just before I went to Russia, I'd watched Brooklapping's amazing documentary, the Second Revolution all about Gorbachev, and I understood after that Russian politics better than some of the Russians that I met. I mean, it was such a brilliant documentary that I've been fascinated by Russian politics ever since. So that anything to do with Russia I mean. Fortunately there's nothing going on.

Speaker 1:

You've had a unique view of Russian politics because you've been flying in a hot air balloon. I love the fact. You know, mostly we blame the Russians as the stereotype, but you're blaming the Italians for blowing you over the Russians.

Speaker 2:

Not there.

Speaker 1:

That's a great squirrel. No one's ever answered the squirrel thing with that degree of intellect. I love that Really Very good, that surprises me. Second squirrel and the other thing is politics.

Speaker 2:

I am very interested in politics. I don't know why, but if I had been a betting man, I wouldn't need to talk to you now, because I'd be living in my Miami estate with 7000 servants, because I correctly predicted, without putting money on it, that Blair would win three elections and that the fourth election would be interesting, which was, of course, the coalition. This had never happened in history before. Labour had only ever won two consecutive elections. They'd never won three. But I was convinced that when Blair came in, well before Blair got elected, that he was going to win the next three elections, and if I'd have put money on that, I would be wealthy.

Speaker 1:

And have you met Tony Blair to tell him that you now wish you'd put money on him?

Speaker 2:

I met him on the Tube prior to him becoming Labour leader and I thought you're going to be Labour leader and we chatted a little bit. And I also met Ed Miliband on the Tube, but I didn't talk to him. Actually, my funny story about Ed Miliband is I got into a big row in Marks and Spencers over a refund. That went on and on and on to this really horrific manager of the store in Southamsted and I was having a row for about 15 minutes. I mean, the security guard was trying to get rid of me, they were going to call the police and the entire time, while I was rowing like what the hell, ed Miliband was standing next to me trying to click and collect Because the machine wasn't working. So he just stood there looking and I'd look at him and eventually I said because someone, please serve Mr Miliband. This is ridiculous, and I once stood next to William Hagan at a toilet. So these are all seminal moments in any political analyst's life.

Speaker 1:

Excellent. And did you ever win your argument with M&S or, to this day, you're unsatisfied?

Speaker 2:

I can't remember, because Ed Miliband kind of took the attention. Yes, I thought. Is this the moment where I berate him for refusing to support the vote to bomb Syria? I thought maybe now is not the time, but I've always held it against him For political reasons. In my view, he prevented Cameron from trying to stop Assad killing half a million of his own people. So I don't like Ed Miliband and what I do like Stammer. So there we go.

Speaker 1:

Great scrolls. Now quickly on unusual fact about you. We couldn't possibly know about you until you tell us.

Speaker 2:

My dad had a very good wine collection and I understood nothing about wine. And one New Year's Eve I was going to a party so I thought, oh, dad's got champagne. So I went down into a cellar and took three bottles of 1976 Krug the best vintage of Krug apparently of the last century. I never told him that I turn one of them into Bucks Fizz, I think I gave one bottle to a woman. I was attracted to that party and we drank the other. Now my dad, who could never remember anything I mean my dad lost his maybe, you know, couldn't remember Never, ever forgot that I had taken his three favorite bottles of 1976 Frug Champagne.

Speaker 1:

So that is the retail value of a Krug bottle of champagne. What are we talking?

Speaker 2:

Well, I should think at the time it was probably 50 quid. But I'm talking about 40 years ago, yes, so we're going to be talking about probably 200, 250 quid a bottle now.

Speaker 1:

I'm quite tempted to invite you to a party to see what Grog you turned up with. Fantastic, that's a great fact, thank you. Well, it's a fact. We've shaken your tree. Now we're staying in the clearing, moving away from the tree, and we're talking about alchemy and gold now. So, neil Foster, hector, manager, when you're at purpose and in flow, what are you absolutely happiest doing and what you're here to reveal to the world?

Speaker 2:

Acting. That's all I like doing. Not all I like doing, but it's the major thing. I like doing a lot and still people don't get it. I mean literally, even a couple of days ago, someone saying to me really, it's the acting you still like. It's like, yes, yes, as you mentioned very kindly, we did this a promise at the Royal Albert Hall, which you can still watch on iPlayer and performing in front of 5,000 people at the Royal Albert Hall, with an orchestra and a chorus and some of the best actors I've ever worked with on stage and six opera singers. Not a great moment to forget your lines, I have to add. I had been warned that don't worry if you get your lines, because there's an auto prompt on the stage. Of course, when I forgot my line, it went off, so I had to actually remember my line, which was trickier than just looking at it, but that was one of the great experiences in my life. So, yep, I'm happiest when I'm in front of an audience trying to entertain them.

Speaker 1:

And presumably that gets your low resting heart rate up in the right way.

Speaker 2:

I have never been so frightened because we had very little rehearsal time. If I put it this way, we performed in front of you know, live in front of 5,000 people, live on Radio 3, it's being filmed for CBBC. We had one run through. Wow, it was ludicrous. I have never been so so I think my heart rate would probably have gone through the roof for that show.

Speaker 1:

Because you're through the roof probably just can I be bothered for other 58?. Ok, so now I'm going to award you with a cake. This is the last sort of multi-layered sort of element of story-suffused brilliance, so you get to put a cherry on the cake now. First of all, do you like cake, neil Foster?

Speaker 2:

Yes.

Speaker 1:

Which cake would you like, please? It's a metaphorical cake.

Speaker 2:

Well, anyone who knows Maison Bertoux in Greek Street, run by Michelle Wade, will know she does the best cakes and I like her cream fruit eclair. If I don't get it I'm going to be unhappy. It's only about five quid, so I think you can stomp to that.

Speaker 1:

Maison.

Speaker 2:

Bertoux, greek Street, maison Bertoux, it's B-E-R-T-A-U-X. Anyone wants a really wonderful cake and cup of tea. You won't get any more better.

Speaker 1:

It's not cheap, but it's very good. I'm going to look that up. Greek Street, did you say, yeah, it's the best?

Speaker 2:

She runs it like a little old French patisserie. What's her name? Again, michelle who, michelle Wade, who I did the seagull with One of my first shows at the Birmingham Rep, where we performed at the Birmingham Rep she was a very brilliant masher.

Speaker 1:

Lovely. She's supplying you with chocolate eclairs with cream, cream fruit on them. Awesome, not for free. I have to pay a lot. I'll see if I can have one shipped it. Anyway, you now get to put a cherry on your cake if it's got enough fruit in it already by the sound of it. But this is now stuff like what's a favourite inspirational quote, neil, that's given you sucker and pulled you towards your future.

Speaker 2:

Well, obama had it after me, but I well, there's two. I mean, okay, there's a few quotes I like it can be done. I do think that's important. But my quote that I use most often to calm myself down and I use it a lot, it's really a mantra rather than a quote and it's my own creation is no wish for no worry, no wish for it to be any different than it is today. It's a bit zen-y, I suppose, a bit zen, and no worry about the future. Just try and live in the moment. So I say to myself no wish for no worry.

Speaker 1:

Just don't have the no wish orbit again, is that I mean?

Speaker 2:

don't no wish for it to be any different than it is at this moment. Don't, because it's a pointless exercise. Like you can't get ahead of yourself until you've made the mistakes, until you've marked up, you don't know. So don't beat yourself up, don't wish for it to be any different. You got here. If you're still here, then you've done better than people like some you know, very close friends, who are not here anymore. No wish for it to be any different than it is and don't worry about the future, because the future is a fantasy.

Speaker 1:

Lovely, very nicely unpacked. What notes, help or advice might you profit to a younger version of yourself with the gift of hindsight?

Speaker 2:

Well, I do. I mean, you know, I've got to say it, probably because it's sort of been a hallmark of my is just to do it. There's a wonderful quote by Goethe where he talks about the genius of any action in life and any activity is to start it. Yes, the first step is the most important, because, whatever dream you had, what you never can take into account is the role that Providence is going to play, because if you've had a good idea I think it has to be a good idea If you've had a good idea, all sorts of things will happen, as he said, sort of all manner of positive outcomes, all manner of things will help you achieve what you're seeking to do. But the crucial thing, what is boldness has genius. Begin it, begin it now is kind of the thing. So I would just say to anyone who's thinking about doing something this includes me, obviously who's been trying to write a play for eight years begin it now. Begin it now. Don't wait, because you just don't know how long you've got and you can waste time.

Speaker 1:

Beautifully put and very, very relatable. Love that. What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given.

Speaker 2:

Well, I think sorry to be repetitive I think that Brenner's advice just a heart back to that was the best bit of advice, because it kept me on the road, because I don't know to remind you, he said being an actor, not being a manager, being an actor, but do what you want to. I think the real problem for a lot of people in this world is they end up doing what they're good at.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Now that would seem like a good idea to do what you're good at, but sometimes what you're good at is not really what you wanna do. It just happens you've got a natural ability for it, but it might not be what kicks your box, what really fulfills your dream. And I think the most important thing is to do what you love, not what you're good at. Obviously, it helps to have a house and the ability to afford food and heating, but doing what you love will tend to probably produce more success anyway, because you will give everything to it. If you love it, you will devote your whole life to it, and I just think sometimes doing what you're good at is not the best route to a happy life.

Speaker 1:

And with your own equation and formula. The fact that you've straddled both actor manager, with the wonderful sort of legacy of that going back to Richard Burbitt and Etal, is the idea that you've actually you've got both going on. You've found the perfect way of navigating that Because, yes, you're a manager, but you still still, still, you're gonna be the main part all next year. I commend you, yeah what was the question?

Speaker 2:

Oh, was it a statement or a question?

Speaker 1:

Oh, I was just affirming that I understood, but I'm noticing that you've actually nailed it for yourself, because you're actually doing both. You haven't just sat on one side of the fence, it hasn't. You're actually straddling both by being an actor manager, and I commend you for that. Thank you very much. Okay, so we're ramping up to a bit of Shakespeare in a minute, borrowed from the All the Worlds of Stage and All the Men and Women Community Players. Just before we do that, this is the pass the golden baton moment, please. So who would you most like, having experienced this from within, to pass the golden baton along to, in order to keep the golden thread of storytelling going?

Speaker 2:

Well, I would like to pass it on to Richard J Hines, who is my movement director on my production of Ball for Lanty, was movement director on my production of Demon Dentist. He's just choreographed Elf at the Dominion. He's a new addition to the team of Birmingham Stage Company. I met him for Demon Dentist and I'm doing this for very selfish reasons, because I'd like to know the answer to all these questions that Richard. So I find him. He's great. It was Robert Hans, who was a fellow colleague of us from Resolving he's guesting soon.

Speaker 1:

by the way, he's guesting beginning of January.

Speaker 2:

Right. Well, he recommended him. I asked Robert what do you think of Richard? Because he was also a sister choreographer on Come From Away. Yeah, and Robert said if whatever you can get him, get him. He's the adult in the room, and so it's turned out to be. He's a really great addition to us. Everyone really appreciates what he does. I've also made him assistant director on All For Lanty and I'd be fascinated to hear much more about his life and what motivates him. And I pass the baton on to him.

Speaker 1:

Richard J Hines. Thank you very much. Ok, now, inspired by Shakespeare. By the way, this is the actual, not the first, failure, but this is the book I brought when I went to the Resolving Theatre School. It says a date you relate to 16th of the 9th, 86. Thank you, but anyway, inspired by all the world's stage and all the men and women merely players. Neil Foster, hector, Manager, how and all is said and done, would you most like to be remembered?

Speaker 2:

I don't care, boom, because I'll be dead.

Speaker 1:

Double boom, Excellent. And now where can we find out all about you on the old Hinterweb.

Speaker 2:

Oh well, it's called the BirminghamStagecom. That's where it is. Birminghamstagecom Is our website and you'll find everything we're doing on that and Twitter, instagram, all those things as well. I don't know about those things. If I showed you my phone, you would laugh because I don't know if I've got one of my old versions, you know. So that's sort of my phone, you know, is that sort of thing I don't do smart, so I don't. We've got them. I'm sure we've got them. We're very, very good on social media, but I Lord knows what any of the handles are, because I never look at them.

Speaker 1:

You have people to do that for you. By the sound of it, I have people, lovely, ok. So as this has been your moment in the sunshine, in the Good, listening to show Stories of Distinction and Genius, is there anything else you'd like to say? Neil Foster, vote Labour. No one's ever used this as sort of hustings for politics. I love that. Thank you very much. Vote Labour Excellent. So that's how you'd like to drop the mic and leave us, is it?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. If you give me that opportunity, there is only one thing we have to do next year Vote Labour. That's it. Everything else is commentary.

Speaker 1:

So thank you to my esteemed guest, neil Foster. Hector manager, I've been Chris Crimes. This has been TheGoodListeningToShowcom. Check out the various series strands if you two would like to be my guest too. Don't forget there's also a series strand called Legacy Life Reflections, where you can lend the structure or the construct of the show to record the story of someone near, dear or close to you for posterity. That's just one of several series strands you can check out at TheGoodListeningToShowcom. I've been Chris Crimes. That was Neil Foster. Tune in next time for more stories from the Clearing and goodbye. You've been listening to the Good Listening to Show here on UK Health Radio with me, chris Crimes. Oh, it's close up. If you've enjoyed the show, then please do tune in next week to listen to more stories from the Clearing. If you'd like to connect with me on LinkedIn, then please do so. There's also a dedicated Facebook group for the show too. You can contact me about the programme or, if you'd be interested in experiencing some personal impact coaching with me, care of my level up your impact programme. That's chrisatsecondcurveuk On Twitter and Instagram. It's At that, chris Crimes. So until next time for me, chris Crimes, from UK Health Radio. I'm from Stan. To your Good Health and goodbye. So, neil Foster, you've just been given a damn good listening to in the show. Could I just get your immediate feedback on what that was like being curated through this journey in this formula?

Speaker 2:

I enjoyed it cos I it reminded me of all sorts of wonderful people who, although are very present in my life, I don't get to talk about that very often or Richard Dreyfuss, or Paul Schofield, or my dad in quite the way. So that has been a great joy to remind myself of the wonderful people who've been in my life.

Actor-Manager Neil Foster
Interviewing Celebrities for Charity
The Shaping Influences on an Actor
Memories and Advice From a Mentor
The Impact of Listening and Inspiration
Inspirations, Dreams, and Politics
Unusual Facts, Acting, and Life Advice
Coaching and Show Feedback Experience