"The Good Listening To" Podcast with me Chris Grimes! (aka a "GLT with me CG!")

A GLT with me CG - Ep29: Stuart Cox - Actor, Director & Journeyman!

December 20, 2020 Chris Grimes - Facilitator. Coach. Motivational Comedian Season 1 Episode 33
"The Good Listening To" Podcast with me Chris Grimes! (aka a "GLT with me CG!")
A GLT with me CG - Ep29: Stuart Cox - Actor, Director & Journeyman!
Chapters
0:00
Intro
0:53
Meeting Stuart
5:07
The Clearing
10:05
Shaking the Tree
1:09:35
Alchemy and Gold
1:11:02
Cherry on the Cake
1:14:02
Outro
"The Good Listening To" Podcast with me Chris Grimes! (aka a "GLT with me CG!")
A GLT with me CG - Ep29: Stuart Cox - Actor, Director & Journeyman!
Dec 20, 2020 Season 1 Episode 33
Chris Grimes - Facilitator. Coach. Motivational Comedian

Welcome to another episode of "The Good Listening To Podcast" - with me Chris Grimes!

And please welcome to the "GLT Clearing" Actor, Director & Journeyman - across time and space - Mr Stuart Cox!

A perfect Shakesperian casting shoe-in (!) for a whole gallery of "iconic melancholics": Jacques, King Lear, Feste, The Fool - plus in other works: Doctor Who, Wallace & Gromit, Last of the Summer Wine, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid & The Magnificent Seven.

"All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players..." Jacques - "As You Like It" Act II Scene 7

Listen to this wonderfully rich conversation - and all will become clear!

So - thanks for listening to another episode of a "GLT with me CG!"

The Podcast series that features "The Clearing":  Where all good questions come to be asked and all good stories come to be told!

With some lovely juicy storytelling metaphors to also enjoy along the way:

The Clearing itself - A Tree (where we get to "shake your tree to see which storytelling apples fall out, in the form of a lovely storytelling exercise called "5-4-3-2-1") - some Alchemy - some Gold - and finally a Cake with a Cherry on Top!

Think "Desert Island Discs" but in a Clearing!

Also think about William Shakespeare - and about Jaques in "As You Like It" in particular:

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages..."

Jaques: Act II Scene VII

And as my Guest in the Podcast:  Now is your 'moment in the sunshine' to share your story!

Who are you? What's your story? And what 'life-lessons-learned-along-the-way' would you like to share with us? And just to get bit "existential on yo ass" too (!) what would you like your legacy to be?  How would you most like to be remembered?

And all my guests have at least 2 things in common: They are all Creative individuals  - and all with an interesting story to be told!

(You can also WATCH Stuart's Podcast interview here: https://vimeo.com/481670200)

If you'd like to find out more, then please do check out my websites www.secondcurve.uk + www.instantwit.co.uk - and there's also a dedicated "Good Listening To" Facebook Group c/o the link above.

Plus if you'd be interested in the experience of being given "a damn good listening to" yourself, or you'd like to explore the idea of some Personal Impact Coaching from me CG - to help level-up your confidence, communication, and personal impact c/o my online Coaching proposition: The Second Curve "Zoom Room" - then, by all means, do get in touch via any of the usual social media channels (see above) or you can email me at [email protected] 

(The Second Curve "Zoom Room": Coaching to get you to the next level - or clarity on how to get to "where next?")


Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Welcome to another episode of "The Good Listening To Podcast" - with me Chris Grimes!

And please welcome to the "GLT Clearing" Actor, Director & Journeyman - across time and space - Mr Stuart Cox!

A perfect Shakesperian casting shoe-in (!) for a whole gallery of "iconic melancholics": Jacques, King Lear, Feste, The Fool - plus in other works: Doctor Who, Wallace & Gromit, Last of the Summer Wine, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid & The Magnificent Seven.

"All the world’s a stage. And all the men and women merely players..." Jacques - "As You Like It" Act II Scene 7

Listen to this wonderfully rich conversation - and all will become clear!

So - thanks for listening to another episode of a "GLT with me CG!"

The Podcast series that features "The Clearing":  Where all good questions come to be asked and all good stories come to be told!

With some lovely juicy storytelling metaphors to also enjoy along the way:

The Clearing itself - A Tree (where we get to "shake your tree to see which storytelling apples fall out, in the form of a lovely storytelling exercise called "5-4-3-2-1") - some Alchemy - some Gold - and finally a Cake with a Cherry on Top!

Think "Desert Island Discs" but in a Clearing!

Also think about William Shakespeare - and about Jaques in "As You Like It" in particular:

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages..."

Jaques: Act II Scene VII

And as my Guest in the Podcast:  Now is your 'moment in the sunshine' to share your story!

Who are you? What's your story? And what 'life-lessons-learned-along-the-way' would you like to share with us? And just to get bit "existential on yo ass" too (!) what would you like your legacy to be?  How would you most like to be remembered?

And all my guests have at least 2 things in common: They are all Creative individuals  - and all with an interesting story to be told!

(You can also WATCH Stuart's Podcast interview here: https://vimeo.com/481670200)

If you'd like to find out more, then please do check out my websites www.secondcurve.uk + www.instantwit.co.uk - and there's also a dedicated "Good Listening To" Facebook Group c/o the link above.

Plus if you'd be interested in the experience of being given "a damn good listening to" yourself, or you'd like to explore the idea of some Personal Impact Coaching from me CG - to help level-up your confidence, communication, and personal impact c/o my online Coaching proposition: The Second Curve "Zoom Room" - then, by all means, do get in touch via any of the usual social media channels (see above) or you can email me at [email protected] 

(The Second Curve "Zoom Room": Coaching to get you to the next level - or clarity on how to get to "where next?")


And we're in.
Welcome to another episode of the Good Listening to podcast with me, Chris Grimes.
An actor who back in the day I even did some actor role play with.
I seem to remember,
but Mr Stuart Cox,
who is a very interesting man in that he's an international Shakespeare director.
We’ll
come on to that.
We were actors together in Bristol.
And then one day in 1988 he announced on the death of either his mother or father.
He'll clarify which that was he upped sticks.
I think it was
your dad. I will make that 50 50 assumption. The off you went to Mexico to forge 
a whole new life.
So Mr Stuart Cox,
Welcome.
How are you today?
I'm fine,
Thank you,
Chris.
Nice to see you again.
Going back all these years.
Yes.
And by the way,
you've been gorgeous in leaning in quite heavily to the 
hashtag lol virus group that I've also been running during this rather weird period in history.
But thank you.
Your your comic memes have been copious and much 
appreciated.
Thank you.
You're welcome. Life
is about how you pass the time. Exactly.
These days it's a good way of passing the time. Lovely,
and I agree.
Sorry,
I was going to say that you remind me, if I may,
in sort of acting casting when I first Googled you before today just to sort of 
refresh myself,
there was an interesting, there's there's another person called Stuart Cox where it said Stuart Cox is most famous for a production of King 
Lear in 1976 and I thought,
Ah, that's not this one,
but ironically,
now what goes around comes around.
You would be just the most gorgeous casting for King Lear now,
because I think you are approaching the right fruity age.
If I may say so.
Also,
you make me think off brilliant casting for someone like Jaques in,
As You Like It in all the world’s a stage.
And this is a real compliment that there's a quality of sort of a rather beautiful 
melancholia about you,
and I mean,
that as a compliment.
Yes, certain clowns. I was in that production.
I played the Duke of Gloucester in that production that you're talking about.
Of King Lear.
So it is.
That is you,
then?
Yes, But not playing.
It's a long time ago,
but that is I and We toured
Communist Poland with that production.
Which was wonderful.
It was but it was extraordinary.
Wasn't very wonderful for the for the Poles at the time.
It was kind of very grim,
but it was extraordinary experience.
I once tried to persuade the 
director of the Bristol old Vic at the time.<br>
Whose name I can’t remember, in the 90s
Andy Hay, might it have been?
Andy Hay, yes.
I tried to persuade him that I was absolutely perfect 
casting for Feste,
Feste,<br>
In Twelfth Night,
I badgered him. I went to see him
We messed around for 45 minutes and he gave the part to 
somebody else
I thought I understand this Feste. I know this,
I understand it.
And then there's the fool in King Lear.
Yes,
so yes,
And by the way<br>
<br>
I completely agree.
That would be you'd be completely phenomenally perfect casting for that.
And it's ironic,
isn't it,
that we remember getting feedback way back in the day that I will come into my own later in life,
and it's quite interesting about one's time
or moment in the sunshine,
if you like.
Absolutely or not,
yes and indeed,
or creating or creating one’s own spot and one’s own sunlight.
Absolutely.
So there's also a lovely ...
You talk about King Lear in Poland.
There's also lovely other just title,
which is Pericles in Havana,
which we will talk about as well.
So let's bring you into the clearing.
First of all.
There’s lots to talk about with Shakespeare being a through line in what I'm thinking.
We're beginning to talk about here,
which I'm really enjoying.
So what is it clearing like,
first of all,
and bring you into these lovely storytelling archetypes that we do here on the podcast,
which is the clearing,
and there's gonna be a tree, alchemy, gold,
and then a cake where you put a cherry on the cake in the end.
So in the usual format,
what is your clearing?
Stuart Cox,
My clearing,
and you have to be very careful about how you put the tree into it.
My clearing is is travelling because 
is the space between setting off and arriving 
and that could be on a bus, in a car,
either the passenger or driving because we go into automatic.
When we’re driving,
It can be an aeroplane.
It's the act of travelling between A and B.
For me,
that is a space where nothing happens, and have you ever thought
Why is travelling tiring?
Because all you're doing is going from A to B through time and space.
Why is that more tiring than sitting on a sofa at home watching the television?
It's just a delicious metaphor.
A to B in time and space.
It's exhausting.
Because you’re alive,
I think.
Yeah,
something.
Some universities must have done experiments on why you feel 
tired from travelling through time and space.
Really,
If that's the case,
it must be exhausting to be an astronaut.
Yes,
a very long way for you to go and that for me.
It's an empty space,
and I’ve had really good ideas whilst travelling 
because I've got nothing else to do unless you want to 
read a book or listen to music.
But if you clear that it's a perfect empty space because you've left something 
behind and you haven't arrived.
At what’s next?
And I knew I was onto something with Jaques.
By the way.
All the world's a stage and the sort of points the journey 
towards which is so profound there.
And like you're a time traveller,
journeymen, a man in space,
it is, I mean.
That's what life is.
Because time, you can't stop time,
As soon as I've said this.
It's in the past,
yes,
so the present is very fleeting.
There’s a lot of past and a lot of future,
but the present is, it’s gone!
So the beautiful comic construct is that we’ve got to take a shrubbery or a bush or a pot plant or a tree with us as you ...
Well, you can have a pot plant that we're
taking to a friend as a gift or, on my way back,
I could have bought the pot plant in a supermarket or something.
Um and I'm thinking Bonzai tree
where,
I'm thinking Bonzai tree where we can shake we can shake your Bonzai tree to see which tiny little bits fall out.
Whatever works is fine.
It's working for me.
So here we are,
a time traveller travelling through time and space going from Point A to B,
which journey in your life's journey
would you like to be making as I accompany you with my bonsai tree pot plant.
There was, um,
I think, in Mexico, I lived in a village called 
Tepoztlan,
It’s a very old settlement,
and there’s cave paintings in the mountains around. It’s been settled
for thousands of years and, um,
the nearest town or city, its called Cuernavaca,
which for me was a bus ride away.
Cuernavackia?
Cuernavaca.
Cuernavaca.
Cuernavaca.
Yes, in the original
Nahuatl language
it was&nbsp;<br>
Quanahuac .
But the Spanish couldn't handle that.
So they approximated it to Cuernavaca,
which means cow's horn to them.
But it's just that they couldn't say Cuanahuac.
So its
Cuernavaca.<br>
Um and,
um,
that was the the nearest kind of, well it was the nearest supermarket.
To be honest,
I...I never went very often,
but occasionally once every couple of months or something.
But its a very good empty space journey,
because you just got the arid countryside&nbsp;
And, erm,<br>
once you've done it a couple of times.
Nothing to see here.
Just float off inside yourself because you've seen it all 
before,
so I would say that one.
Lovely.
So we're gonna shake your Bonzai tree now
and there are some apples to scale that are 
gonna plop out which the storytelling construct of this exercise called 
54321 where you've had so long as you needed, Stuart,
before we spoke, to think about four things that have shaped you, three things that inspire 
you two things that never fail to grab your attention.
And then one quirky or unusual fact about you,
Mr Stuart Cox,
actor and director,
that we couldn't possibly know about you until you tell us so over to you. Talk us 
through.
How do you like them Apples?
It's good that I like to.
You'll have to reign me in to the 
4321 because I could go on forever within 
those categories.
So almost catacombs in the mountains of Mexico.
Now we're going to. Keep me reined in.
So four things that shaped me 
which,
actually in a sense,
it all ties in with the time and space in the journey,
Which I think is what life is anyway.
Um,
but I think that's the first thing that occurred to me
was at the age of six.
In the back streets of Leeds,
I saw my first black person.
It was a man,<br>
obviously,
probably West Indian.
It was the time of Windrush,
but we didn't have a television.
So this was something completely new.
Bang.
And my first thought was “Fantastic.
I wish I was like that”.
And I think,
and I can remember the piece of pavement I was standing on. It was on the corner of Army Ridge Road and Christ Church 
opposite. I can remember the piece of pavement.
And I think it might have been because I...I wanted to be 
different.
And this was a huge difference in the world that...that I had seen for the first 
time.
But more than that,
I think it opened up a crack,
into a huge,
wide,
unknown world.
Maybe it was the first crack in my consciousness,
that life was not just about the back streets of Leeds and going on the tram into the 
city centre or whatever.
The expression - the crack of consciousness was opening an abyss of 
possibility.
Yeah,
I think that, really I mean,
you can't tell because you’re only six years old but looking back
that's what it felt
it was so, I was so impressed.
Did they just walk across?
Did this,
No, I just remember standing there looking up at him
while he was talking.
And was he talking to you or he was just someone to observe?
Um,
I don't know,
but it wasn't passing in the street.
I don't know who he was talking to.
He wasn’t talking to me because I was just looking at him with my mouth open.
Yeah.
Going “Fantastic.”
Yeah,
“That’s what I want to be,<br>
let me be black”.
But it’s also a marker.
I believe that we know in destiny and fate and that we have 
markers in life.which I’ll talk about later.
Ah,
that leads us into our future.
And for me,
so much of my working life was about different cultures 
and the exploration of different cultures and how they manifest 
through the arts, through singing,
dancing,
theatre,
whatever,
and, and that our difference actually makes us 
alike rather than different.
Yeah,
Markers that pull us towards our future.
That's a beautiful way to put it.
Yeah,
because the second one,
as we progress - I’ve got four, haven’t I - its four things that have shaped you
so<br>
Okay,
my friend Stuart Hartley we recently re contacted 
from,
we went to school together.
Funny enough,
he lives in West Wales,
but I remember in 1962 in the 
classroom.
I remember the very desk because he whipped out this 
single record and said it “I’ve got this, it's 
called Love Me Do.
And it's by this group called the Beatles.
They're going to be very big. What a&nbsp;
trailblazer<br>
Stuart Hartley was.<br>
Absolutely.
He was. Stuart had a finger on the pulse of the zeitgeist,
He ended up working in the music industry for HMV
etcetera
boom boom.
But erm, so then
of course,
the Beatles did become very big.
Did they?
It was a wonderful time




&nbsp;,
wonderful time to be a teenager because there was new music every single week.
When it came out,
the new sounds. I remember Spencer Davis 
Group with Keep on Running, it was the first ever 
fuzz pedal guitar doo doo do do do,
And you went.
“What's that?
I've never heard that before.”
And then,
like A Whiter Shade of Pale with the organ.
“What was that? What’s that? That’s new!”
And every every week there's a new sound. It was extraordinary and to 
divert a bit.
I think that this that Shakespeare's London was like the Swinging Sixties 
because the Swinging Sixties only occurred because,
after the Second World War,
Britain was in a terrible financial state.
Um,
paradoxically,
having won the war.
But I grew up in the fifties and it was grim, the fifties were grim,
um,
but then America had teenagers because America did very well 
out of the war. They actually made a lot of money.<br>
They cured the Great Depression,
Through<br>
wartime
industry,
et cetera.
And they did very well.
So in the fifties they had teenagers.
They had full employment.<br>
They had teenagers,
teenagers with money and they had
Elvis Presley.
They had it all going on across the pond.
And we had Cliff Richard,
which is a bit of a pale imitation.
But then,
in the sixties we had full employment because in the sixties I could get a Saturday 
job as a teenager and earn £1.50
£2 pounds if you were very lucky.
But for the Saturday which is enough to buy a record,
go out with the girlfriend and buy booze, because a pint
was one and eight a pint at the time.
So you could get well
plastered<br>
on your Saturday job.
Um,
Why was I saying that?
I love that - getting well plastered on my
Saturday job.
Is another really nice iconic moment.
So we’re talking about Shakespeare of London.
And by that I don't think that's right,
because because it was full employment in Britain in the 
sixties,
which meant the teenager was possible with a Saturday job and what we do spend money on ?
We spent it on records and fashion.
And what were the big things about this Swinging London, the swinging sixties?
Music and fashion. The clothes I used to wear.
I shudder to think about what I used to...
I mean,
but you did.
But at the same time,
Elizabethan England, London, Elizabethan London -&nbsp;
trade was opening up and London was becoming a very big port.
There was a lot of money about and...
...colonialism was just kind of beginning.
Raping the resources of the rest of the world was just kind of starting.
There was a lot of money. Raping the resources of the rest of the world.
Another really beautiful statement.
And so what did you have?
The entertainment was bear baiting,
cock fighting, the brothel, and the theatre.
You did have a good fifties,
I know you’re only joking.
I know you're talking about Shakespeare’s.
That's when,
of course,
the Globe Theatre.
It was a whole evening out because yeah,
there's there's the bear baiting and the cock fighting, go to the theatre and then end up at the 
tavern and the brothel. Afterwards.
And, by the way, that’s what I always loved about the function of a prologue.
To just get people to shut their faces,
Stop shagging each other.
Stop bear baiting and pay attention.
Pay attention.
Just pay attention because we're going to start now.
So because people have money in their pockets. So 
The third thing that - they went to the theatre.
Now just just just finish that.
Sorry,
<br>
The theatre was brand new.
It was a new thing.
It was like the sixties beat groups.
It was very similar.
It was novel and it was exciting that there's a new play every week,
ber, ber, ber, and, of course,
you know the first theatre &nbsp;
was built in the 1570s, the 
first purpose built theatre. They had them in Italy earlier.
But...and you know what they called it?
No,
The Theatre.
What else you gonna call it?
Yes,
how?
That title.
I love that.
And of course,
after that, that name was taken so they had to have The Swan and
The Globe and the and the this and the that.
But but the second one yesterday to go back to the Swinging Sixties 
and erm,<br>
the Beatles album, Revolver,
I think, I think it was Revolver, and it had on the track called Norwegian Wood 
on which George Harrison played the sitar.
It was another of those moments.
“What is that sound?
That is unbelievable.
I’ve never heard it in my life,
What is it?
Goodness me,
goodness me,
that’s exciting.”
And Ravi Shankar came to Leeds in 1967 
Leeds Town Hall.
I got on the bus from Halifax where I lived,
on a Wednesday or Thursday night on the bus,
- another journey from A to B -
another journey from A to B.
Yes,
on DH saw this concert with Ravi Shankar playing his sitar with 
Allah Rakha,
his tablet player by the side.
Just stunned for a couple of hours,
just mouth open,
not understanding when I was listening to,
but loving the actual sound of it.
Yes,
um,
there's a lovely thread here where you're always attracted by new, comically&nbsp;
think it's about people nowadays.
It's comically lenses “Ooh, squirrels” or people get distracted by the new shiny thing.
But your life as you grew up was just tuning
into diversity. Innovations,
<br>it fascinates me. The new is what attracts me.



<br>

<br>
But that’s probably a later apple,
Um,
and 67 
19 years later,
I shook Ravi Shankar's hand.
Oh,
where? In London.
Because I've been doing a production and I was working with
one of his top disciples who’d actually 
practised with George Harrison - Wow - underneath 
Ravi Shankar.
So, as I say, it’s&nbsp;
markers.
Yes,
I love that. Its destiny,
fate or whatever, but markers.
And I think they point you in the direction.
It's this idea of when you look over your shoulder and join the dots up backwards.
You can stand on the right path.
And you can only do it in hindsight.
Yes,
You can’t do it at the time that is happening.
So is that.
Is that the second one?
That was yes,
that's absolutely, enamoured by a beautiful Jamaican 
man,
then music in the sixties and the Beatles.
Ravi Shankar is maybe third one and so there’s one other.
Yeah, that shapes you.
so So then it was actually through a whole 
process of...
It's, its a bit too long to go into.
But I ended up in 1998 which is 
just over 10 years later,
actually working in India,
in a village in the desert of Rajasthan,
um,
directing a play with Rajasthani folk theatre actors and 
musicians and villages together,
which is something that nobody has ever done.
Certainly no British directors ever done it,
and I don't think it's been done since. Indian directors used to go to the villages and 
choose, select, Folk Theatre actors but take them to the city.
There's a whole movement in the 1980s called Theatre of Roots in India 
And um,<br>
it was going back to look at the traditions,
the traditional theatres and using that and...







<br>
bringing them into the contemporary world. But they...<br>
...a lot of it was ego driven,
which is what a lot of theatre directors all over the world are.
Look at me.
Look at me. So there's a cultural reference.
When I was tuning into the fact you did that was,
it made me think about Peter Brook.
And the Mahabharata in terms of work like that,
but I know it's it's subtly different because you're talking about really community stuff.
And the problem with Peter Brook is that he can't do rough 
theatre. He talks about it in The Empty Space. Yeah, one of my favourite, iconic books.
It’s a Bible. An absolute Bible. &nbsp;It even even informs
comedy improvisation for me nowadays,
the empty space brimming and charged with potential.
I love it.
Yes,
we’re talking about space again.
Time and space.
But he writes beautifully about what he calls the Rough Theatre,
and I think that's a very good kind of title for it.
“When the theatre is in trouble,
the Rough Theatre will always save the day.”
Is what he writes. And that's an interesting precedent for now in pandemic.
The arts is monumentally in crisis, as we know.
But the thing about Brook
from my point of view,
from what I've observed is that he’s so refined he can't do rough 
theatre.
I went to see a production of his, Ubu Roi,
which is absolutely rough theatre,
and it was so...it was far too refined.
It wasn’t rough at all.
It was. It was high culture rough.
.
It was holy
with a rough edge.
So he polished it?
Yeah,
absolutely.
All the interaction between the actors and the audience was just too refined.
And also he had this, a project Conference of 
the Birds.
Was that it?
There was one project,
Where he went to Africa with a group of actors.
Andi...
they put out a carpet in the middle of the village and you say to the actors,
Okay,
now you have to connect with them and then entertain them.
And everything. And they, of course, had no common language.
So it was a huge experiment in what is the essence of theatre.
Then it ended.
They rolled up the carpet and drove off to a hotel.
That's so reminds me of one of my favourite ever acting exercises,
where you just divide a drama class into two and then you sit one group down to be the 
audience and the others stand there and you go,
OK,
you got a minute and a half to entertain us,
and then the choices...what people start to do...
But my point is,
they went back to a hotel.
Yes,
too refined.
That's right.
But he would say,
Oh,
I didn't want them to get to know each other because that would destroy the experiment 
if they didn’t know each other<br>
et cetera<br>
But even so,
you know,
if you're going to an African village,
find out what it's like to live there.
Yes, and it’s something...




<br>its something that I...It’s a bugbear of mine that I’ve come across quite recently um.
and I don't care for it, I won’t go into it now.
But it's it's it's it's Western.
It's it's cultural colonialism,
basically.
And again,
I love the thread of the marker of time.
So yes,
The marker I&nbsp;
so remember,
was you upping sticks.
Really, one minute you're living around the corner from me in Bristol, still next one.
So this is that this is the point of India was 
that I’d been working in British theatre for 30 years 
and I’d kind of done pretty much everything. Experimental,
touring, repertory,
West End, opera, television, film here and there.
I'd done all that and
It was like “So what's new that I haven't done before?”
Because I've done that and I suddenly realised I was having such a 
fantastic time in India living in this village,
um,
the only Westerner for three hour's drive in any direction.
And it was it was supremely exciting.
I mean,
both the artistic thing of a genuine 
hundreds of years old folk theatre tradition.
Working with that and learning from it,
Yes,
and...and also the location.
Yes,
not Britain and I said,
I said,
it just occurred to me I thought,
well,
I like this.
And somewhere in my head I've left British theatre
behind.
There's there's not there's no pull anymore.
Again.
Maybe because it was becoming too polished or honed or too self aware.
And you wanted something a bit more rustic,
remote?
Well,
trail blazing,
pioneering.
It was also the novelty thing.
Like you said before,
I'm attracted to innovation,
new things.
There's new things in the work that I did.
But also in my life,
and so to travel and work together was perfect,
because I'd always travelled. When I was 17 and 18,
both summers.
No, 17
I went to the Isle of Wight and worked one summer. 18 and 19,
I spent the summer hitchhiking around you Europe - and not to do the Isle of Wight 
any disservice.
But going to rural Rajasthan makes it much more
trailblazing - Absolutey, but there must always have been a pull.
To get out of my environment is what I'm saying,
because to head off around and hitch - and you could hitchhike then.
Yes,
it was safe.
Yes.
Six weeks.
I was known as the 10 bob a day
man because I allocated myself 10 shillings a day to spend 
10 bob
a day man.
Yeah,
that's right.
And it worked.
So then the India thing,
which is perfect because,
I mean,
even as an actor and director I’d travelled,
touring throughout Britain,
but internationally as well.
Europe mainly, and then suddenly in India going,
“Oh,
my goodness.
Yes.”
And I thought well,
if I relocate to India, with the rupee economy,
I would never ever leave because I wouldn't have enough 
money.
I've never earn enough money to leave so...and also it's very extreme.
Yes,
in my experience of India.
Right?
I know what you mean.
Extreme. The climate is extreme.
The poverty is extreme.
Yes,
And the corruption’s extreme.
Everything about it is extreme.
Ah,
no,
I'm not putting it down.
But I did have to pay a bribe to have the electricity 
stay on during the show in the middle of the village 
Where we had a stage.
But the man from the electricity,
well, of course,
it could go out in the middle of the show.
So Is there any way?
Well,
if you give me,
I'll make sure it doesn't.
The show must go on the lights must stay on.
I love that. &nbsp;It happens in other countries as well.
But that's it's the nature of the beast - it’s the gig economy - you can’t&nbsp;
get all.
“Oh,
this is terrible.
This is disgraceful.
Corruption.” It’s how it is. You’re not going to change it.
It's survival,
the binary world of yin yang.
You want the lights on,
Give the guy some money.
But,
um,
And so then I thought about this trip.
But where?
And it was Mexico and it just came to
me a similar climate in some ways,
but not extreme,
similar kind of cultural,
culturally old.
But if you watched
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,
I'm interested Why you didn't go to Bolivia now?
Well,
funnily enough,
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid was filmed in the village I 
lived in.
The Bolivian scenes were filmed in Tepoztlan,
the village I lived in.
What a beautiful accidental segueway,
Where you’ve actually gone.
I love listening.
It's a great thing. In the in the 1960s the Magnificent 
Seven was filmed in the valley where the village was, in the
mountains.
The whole thing was filmed, well, apart from the first kind of 10 minutes.
You could have shaken Yul Brynner’s&nbsp;<br>
hand as well,<br>
as well as Robert Redford's, Paul Newman's.
Well, now you’ve said it again because one of my neighbours,
her father,
was employed as a wrangler for Yul Brynner and his horses.
Awesome connexions.
I love that.
So there’s times I have a quick look at it because the
the landscape is the same, it’s millions of years old.
There hasn’t been a change since the 1960s
which you go back to the sixties again and um,
so I packed up 
that - I must have been mad.
You see,
a lot of people thought I was.
I didn't.
I was quite envious,
actually,
That's, that’s a good reaction - in a good way - people actually said to me
“What were you going there for?
They'll skin you alive.”
This sort of reputation of Mexico,
even back then,
but what are you talking about, it’s just another country.
And er,
“You'll be back.
You'll be back within weeks.
You will do.”
I mean,
I’d set up that that lovely flat.
I left it behind.
Um,
I gave most of what I had away.
It was a very iconic flat as well.
I remember it was in one of the crescents in...Yes,
Windsor Terrace
Yeah,
Windsor Terrace.
Lovely,
really lovely. I was quite happy there.
Then I threw it all away.
Threw it up in the air,
for the unknown, for the unknown,
the excitement - threw caution to the wind.
I took two suitcases, two bags, with me 
and landed in Mexico City without knowing a word of Spanish.
You're okay. So what do you do now then?
So you're a very brave man.
I'm noticing.
The obvious thing is you're a very brave man.
I think you're a pioneer in the old style.
Reckless. Reckless is the word.
Because if I may,
you landed the right way up,
as I know because you did some extraordinary projects... Most of the time it works out well,
sometimes it doesn't,
but 90% of the time,
recklessness is what gets me, and
enthusiasm.
Yes.
Which I’m sometimes criticised for...and the through line is the energy towards. The travelling from A to B in time and space - that's 
right, that’s right.
The pull towards something else rather than staying still. And also 
not knowing what's there
when you arrive. The unknown excites me.
This is what theatre is
anyway.
You start,
you start a play,
you start rehearsals.
You don’t know how it’s going to end up. Or you shouldn’t. Which I will come to later.
<br>So that's an adventure.
In time and space,
you could have been Dr Who,
now I'm realising. And while some...funnily enough, where is 
where I sit,
I look out in front of me, the valley was the location for a very famous 
Doctor Who episode, one about the end of the world.
I'm accidentally hurling all these sort of pinnacles of resonance. - You are.
We are attuned. - And indeed also you may remember I tell it,
I told you this.
But when I first met you,
you reminded me of Peter Sallis,
who, of course,
is the voice of ..... in the Ardman production of Wallace and Grommit.
I know and, funnily enough,
in Mexico,
there were three of us, as friends.
One was an Irishman called Donat - the other one was a Scotsman, another one was a Welshman,
- the other one was an American.
He was very tall and,
he looked a bit like Mick Fleetwood.
Okay.
But he had this very successful restaurant in the village that he’d built up 
over many,
many years and he was very generous and we used to go there,
and held say “Its okay.
I want you to try this and a bit of this.
Bring us this. And then we have the mescal.
And the tequila.
And I've got this.
You’ll like this one.”
And so he was the Foggy one.
Yes.
He was always organised.
He used to organise trips.
There’s this great restaurant on the edge of Cuernavaca.
where...You’re talking Last of the Summer Wine now,
aren't you?
The Last of the Summer Wine.
Yes.
Yeah,
There was him.
And so the Irishman, called Donat, who had this great phrase
But I don't know if it was his phrase or it was an Irish phrase.
Because it's a mixture of
I can't be bothered
and I can't be arsed.
He used to say “Ah, I can't bother me arse!”
I can’t bother my arse.
I love that.
“I can’t bother me arse”<br>
“I couldn’t bother me arse,<br>
So I didn't.”
And I don't know if it's a Irishism or if it's his
own thing. Of course,
He was, he was the scruffy one.
Compo,
Compo.
And I was Sallis.
Sallis.
Yes.
Sorry.
Yes.
Whatever his name was. Peter
Sallis. His character.
Peter Sallis. Yeah.
I was the sensible one.
Yeah,
in the middle of them.
So I used to say to them.
Look,
we're doing Last of the Summer Wine,
and I'd show them YouTube videos of it and I’d say to them, “Look, that’s you!”.
And as your in<br>
Mexico.
It's the Last of the Tequila,
if I may.
Absolutely, the last of last season’s&nbsp;
Mescal.
So let's bring you back into the clearing.
We’re still there.
We've got your last thing that shaped you.
Oh,
you've suddenly frozen.
Are you still there?
The quirks of Zoom,
Mr.
Cox,
I seem to have lost you in time and space.
I hope you haven't gone travelling somewhere?
What?
Oh,
you have frozen momentarily.
Not gonna lie.
We might have to stop and start so I don’t know if you can hear.
Oh,
you're back.
Hello?
Can you hear me?
Yes.
Yes,
Did<br>
you hear me all the way through that?
Or did you...?
Yeah,
I was just being very still,
So it might have looked. You're a genius.
at tableau if may say so, that was that was absolutely statuesque.
By the way, I quite enjoy the quirks of Zoom
So this is okay. &nbsp;The other thing which shaped me essentially,
I think was, to carry through this that...
the first three years of 
my sort of theatre career,
I didn't have to lift a finger.
Things happened to me.
Things connected, like an ex mime teacher from drama school&nbsp;
happened to be in Leeds to buy some velvet 
for a new suit and was bored, and thought,
I'll go to the theatre, and I was there doing Joseph and His Amazing 
Technicolour Dreamcoat.
And he thought, Oh,
I need I need somebody to work with me in opera.
Oh,
I'll ask him.
I remember him, and all those kinds of things.
Lots of doors on lubricated hinges - absolutely -
Everything &nbsp;just just opened
before me. I hardly had to do a thing and that&nbsp;
continued,
essentially,
everything came to me or it wasn't very difficult.
Things up until about 1992 
And,<br>
by the way,
sorry to interrupt you.
You're in really good company
there. I was,
speaking to John Hartoch
who is my ex acting teacher at the Old Vic theatre school,
who you may remember.
And he he told me a story about John Cleese,
where he wanted John Cleese to give advice to actors about how they forge their career.
It,
particularly in hard times,
actually, John Cleese said
I don't really know because doors have always opened for me,
and I've never stopped working,
so it's quite difficult for someone who hasn't... well


its great for them,
but it’s almost, um, you can’t follow that path because it’s rarely the case.
But then it stopped...about 1992 
which is when I was 42 that is actually bang slap 
midlife,
Yes,
and midlife does happen to everybody.
It has to be said.
And so often
you see things in the paper.
So and so fell off a cliff,
broke his back.
Bum, bum, bum, age 42.
0 God,
or 43 or 41.
And by the way,
that's so so resonated with me because I'm 58 now.
But 42.
I'm have to say this because you've mentioned that number was my absolute, what I call 
Year of the Wibble I experienced anxiety in a way that I never have.
You're absolutely right there.
.
Yeah,
And it will take many different forms.
Yes,
and,
of course,
the cure or the way out,
that’s when, you know, men run off with young women or buy a sports car.
You know the cliche of all that,
because suddenly they, “What's going on I don't understand anything.”
So to
hold onto things.
But, but I didn't reach out or anything.
I just kind of went through it.
Um and I thought,
OK,
so how how do you work if it doesn't come to you?
And I was going up for things I was absolutely perfect
for. I was going for things that I was overqualified 
for.
And not,
not
getting them.
I would literally...I could have stood in the triangle in Bristol,
naked, and not get arrested.
My next.
Yes.
And of all the actors we know, of all the actors we both know,
I'm sure everybody can relate to that.
That's in a sense when we met.
Because at that time,
that the, that the government,
uh,
wanted to, wanted to put everybody who was on 
the dole.
It’s what they’re doing now.
as well,
if you didn't get a job in your profession within six months,
you have to change your profession or they stopped it.
I think it was a six month limit.
They stop paying.
So you had to get out and do something. Else.
Yes.
Which I was very reluctant to do.
You know why they did that?
Because of PAYE
Yeah.
They wanted to put all actors all theatre, everybody on PAYE
I remember that. Schedule D.
And Equity took them to court.
Yeah,
Equity took them to court with Sam West and
his father Timothy West
Yeah,
as examples of two actors from two different generations.
Tim West was self employed with all the allowances.
Sam West had no allowances.
PAYE.
Take them off bum, bum, bum. And they lost the case.
So they thought,
right,
We'll get them
So they got us on the six months thing and they wouldn't ...Equity tried to 
negotiate.
So acting is different.
You know,
sometimes you don't get a job in six months.
Yes.
And they refused.
They said no.
Six months,
six months.
And that's why you and I ended up doing role play&nbsp;
for industry.
Yeah,
Yeah,
yeah,
And, actually,
it was casual work.
It was reasonably well paid by the day.
Although the one that we worked for
Wasn't as well
Paid as it might have been. £60 a day,
as I remember,
but it was acting.
It was actually, it was
keeping the chops going.
Yes,
it was.
And indeed it got me on,
you know,
there is that lovely thing about we do have to be adaptive and flexible in life.
So we go on, and none of us,
neither you or I,
are from the stable of people who just sit there waiting for the phone to ring.
I think proactivity, and your innate journey
manning is a way of in pulling you toward your future.
That's that,
that was the last thing that, in Mexico,
I absolutely.
I somehow it subconsciously forced myself into a 
situation where I had to work.
And the only work that was acceptable to me was theatre, either acting or 
directing.
And so I started.
I did a solo performance in English and found
there were enough people that wanted to pay, for me to do it and 
a whole new world opened up.
<br>
I performed in halls,
in theatres,
in gardens, in restaurants.
Some very kind
people would open up their house and garden for a cultural 
event,
and it kind of snowballed and I was
then able to do that, and
And then there's the organisation called The Anglo
Mexican Foundation asked me to do my first solo 
performance,
for them which I did. And was that Shakespearean 
in theme as well?
It was Indian.
It was a series of stories within stories.
Okay,
Stargazer.
It was actually the English retelling of the Arab retelling of the Sanskrit 
stories in a cycle stories of over 2000 years old,
- beautiful - and perfect because it’s just something that everybody loves. What is the name of the 
stories that they are chronically? Panchatantra.
Panchatantra.
Thank you,
Um,
but and,
And so from then that's where the Shakespeare began to blossom because I
did a solo performance about Edmund Kean,
who's the great actor of the early 1800s who 
changed the nature of British classical acting 
by being more realistic and
passionate,
and women were noted to have fainted during his performance from the 
this strength.
And he was a small man.
Only about five foot two,
but just emanating from the stage and here’s a little byway because I'm 
fascinated by the...my cat's just come in.
“Hello Edna, here we are”. Edna the pussy cat’s entered the building. Hello Edna.
She's wet.
It must be raining outside.
She's my weather forecast.
If she’s wet,<br>
I know it's raining outside. Its quite an interesting weather vane.
Oh me puss is wet.
What was talking I about. You were now talking about.
You know,
I've got a bit lost as well,
He he,<br>
So let's bring you back to the tree. Connexions. Oh connexions? Connections of history.
Because in the early 1800s,
acting was a bit like prizefighting.
Who was the best actor, who has the king of the British 
stage?
And it was Edmond Kean at the time,
but there was a was a thing
where you could challenge the king of the stage to an 
act off.
Okay!
And so the two, the challenger and the King would be on the stage...in the 
same play at the same time and the audience would decide. What, doing the 
same,
the same monologue,
same content?
No,
no, in this particular case.
Edmund
Kean was playing Othello.
Yeah,
and his challenge was playing Iago or the other way around, I can’t remember,
which.
Those were the two kind of equal,
almost equal parts in Shakespeare that you can show off in at the 
time.
And the comedian in me thinks it should be called a luvvie off or something.
But but they also do things like steal each other's light 
and that kind of thing.
Upstage.
All of that?
But the challenger was to Edmund Kean was humiliated er...
Because he made fewer women faint.
He was just, he couldn't live with the shame
So he emigrated to the United States and
became, and acted over there,
And was a very famous actor in the
United States and had children and his sons became actors and one 
of then
shot President Lincoln.
Well,
Gordon Bennett,
which wasn't the name of the man who shot the President.
If his father, Booth, hadn't 
challenged Edmund Kean and humiliated himself,
he would never have gone to the United States.
No,
He would never have had a son over there.
And Lincoln, well,
he might have been shot by somebody else,
but he certainly wouldn’t have been shot by that particular one.
So there you are, you see... So Edmund Kean not only makes people faint, women in the audience there and 
then,
but many hundreds of,
well,
many years later...is responsible for the assassination of an American president.
Now that’s impact as an actor right there,
The force of his acting.
Love that. So, so anyway,
that then led into, because I, in that 
show I did extracts from Shakespeare, as Edmund 
Kean.
Of course,
you did. Richard the third, Hamlet, and, of course, Shylock,
which was his breakthrough,
because the conceit was that this was all taking place in the dressing room 
after his great triumph as Shylock,
which actually installed him as the king of the English stage. King of the English 
stage.
Lovely. We haven’t talked about Pericles in Havana and maybe we will.
We’ll go on to that.<br>
We’ll go on to that,<br>
Because then,
um,
they wanted to do a Shakespeare Competition for teenagers in bilingual 
schools.
So they asked me because I was the only... I used to say
that I was the best British actor in Mexico.
And I'm sure...mainly because I was the only British actor in
Mexico. I was the only one!
I'm sure you were the best actor in Mexico for many reasons.
But...so they asked me to do that.&nbsp;
I remember that one day I was at the Anthropology Museum in Mexico 
City.
And I saw Jim Broadbent.
Oh,
another great actor...I very nearly went to him up and said,
“Look, out of here!”
Yes,
because he’d give you some competition...I”m the best British actor in Mexico.
And as long as you're here,
I'm only the second best.” What you could have done is slapped him about the face with your glove 
and challenge him to a Luvvie off in Mexico.&nbsp;
I know, I didn’t...I should have done because I'm sure he would 
have seen that the humour in it.
I'm sure he would.
Anyway,
I didn't.
But he could have joined your other tribe with Mick Fleetwood Compo.
So let's talk about, let’s talk about the three things.
Let's talk about three things that inspired you.&nbsp;
It was that then that Shakespeare re-entered my life in a big 
way.
It was able to work with over 1000 teenagers over the course of 15-16 
years, doing Shakespeare,
and they taught me so much and then,
and part of that, maybe travelling somewhere between A and B,
I had the idea to go to Cuba to offer a 
Shakespeare workshop for young Cuban actors, out of a sense of solidarity, because they’d been
cut off for so long and I did do that,
and that led to being asked to go and do a production there.
And various things happened over there. A lovely,
lovely through line and thread of moments in the sunshine to do with pulling you 
toward your future and lots of lots of empty space
Peter Brookness going on because you're you're forging your own empty spaces yourself. And it was the 
journey between the airport and the centre of Havana 
where I fell in love with Cuba.
It was the first time I went.
It had such an impact, even more of an impact than India had on me.
It was just “Wow.”
Yes,
What is this. I like this. So back to your six year old self as well.
Actually,
that moment of Epiphany of like Wow,
That’s right.
Yeah.
And within a week I was I was going to the shops,
And looking at prices,
and thinking okay,
because my pension was about to arrive, I was about to be
65.
Could I live here on my pension and continuing working in 
Mexico?
But within a few days,
I was actually seriously considering it because, wow,
like Mexico had run its course after 18 years or
whatever, and then...And also it seems you've had lots of places in your 
life's journey where you've had soul chimes and connexions to where you are.
Um,
it's I'd rather say that I’ve had places that I’ve
felt comfortable and that I should be.
I'm saying the same thing in that I know you've qualified.
how I say that...I want to pull it down.
Pull it down.
Yes,
sure,
Sure.
No.
Nice&nbsp;
clarification.
I am potentially the biggest space cadet you will ever meet.
So I have to ground myself.
Away from that.
So I'll try and find a real life explanation.
Okay?
Rather a soul chime,
which, of course, is absolutely correct.
But it needs, for me,
I need to ground it.
Yes.
So sensitive.
Otherwise I’ll float off the planet.
So a sense of belonging.
Yes.
By the way, I'm loving this because this is about flying your kite and you're doing a majestic Kite
wearing.
It's wonderful,
but I also now want to ground it back to the structure. We’ve done four things that have shaped you.
And<br>
now,
if we could talk about three things that inspire you. You've been giving me that anyway 
and ask that, those that are listening.
Okay?
I think, in general, I have a need to be 
stimulated.
So stimulation.
Yeah,
Can be intellectual,
visual.
So I'm stimulated by words.
I'm stimulated by music.
I'm stimulated by the combination of words and music.
I'm stimulated by film,
some television, architecture,
and so 
I'm not bored, ever.
And within that, the invention of 
the iPad,
I think is a wondrous thing that changed my life 
because all the stimulation, information,
everything I need.
Yes,
Is there, in this thing that I'm talking to on.
Yes.
And,<br>
you know,
it's the curiosity that I have.
My father would have loved an iPad. He died,
you know,
too long ago for it to.
You didn’t really have proper laptops or anything.
But he used to sit and watch in his seventies,
used to sit and watch,
CEEFAX,<br>
and teletext of an afternoon.
He knew all the page numbers by heart.
Yes,
because he wanted the information.
He liked that way of passing the time.
he would have loved this.
If you could travel in time,
you would go back in time to show your father an iPad.
Absolutely, I would do.
But can you remember the times when you still...you know who's that actor on television?
What's his name?
What's he been?
I've seen him in something.
What is it?
What was it?
And now you just go.
IMDb, dum dum,
dum,
dum,
dum, all the information and to look anything up.
or homework,<br>
it was like a library or Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Yes,
yes.
It was a huge effort and now,
suddenly it's all here.
Yes,
true.
I think it's absolutely a wondrous thing. That,
plus the Internet.
Of course they get misused,
of course,
but if you use them properly,
what a fantastic tool we have.
It also links beautifully to your first moment of like realisation when you saw the 
the black West Indian gentleman who then opened up your world to a vista of possibility.
So it’s like the world's opening and, of course, the internet is just another world that opens up of new 
difference and shininess.
In essence,
Its the same thing.
But what I was saying before I went on to the ipad...Oh yes,
yes,
it's It's like stimulation and curiosity.
I’m intensely curious.
Yes,
Which is why it’s wonderful.
If I think, well,
what is the origin of this word?
I can look it up.
Yes,
I can do it.
I can.
I spend a lot of the day just trying to discover 
things that I don't know,
because I’m curious,
and,
I suppose,
a curiosity about other countries, other cultures.
Yes,
that's, that’s a running theme.
So, and also what inspires me are
non-professional performers.
That's clear from where you forged your path as well. Two of the best things 
I've ever seen.
One was in a village in Ireland,
down the end of a country lane.
Outside of Tralee. I was there doing a workshop 
for the grandly named National Folk Theatre of Ireland,
which was actually like a summer tourist attraction 
where they have this is awful set of a thatched cottage and did Irishy
things and it was run by Father Pat,
who was a priest and, in his spare time,
not related to Postman Pat...Father Pat...
He’d just got this group of young actors that he wanted to have on
a permanent basis.
And he wanted to somehow modernise what he was doing.
But the point of this story is that he had a play 
that he’d done, completely non professionals, about the 
founding of Lourdes,
in this village,
that’s it, it was called Knocknagoshel
Knocknawho ?
Knocknagoshel.
Knocknagoshel,<br>
Knocknagoshel.<br>
Okay,
if you look it out,
Knocknagoshel is on the south side of Tralee.
And he did this, and it was such a success they had charabangs 
coming down from Belfast.
All the way,
the village, this lane, this country lane was filled with chip 
vans...quick, get the chips in!
They used to do it every weekend,
he said “Ah now boys,
I think,
this might be the last week. I’ll do it to the end of the month,
and I think we'll stop it then, so come and see it.“
So we went<br>
and there were charabangs and the chip vans,
full houses,
“Ah well,<br>
I think I'll do it a little bit longer now.”
Yes,
there's a really delicious irony there. It is a delicious irony in in the whole quest of going to Lourdes,of the pilgrims to Lourdes

and the chip van charabangs all come down. It was absolutely wonderful, and there were lots of short scenes.
And there was no acting skill at all, and in fact,
acting skill would have got in the way.
They were just telling the story of the founding of Lourdes.
Yeah,
and the audience.p,
They were wide eyed and they did an extraordinary thing.
At the end of every scene,
they clapped briefly in unison. So the scene would end 
and they would go, literally, like this. It was wonderful and I just thought,
this is the power of theatre...and there's something there about it being quirky,
different, unusual,
trailblazing, on the cutting edge.
Absolutely.
And I'm not sure
Peter Brook
would have understood it somehow,
and then maybe,
but he certainly couldn't have reproduced it.
Yes,
And the,&nbsp;<br>
my other favourite one was the Friendly Wives 
Group in Looe, called The Looe
Friendly Wives doing a pantomine.
And as they're friendly wives,
that what better name for a company?
Because they friendly.
You're gonna like them.
They're friendly.
It was all women,
and it was just wonderful, the joy that
they had, the absolute joy that they had in doing 
it...the simplicity of storytelling is in there as well.
Oh! Wonderful.
And,
of course,
all women.
The best Shakespeare I have ever seen was in Helsinki 
by an all women group doing the Wars of the Roses.
Wow!
Which is,
you know,
the cut down Henry Sixth parts
1, 2, 3, cut down to about an hour and a half,
two hours,
maybe two hours.
And they call themselves Raging Roses or whatever the Finnish is for Raging
Roses, what&nbsp;
they called him themselves. Something else
you can conjure.
I love that. Nearly all the actresses in Helsinki were in it
and they've been doing it for quite a while, a number of years,
On and off.
By the way, I have to manage time for us both as well,
because it's that we're now way we could speak for hours.
It is beautiful.
Okay,
So anyway,
&nbsp;it was just It was in an old factory with sand on the floor,
and it was absolutely joyous and wonderful and
illuminating absolutely.
illuminating.
So the last one?
Yep.
We're on to...we’re on to two things that have two things that never failed 
to grab your attention.
Okay,
again,
it's it's kind of non-professionals 
acting. Lovely. Because you have quite a lot of 
communities, and
my theory is that you don't teach
people how to act.I think drama school is a space to practise in. You don’t&nbsp;
teach it,
You get it or you don't.
And eventually,
after a lot of practise - bong - oh!
You get it and the light bulb goes on.<br>
I don't even be taught.
So I refuse to teach non-professionals. All you do is explain the 
situation,
what’s happening,
here are<br>
the words, speak them.
Yes,
and by the way,
said you refuse to teach non-professionals.
You mean you refuse to teach professionals?
Is what you mean,
isn't it?
No.
Either non-professionals or professionals.
Oh,
you feel they can’t be taught.
No,
no, in community situations,
professionals
think they have to teach.
Oh,
yes,
yes.
These people don't know anything about it.
They know everything about it.
It's just the, it’s the unlocking.
Yes,
I love that. The muscle to be... Yes and and and I think if you 
teach,
you destroy, because then you get into amateur dramatics.
And my observations of lot of most amateur dramatics is 
about imitating professionals.
Right?<br>
yes,
to be....or the worst kind of it.
Yes,
I'm relay wanting...
I'm really wanting to anchor it now because we...So,
so what inspires me?
Mexican teenagers doing Shakespeare. Lovely.
They never fail to grab your attention we’re up to...who know nothing about it
whatsoever and over the course of workshops and do de do 
they get it and they illuminate it to me.
And I love the accent.
For example,
there’s is a line in the...er...
To...
What's the one with the Twins...A Comedy
of Errors,
A Comedy of Errors.<br>
The two Dromios,
...and there’s confusion and she says to the 
wrong guy, she says,
“Go comfort my sister.”
So in Mexico,
this this sort of 17 year old,
she comes on and she says,
“Go, comfort my seester”
And...beautiful...everything within that, the
pleading, everything went through those words.
Yes.
Whereas “Go Comfort
my sister” does nothing.
Yes.
“Go,<br>
comfort
my sister.”
Beautiful,
lovely, the music, the tone...moments like that.
you go, “Well,
that's you say the line.”
Yes, and its perfect....It is...Yes.
So there was so many times over so many years
that just... It was a joy.
It was just - professionals,
Bye bye.
Lets the people speak - for me.
One quirky or unusual fact about you, Stuart Cox, we couldn't possibly know until you tell us.
This is especially for you.
In 1966... I was four...
I was the Halifax Youth League Table Tennis Doubles 
Champion.
Oh,
Stuart Cox.
We've never played ping pong together, you're in...
you’ve been hiding in the tree.
I'm sorry.
I'm sorry.
I was in a table tennis league.
Yeah,
and it's table tennis is not ping pong.
It’s table tennis. Let's be clear,
but bring it on, some day will make a point.
You’re the Halifax...so give your title against Halifax.
Halifax,
Youth League Table Tennis Doubles Champion, and
the wonderful thing about this was that there was a singles competition.
I didn't get that far in it.
Um,
but they, to to pair you up they
pulled your names out of a hat.
And I was paired with this guy.
Who
I don't know what you call it now, in those days
it was deaf and dumb.
He was deaf,
he was deaf and mute.
We could not communicate verbally at all.
We didn't practise together just “Right,
you’re up against them.”
We clicked so perfectly - our individual 
styles - we were beating like the winner of the singles.
Wow,
You were beating people that were far better than us individually.
Yes.
I mean,
the day, just, we kept winning and winning and we won the final. And it 
was...
...and I never saw him again.
By the way,
that's just the beauty of partnership and the nature of ensemble,
actually,
the greater....the sum of the parts better than the
sum of the individuals.
And it was a complete accident.
The names out of a hat.
Bum, we did it.
And we just intuitively worked together 
as a team.
And we won the damn thing.
...A perfect double act.
I love that.
Yes,
it was, it was lovely...never saw him again.
But it was a perfect moment of time.
Yeah,
I've got a newspaper
clipping of it, as well.
I've also got the shield,
but I couldn't find it.
So you were going to show......? A moment of table tennis
Ping pong,
porn, just for me there.
Thank you very much. I love that.
I’ll send you a photo of it.
I'd love that.
I'll add it to the sort of sort of notes for the podcast.
So, I’ve gone on and on, haven’t I?
Well, it's been really juicy and lovely and full of what we need.
But now I'm just going to go a tiny bit faster.
Moving away from the clearing tree
now we're going to now just get you to tell us about alchemy and gold,
which,
by the way,
you've been implying all the way through.
What is the alchemy and gold that you, Stuart Cox, director, trailblazer, always like to bring in the life’s work you’ve decided to apply yourself to all this time.
Never,
never look to the end product.
I...I have a real problem with theatre 
directors that have tantrums,
shout and scream and tell the actors because it's so important...
This is such an important...
Go to...
No,
it's not.
It's not.
The way that you get somewhere is why it will be 
good.
The journey towards,
Yeah.
If you have a wonderful rehearsal,
Jeff,
everyone's happy and having a good time.
How can the audience not have a good time when you share that with them?
I love that,
so not to make it precious,
but to make it precious in the journey,
The opposite of precious.
But the journey itself, of itself, is precious because that's where the gold happens...
...even if it's a tragedy,
have a good time doing it.
It's a through line.
There's a golden thread and a through line throughout our conversation,
where you are just talking about alchemy and gold of the journey toward, its the journeying towards...
...absolutely...where the magic happens...and so to finish off what I wish to leave 
behind.
This is your cake moment
Where you’re going to get a cherry on the cake.
The legacy of the conversation.<br>
This is it,
and this is a poem by a Greek poet called
CP Cavafy...CP Caffafy...
C A V A
F
Y
In a translation by Edmund Keeley,
and it's called Ithaka,
which is the destination for Odysseus.
On his journey back from the Trojan War to his wife,
Penelope,
and it took him 10 years,
because he kept getting distracted.
But...so the poem’s called Ithaka. As you set out for&nbsp;
Ithaka, hope your road is a long one, full of adventure,
full of discovery.
Laistrygonians,<br>
Cyclops, angry Poseidon
- don't be afraid of them:
you'll never find things like that on your way,
as long as you keep your thoughts raised high, as long as a rare
excitement stirs your spirit and your body.
Laistrygonians,
Cyclops, wild Poseidon - you won't encounter them unless you bring them 
along inside your soul, unless you're soul sets them up in front of you.
Hope your road is a long one.
May there be many summer mornings when, with what pleasure,
what joy, you enter harbours you're seeing for the first time;
may you stop at
Phoenician trading stations to buy fine things,
mother of pearl and coral, amber and ebony, sensual perfume of 
every kind - as many sensual perfumes as you can; and may you 
visit many Egyptian cities to learn and go on
learning from their scholars. Keep Ithaka always in your mind.
Arriving there is what you're destined for.
But don't hurry the journey at all. Better if it lasts for years,
so you're old by the time you reach the island, wealthy 
with all you've gained on the way.
not expecting Ithaka to make you rich.
Ithaka gave you the marvellous journey. Without her you wouldn't have set out.
She has nothing left to give you now.
And if you find her poor Ithaka won't have fooled you.
Wise as
you will have become, so full of experience,
you'll have understood by then
what
these<br>
Ithakas mean. So here I am, at the age of 
70 arriving at my Ithaca in
Wales. Stuart Cox.
Lovely&nbsp;
Journeyman.
I just think that was just such a beautiful,
perfect cherry on the cake.
finish to our conversation.
So you've been listening to Stuart Cox on the Good listening To podcast. Thanks, Stuart,
for blessing us with your presence here in the clearing.
It's been really fantastic talking to you.
Thank you for the opportunity.
I like to talk.
You’re a lovely
man.
Thank you so much.
And...Thank you,
Chris.
Good night.

Intro
Meeting Stuart
The Clearing
Shaking the Tree
Alchemy and Gold
Cherry on the Cake
Outro