Before Paul had reached the age of 10 he had persuaded his Dad to extend the garden shed and convert it into a theatre! The Little Hut Theatre had lights, a sound system and a full set of tabs! Shows would be rehearsed for weeks before everyone in the neighbourhood was dragged in to see it!
At the age of 10 Paul was asked by his teacher, Miss Kyte, to go with a group of classmates to sell programmes for Ripley and Alfreton Operatic Society’s production of Guys and Dolls. Anne Kyte was a brilliant pianist who could inspire even the most “tone deaf” person to sing! She was RAOS’s MD. After watching the show every night for a week Paul was hooked on Musical Theatre!
Having taken bit parts in school productions and sung in various choruses Paul turned his attention to working backstage for the Gateway Theatre Company at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield as both Assistant Stage Manager and Deputy Stage Manager on “the book”.
However, it was at the Methodist Chapel in Shirland, Derbyshire that Paul honed his skills as MD and Conductor. From his early teens he played the organ and conducted the gathered Choir.
With a lot of support and prayers from friends at Chapel, Paul eventually moved to King Alfred’s College, Winchester to study for a degree in Music and Education and conducted his first stage musical: Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Paul then worked as a Butlins’ Redcoat before entering the teaching profession in Nottingham. In his time as a teacher he MD’d shows in both Nottingham and Australia while on a years’ exchange programme!
After a few years of teaching Paul felt a call to the Methodist ministry. His first appointment was in Durham where from 2001 to 2008 he served as the Minister at North Road, Bear Park, Langley Park and Witton Gilbert Churches. In his time in the North East Paul MD’d for South Shields Musical Productions and Sunderland Amateur Operatic Society.
Paul became Musical Director for DMTC following the retirement of George Hetherington in the spring of 2005 and Musically Directed Titanic, Company, Gigi and Mack and Mabel.
In 2008 Paul was ‘sent to Coventry’ where he was the Minister at Coventry Central Hall. He handed the DMTC baton to his friend Stephen Hood. In the Midlands Paul spent the majority of his musical time on the production of Singing the Faith and Singing the Faith Piano Accompaniments, the hymn collection of the Methodist Church. He only had the opportunity to conduct one show in his time away Billy Elliot Youth Production for the Julie Bromage Theatre Company.
Paul now lives and works in London, working at Methodist Church House in a Monday to Friday job! This has enabled him to accept the invitation to return to DMTC for Fred Wharton’s 50th production.
Paul says: “It’s great to be back working with DMTC; not only because it is well known in the North East for the quality of its music as well as its production values, but because it’s like coming home. It’s also wonderful to be working again with some of the best freelance musicians in the North East, both in rehearsals and performing in the Orchestra!”
Paul wants to thank Martin Dack for all his hard work holding the music together when he’s not in rehearsals.