My Weekend: Richard Stride

Richard Stride

Richard Stride

Stuart Piper with his wife Debbie and children Megan, 10, and 12-year-old Abigail  Picture: Sarah Standing (170385-8300)

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Richard Stride, 40, is artistic director of Groundlings Theatre in Portsmouth and acts in its shows. The theatre also runs a drama school and offers venue and costume hire.

When did you last go away and where did you go?

I went to Florence which is absolutely lovely. I loved the culture and the food, it lived up to what I expected.

What was the last gig/concert you went to?

It was the Jigantics who were here at Groundlings. I stuck around and had a look as it’s free. I really enjoyed it, I thought they were great.

What about the last theatre show you saw?

It was One Man, Two Guvnors at the National Theatre in London. It was absolutely amazing. The sheer comedy makes it one of the best shows around. I was in hysterics.

What was the last book you read?

It was about a Titanic survivor whose name was Violet Jessop. She was a stewardess who actually survived the sinking of not only the Titanic but also the Britannic, and was on their sister Olympic when that was in

a collision. She wrote about her experiences of life at sea and it’s an incredible story.

And the last film you saw at the cinema or on DVD?

It was Thor. I thought it was going to be a load of rubbish but actually it was really good, very entertaining, the acting wasn’t bad and the special effects were really good.

What’s your favourite way to relax?

I love being on the beach in the sun. Failing that I love a spa.

What do you watch on TV?

Downton Abbey, I watch it all the time.

And which TV programmes do you avoid?

The X Factor drives me potty. I think it’s the fact that before they get to meet the judges, they’ve auditioned and even though they’re awful and think they’re amazing, they’re put before the judges and an audience just for entertainment.

Which celeb would you most like to spend a weekend with?

Alec Guinness , if we don’t have to select people who are alive. I think he was such an amazing performer and I would liked to have learned from him. Or maybe Cate Blanchett (right), she’s one of my idols. I think she’s a phenomenal actress.

If you’re cooking, what’s your signature dish?

A chicken pasta. Cooking isn’t one of my favourite things, I have to say.

Where’s good for a day out?

Wardour Castle, it’s in Wiltshire. It’s such a romantic looking setting, it’s fabulous. We have done a lot of open air Shakespeare and we all say it’s one of our favourite places. Everyone in the cast loves it.

Do you have any hobbies?

Sword fighting and stage combat. I’ve run classes and also attend them to brush up on my skills. That and parachuting, although I haven’t done that for a couple of years. I did it at first because I was scared and thought it would me good for me to get over my fear of heights. It was terrifying but I also loved it and did it for about 20 years.

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