Portsmouth theatre's Comic Con draws a crowd in fundraising bid

IT WAS an out of this world experience at The Groundings Theatre at the weekend as favourite movie and television characters descended on the historic site to lend their support.

Monday, 30th July 2018, 9:07 am
Updated Monday, 30th July 2018, 10:09 am
Back to the Future with Ben Irish, John Mclaverty and Margaret James at Groundlings Theatre. Picture: Keith Woodland

People got a peek into weird and wonderful worlds with Comic Con inspiring fans from all generations who were transported to another dimension.

A jam-packed extravaganza gave people an opportunity to meet a selection of actors and industry professionals who have featured in films ranging from Gladiators to Star Wars.

People embraced the all singing and dancing event by dressing up and even taking part in their own Star Wars scene where there was a special interactive set. 

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Starry-eyed individuals also had the chance to see how virtual reality and motion capture was created, as well as having the chance to have their photo taken with actors while wearing props and costumes and Tobias Robinson, theatre manger, explained the site needs funding of £750,000 to get it into shape or risk seeing the popular venue  fall into disrepair. '˜It was built in 1784 and is a grade two listed building and needs a lot of work to get it up to scratch so we're hoping doing events like this will help us raise much needed funds to keep it going,' he said.

'˜We're very proud of the work we do here. Our director Richard Stride has been in films like Star Wars whilst we also have a lot of young talent. It's a unique place and we build all our own products and sets for our performances.'

Volunteer actor John McLaverty, playing '˜The Doc' from Back to the Future, said: '˜Great Scott. Save our beautiful theatre.'

Dudley Meredith, 74, and the longest serving actor volunteer who has had parts in films Mary Poppins and The Crucible of Terror, said: '˜It is the oldest theatre in the country and has so much history about it. Queen Victoria visited here and Charles Dickens' mum went into labour here before giving birth to him.'

Ben Irish, 13, playing Marty McFly from Back to the Future said he was delighted to recently be signed up by an acting agency. '˜I've started to get a few auditions and hope to have my first part soon,' he said.

Actor Matthew Dale, who played a red Jedi priest in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, said: '˜It was great playing the part, though being trapped in a hot suit for 14 hours a day was not easy. My character was trying to bring peace to the world. Hopefully we can help the theatre. I hope to be here next year for the panto.'