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    Starting on 19th May, the Arts Theatre are introducing a new series, Face to Face at the Arts - monthly exclusive interviews with Fiona Lindsay talking to leading show business names.  Alistair McGowan, Alison Steadman and Sir Michael Parkinson are amongst the confirmed guests for future dates.

    Kicking of the series of live interviews is actor Stephen Mangan.  He is a keen supporter of Tottenham Hotspur FC and has followed the England Cricket Team around the world watching their matches. Enjoys playing poker, ran the London Marathon in 1999 in 3 hours 30 minutes and has achieved Grade 5 on the piano!

    Stephen Mangan was born to Irish parents in Winchmore Hill, North London in 1972. He attended Haileybury College, Hertfordshire and despite appearing in school plays there, he never imagined he could be an actor. "It wasn't an option as far as I could tell. I'd have put it in a category with astronaut or jockey." Therefore, after having a gap year in the United States, he went on to study Law at Gonville and Caius College Cambridge University, where his fellow students included Rachel Weisz, Sam Mendes, Jonathan Cake and Tom Hollander. He knew within two days of university that he didn't want to be a lawyer and spent most of his time taking part in drama productions, starring in 23 overall. After university, he took a year out to nurse his mother, Mary, who was dying of cancer. Weeks after her death, feeling he had nothing to lose, he auditioned for the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and successfully won a place. "To get into somewhere like that was a seal of approval. It was no longer that you made someone laugh in a school play or you were funny to your mates." He graduated from RADA in July 1994 and did not pursue lead roles on screen, preferring to take what he saw as more limitless opportunities on the stage. "I refused to do anything but theatre when I first left RADA. Theatre is the actor's medium, film is the director's medium and on television the writer is're not being typecast or held to ransom by how you look."

    He spent several years in regional theatre, playing in classics such as The Tempest, Twelfth Night and Hamlet, and his successful seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the touring company Cheek By Jowl earned him a nomination for the Ian Charleson award for his roles as Sir Benjamin Backbite in The School for Scandal and Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing. He became a regular face in London's West End in plays such as Hay Fever and Noises Off, but 2001 marked his breakthrough TV role as the eponymous character in the six-part BBC TV adaptation of Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years. He is now probably best known for his role as Dr. Guy Secretan in the TV comedy series Green Wing, a character who was voted 34th in Channel 4's The World's Greatest Comedy Characters. Steve has gone on to play a number of similarily self-obsessed characters on film such as Sean Sullivan in Festival and Josef in Confetti, a film which was wholly improvised. "If you enjoy doing things by the seat of your pants, not knowing what's going to come out of the other actors' mouths, it's fantastic."

    He was highly praised for his role as Norman in the revival of Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests at the Old Vic Theatre in 2009 and took the role to Broadway receiving a Tony award nomination as Best Actor.  Currently he is most well known for starring in British/American sitcom Episodes as Sean Lincoln co-starring with Matt Le Blanc aka Joey from Friends and Tamsin Greig.  The show premiered on BBC2 on 11th January 2011.

    Prepare for an hour of candour, cocktails and comedy as Fiona Lindsay talks to Stephen Mangan.

    Fiona Lindsay is a highly experienced arts interviewer and broadcaster, with a portfolio of work that spans radio and major literary festivals.  Demonstrating a rare mix of warm charm and gentle provocation, Fiona has interviewed some of the world's most eminent actors, artists, designers and musicians and shows a dynamic creative energy that allows access into very private worlds.

    Book Face to Face at the Arts tickets online now.

    [posted by Louise, 20/04/2011]

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