Oscar winner Jeremy Irons had previously signed a sketch for me when he played the lead role in Chris Hampton’s adaption of EMBERS at the Duke of York’s Theatre in 2006.
Expecting a similar result I waited at the Hampstead Theatre one Saturday afternoon to catch him going in for a performance of THE GODS WEEP – an update of the King Lear saga by Dennis Kelly. The Hampstead has a number of entrances and exits, providing a challenge for the ‘siggy stalker.’
Alas, I missed him, so left the sketch with a suitable note and a stamped reply envelope at the stage door. I received the drawing back a few days later, unsigned with a message from Jeremy’s PA. It said that Mr Irons would be happy to sign it if I made a donation to the Prison Phoenix Trust which offers yoga, meditation and books to prisoners. He suggested £15 would be an appropriate amount.
I duly sent the sketch back with the recommended contribution and it arrived back signed and dedicated along with a thank you for the donation. A couple of weeks later, Jeremy was attending an opening night in the West End with his wife Sinead Cusack and signed some autographs… for free!
Illusionist, painter, writer, showman and sceptic, Derren Brown signed my sketch after a performance of his Olivier Award winning ‘Svengali’ at the Novello Theatre in London. He is one of the nicest entertainers – very engaging with the fans at the stage door. He seemed genuinely interested in everyone and was in no rush as he signed autographs and posed for photos… then again he did hypnotise half of the audience! So, I checked the next day and the drawing was indeed signed and inscribed for me!
Before Anne Hathaway entertained everyone with her nipples while winning her Oscar, she signed my drawing at the Les Misérables premiere in London. She was a real autograph trooper, the only one in the cast to go around all the public in the drop off area, especially as there’s not much too her and it was very cold! Not to mention that she didn’t have much hair at the time…
Back in 2010 Richard Briers was in National Assurance at the National Theatre in London. As well as being performed on stage it was screened live in theatres around the world and for the courtyard at the National (where I was). At the end of the play the cast all came out to do a curtain call for the people in the courtyard, before quickly disappearing back inside again to do the curtain call for the people in the actual theatre.
Richard was, understandably, a little slower than the others and the staff at the National were eager to tell us all that there would be no autographs. I was pushed out of the way by them as they were eager to get him back to the stage ASAP. However, he saw my drawing and insisted that “as this gentleman has taken the time to draw me I will take the time to sign it for him”. Very kind man.