Drawing: Toby Jones in Circle Mirror Transformation

Toby Jones

The Royal Court Theatre has, an ‘Open Court’ Programme which takes theatre to the “less-heeled parts of London” as critic Dominic Cavandish likes to call them. One such foray was to the Rose Lipman Building in Haggerston, a former library turned arty community centre on the fringes of Shoreditch, Islington and Dalston.

It was the late Autumn of 2013 when Annie Baker’s quirky comedy about drama-therapy sessions CIRCLE MIRROR TRANSFORMATION had its U.K. premiere, featuring, among others Imelda Staunton and Toby Jones. I had drawn a sketch of Toby as J.M.M Turner in THE PAINTER when it premiered in the same part of town at the Arcola Theatre in 2011 and had hoped to get it signed by stalking him at the Haggerston venue.

To justify the intrusion and for a bit of pictorial therapy l did this quick rendering of him and Imelda in rehearsal. Toby would relate to this I thought. Years before he became well-known for everything from HITCHCOCK to THE HUNGER GAMES and the House Elf,  Dobby in HARRY POTTER, he had a small bit part as the stalker of Julia Roberts’ character in NOTTING HILL, begging her for an autograph in a cafe. He was so convincing as a creepy fan that even security stopped him on his way to the set. The scene, however  ended up on the cutting room floor, but he did turn it into a play called MISSING REEL which received warm reviews at the Edinburgh Fringe three years later, ending with footage from his unused cameo.

Back to story. The out-of-the-way Rose Lipman Building proved just that. I couldn’t find it, got lost and ran out of time, so resorted to posting the drawings.After some months past I figured the postman didn’t find it either. Then they arrived, both signed along with a graphed 5 x7 and a nice note apologising for the lengthy delay, but he had only just received them. The Royal Mail are more persistent than me.


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