Final word INTERVIEW

Trevor Payne, creator of That'll Be The Day show

Trevor Payne, creator of That'll Be The Day show - Credit: Archant

This year the longest touring variety show in Britain celebrates 35 years on the road this summer.

That’ll Be The Day, featuring smash hits from the 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s, along with impressions and comedy sketches, is rewritten every year to keep the performances fresh and the audiences coming back. It is one of the most popular shows to regularly appear at the Weston Playhouse, so how fitting that it was the last venue the show was performed at before social restrictions stopped it in its tracks. That sell out show was on March 14. The after show party was a hoot, but little did the cast and crew know that it would be the last time they would all be together for months. Their next performance was scheduled for the following week but it didn’t happen. The shutters came down on live theatre and put the production, like so many others, in limbo.

Tracey Fowler talked to Trevor Payne the show’s writer, producer and director, who also performs in the show.

How are you feeling about your enforced break?

“It’s definitely weird not travelling up and down the motorways, interacting with our audiences in the theatre and not going near a Premier Inn!

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We played our last show at the Playhouse in Weston on March 14. We were due to play two shows in Crewe the following Wednesday and Thursday but the prime minister had by then announced a halt on public gatherings in places including theatres, so everything stopped. We’d had an after show party and had had a lot of fun but little did we know that it would be the last time we would all be together for months. I’m guessing the next performance is still a good while off.”

Are the cast and crew keeping in touch with each other during the lock down?

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“Yes we all keep in touch with each other and I’m relieved to say that so far none of our cast, crew or their families have been directly affected by the virus. Thanks to social media we have been able to keep in touch with our fans too. The whole cast is contributing and our fans are very appreciative; we’re getting a big response, one short video on our Facebook page from Gary has had more than 250,000 views!”

How are you spending your time?

“I think we are all using the break to do stuff we have been talking about doing for ages and have never got round to doing. I’m writing a book from the beginning of my career back in the sixties through to now and (when it arrives) the 35th anniversary of That’ll Be The Day. I’ve been sorting some ten thousand photographs I’ve collected over the years.”

Are you eager to start performing again as soon as you are permitted?

“Like everyone else, we’re not certain when we will perform again. I think we will have to see confidence return, both economic and health, before people think about buying theatre tickets. We will also need a run in period to promote any shows because all our publicity material will be out of date. One thing’s for certain though, when the curtain goes up again, we will all be ready and waiting! In the meantime, we wish everyone good health and look forward to seeing everybody again soon.” n

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