David Holmes rounds up the latest stars who support our campaign to Bring Back The Gateway
‘JAMES Bond’ is backing the mission to open the doors of The Gateway once again.
Sir Roger Moore, who was evacuated to Chester during the war and is a former resident of Heswall, is already behind the campaign to reopen the Chester Odeon as a cinema.
Speaking from New York, where he is promoting his autobiography, Sir Roger, who now lives in Monte Carlo and Switzerland, said: “Having started my career treading the boards, I love theatre. I know, too, the value of regional theatres to communities, actors and stage workers. I am saddened to hear that the Gateway stands empty and can but hope this campaign will help see it in action once again. I’m available for work offers!”
nLikely Lad Rodney Bewes starred in Billy Liar at the Gateway in its second ever production in 1968 and at the end of its life in Three Men in a Boat in October 2006.
He said: “It’s the only theatre I know where the scenery door is located on the third floor! When I did Three Men In A Boat with a 26ft antique boat, it was hoisted up by a crane. Chester has a great tradition of theatre, it would be so sad to let it slip away.”
Fellow Likely Lad James Bolam, starred in the Gateway’s first ever production in November 1968, The Double Case History of Dr Valmy by Antonio Buero-Vallejo.
nBritish-Indian actor Roshan Seth OBE – who has starred in Ghandi and Indiana Jones & The Temple of Doom – began his career at The Gateway where, in 1972, he performed in Bernard Shaw’s Misalliance.
He said: “Chester without a theatre is like Chester without Brown’s or the Rows. There is not a prettier city in all of Cheshire than Chester.
“The people of Chester would lose my respect if they got rid of their theatre.”
Seth was working as an editor and journalist in India when Sir Richard Attenborough asked him to play Pandit Nehru in Gandhi (1982).
Seth has also appeared in George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom (1984) and David Lean’s A Passage to India (1984).
His subsequent film credits include Mississippi Masala (1992), Street Fighter (1994), and The Journey (1997).
nLiverpool playwright Willy Russell, who created Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine, said: “I was very sorry indeed to learn that the regeneration scheme, with its plans for a new performing arts centre in Chester, has stalled.
“Given the delay in the proposed regeneration, surely the Gateway which is, after all, still intact, could be put to a few more years good use.”
Russell’s play Breezeblock Park is currently being staged by Tip Top in The Forum Studio Theatre, part of the Gateway building.