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'An Actor Arrives at the Bristol Old Vic' has as its origins the barest elements of a story started but never finished in early 1980, while I was working at the Bristol Old Vic playing the minute part of Mustardseed in a much praised production of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. It was originally rescued in 2006 from a battered notebook in which I habitually scribbled during spare moments offstage while clad in my costume and covered in blue body make-up and silvery glitter. And while doing so, some of the glitter was transferred from the pages with which they were stained more than a quarter of a century previously onto my eerie experience indeed.

An Actor Arrives at the Bristol Old Vic

Def._2015_36_by Carl Halling21 Apr 2016

I remember the grey slithers of rain,
The jocular driver
As I boarded the bus
At Temple Meads,
And the friendly lady who told me
When we had arrived at the city centre.
I remember the little pub on King Street,
With its quiet maritime atmosphere.

I remember tramping
Along Park Street,
Whiteladies Road and Blackboy Hill,
My arms and hands aching from my bags,
To the little cottage where I had decided to stay
And relax between rehearsals,
Reading, writing, listening to music.
I remember my landlady, tall, timid and beautiful.