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Interview with Giles Cooper

A heartfelt, hysterical, and sharp-witted comedy, Steve seamlessly integrates the highs and lows of getting older, long-term friendships, monogamy, saying goodbye and being alive, the European premiere comes to a brand-new theatre in London: Seven Dials Playhouse.  We got to speak to one of the cast, Giles Cooper who plays Brian about the poignant piece and the new theatre.

How did you get into acting, was there a particular performance you saw that resonated with you?

I started acting in school plays and as soon as I twigged I could do it as a career that was it. I remember going to see plays at my local theatre and once the RSC came with A Midsummer Night’s Dream – the famous one with umbrellas and door frames.  The final scene of Pyramus and Thisbe had me crying with laughter. I couldn’t breathe it was so funny. That had such an impact on me. HOW did those actors make me react like that? And with Shakespeare?? I was hooked.

Where did you train?

I trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London (before it was Royal).

Can you tell us about your current, project: Steve what drew you to the piece?

Steve is a play about relationships, friendships, love, sex and death in the LGBTQI+ community in New York. It’s a snapshot of a group of friends who are getting on with their lives in that bubble of time after gay marriage was legalised in the US but before Trump and Covid appeared. 

Giles Cooper Courtesy of Seven Dials Playhouse
2 Giles Cooper, Michael Walters, David Ames and Joe Aaron Reid rehearse Steve. Credit Richard Lakos from The Other Richard

What drew me to the project? 

A cast and creative team from heaven, a glorious script from Mark Gerrard and a new venue in the West End!

Is there a message you want people to take away from the show? 

We are all trying to get through this thing called life. Electric word, life. It’s means forever and that’s a mighty long…no, sorry, that’s Prince. BUT he does have a point. I think Steve exemplifies how we’re all trying to get through…something. We’re all just bumbling along really. Trying not to f**k it up.

 Steve is being performed in a new theatre: Seven Dials Playhouse and is the European premiere. How does that feel to be part of this exciting new venue?

It’s very exciting. There aren’t many spaces in the heart of the West End that are able to champion new writing. Spaces like this are so important for the ecosystem of live performance. A place for new voices to be heard and talent to be seen.

What has been your favourite role you have played and why?

Playing food writer Nigel Slater in Toast was a huge challenge. I was onstage throughout the two-hour show which included cooking a meal from scratch.

What is the most rewarding thing about your job?

Taking audiences out of their worlds for a couple of hours and telling them a good story. Chatting to audiences after a show can be surprisingly overwhelming and/or humbling.

Who are your influences and inspirations? 

I’m inspired by people who are just really good at what they do. Actors, writers, directors, casting directors, stage managers, wardrobe assistants…. you name it. If someone is passionate and talented about the work, they do then that’s a real turn on for me.

Is there a role you would love to play in a show?

Hamlet. It’s a total cliche I know. But yeah. I’d love to play the Dane. Perhaps one day.

Where can people follow your work on Socials?

Instagram @gilesrcooper. Tickets are available to see Giles Cooper in Steve till 19th March 2022.

Giles Cooper rehearses Steve. Credit Richard Lakos from The Other Richard

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