Pops of The Players
Everyone’s favourite member of the Lowestoft Players, Stephen Wilson, will be returning to the stage in May to play the character role of Pops, the father of Belle, in our pantomime Beauty and the Beast.
Stephen is an accomplished actor and director and has been involved in countless productions since he first became a member in 1974.
However, did you know that for the last 45 years he’s also been the talent behind the popular performing society’s posters and other publicity material?
Drawing and designing has always been a passion for Stephen who was born in Lowestoft and is the eldest of five siblings.
“I can remember my 10th birthday like it was yesterday” said Stephen. “Kathryn, my one and only Sister was born that very same day and my Dad, in haste, had popped to the shop to buy me a new sketch pad and a lovely new set of coloured biros as a gift. Obviously, I was excited about the arrival of a new baby in the family, but I was also pleased to receive drawing materials!”
Stephen Wilson who has been designing posters and other publicity material for The Lowestoft Players for 45 years. Some of the many posters he has designed over the years are displayed in one of the rehearsal studios at the Players Theatre.
Credit: Stephen Clark
Stephen first joined The Lowestoft Players to help behind the scenes using his creativity to help to make scenery for productions. It was not long before Stephen began both designing and painting full stage sets and then turned his hand to designing posters too.
There were no computers in those days so everything was drawn by hand. For the last few years Stephen continues to initially sketch his designs by hand before he scans them on to a computer where his colourful designs are finalised.
After completing art school Stephen trained to be a teacher, art of course! Following a successful 25 year career encouraging others to love drawing as much as he did, the opportunity to become a full-time artist and designer within the Entertainment Industry beckoned. Besides creating his award-winning posters for the Lowestoft Players he continues to design scenery for the Lowestoft based company Scenic Projects Ltd, who designs, makes and hires out sets for theatrical productions all over the country. Stephen has even designed for the London Palladium and for cruise ships through his work with Scenic Projects.
“We are so lucky to have Stephen” said John Marjoram who is directing Beauty and the Beast. “Especially as the dates for the production have changed at least three times due to the pandemic. Each time we have had a date change Stephen has come up trumps by creating eye catching new artwork.”
The eagle-eyed may have noticed that the artwork for the May production of Beauty and the Beast has changed somewhat from the original version.
“Although colourful the original design was a heavy pink.” Stephen told us. “It was great for the Winter but for the new May production dates I wanted to lighten the look. I decided to use blue to represent the change of season with a big sun to represent the sun rising in the East – after all our Theatre [the Players Theatre] is the most Easterly! I also added some patriotic bunting as a nod to Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, which follows one week later.”
The new poster design for the Lowestoft Players’ May pantomime Beauty and the Beast – a Pantomime Fit for the Platinum Jubilee.
Credit: Stephen Wilson
A selection of Stephen’s other artwork can be found adorning the walls in the main Auditorium of the Players Theatre. They were created to respectively cover the stone memorial plaques at the former place of worship and seamen’s mission.
Wall artwork at The Players Theatre. The artwork was created by Stephen Wilson from the Lowestoft Players to respectfully cover the stone memorial wall plaques at the former place of worship and seamen’s mission.
Credit: Stephen Wilson
Beauty and the Beast will be performed at the Players Theatre, Battery Green Road, Lowestoft from Friday 20th to Sunday 29th May 2022. To book please visit www.playerstheatre.info or contact the Theatre’s Box Office on 01502 770020.