A couple of years ago I was appointed Patron of the Little Theatre Guild. LTG members are amateur theatre practitioners in Great Britain who own their own theatres. These are mostly adaptations of existing buildings, deconsecrated churches, disused halls, small, closed factories and so on.
As a child in Lancashire, I did some of my earliest theatre-going at Wigan Little Theatre, where I saw my first Shakespeare, Macbeth and Twelfth Night. Later when we lived in Bolton, I was a member of the youth group at Bolton Little Theatre, where I learnt much about taking acting seriously in the company of adults who mentored and set an example of true amateurs, lovers of theatre.
As Patron, I have promised to try and visit all of the 100 members of the Guild and in 2009 have managed to meet members and see their productions in a dozen or so Little Theatres. Apart from giving enthusiasts a chance to act, direct, design and stage manage a wide variety of plays, the Guild provides quality theatre in areas where professional productions are thin on the ground.