Teesdale actor's agony as he breaks a leg for real
A FREAK accident stopped an amateur actor realising his lifetime’s dream to appear on stage alongside the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).
Graham Fewell suffered a badly broken leg while rehearsing with colleagues from the Castle Players who are currently part of the RSC’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Northern Stage, in Newcastle.
However, just 48-hours before the first performance, Mr Fewell, 60, tripped and fell as he stumbled through a prop doorway. It was a cruel twist on the well-worn phrase “break a leg”, uttered to bring actors good luck.
“I caught something and my foot must have become trapped. I knew it was gone straight away. It is a clean break just above the ankle,” he said. After falling, Mr Fewell rolled into the recovery position and then had to wait four hours for an ambulance to take him the short distance from Northern Stage to the Newcastle Royal Victoria Infirmary.
The following day, he underwent surgery for three hours and had a 12-inch titanium pin fitted down his leg.
He was finally released from hospital on Sunday and is now recovering at home in Copley with wife Angela and son Christopher. Mr Fewell was one of six actors from the Castle Players who were chosen to play the parts of The Mechanicals in the RSC’s touring production to mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death. Along with director Jill Cole, they have spent the last year preparing for the production, which continues this week before moving on to Glasgow. He plans to see his colleagues on stage for one of their final performances later this week.
“I first saw the play in 1968 with Judi Dench and Ian McKellen and I fell in love with it. It means the world to me,” said Mr Fewell, who joined the Castle Players in 2005.
“I dreamed so much to be on that stage and it never happened.”
His role as Snug, the joiner, was taken by RSC actor Ben Goffe for the Players’ performances. Mr Fewell now faces a race against time to be fit enough to join the cast when the production reaches Stratford in June, where the Castle Players group has been chosen to perform.
Mr Fewell, a supply teacher, said the support he had received since the accident had been overwhelming. “The Castle Players have been absolutely fantastic to me and the outpouring of emotion has been very moving.”