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Don Boyd, Janice Kay, Charles Dance and Will Higbee

Acclaimed Actor Charles Dance launches Creative Dialogues series

Charles Dance OBE, the celebrated actor, screenwriter and film director, has launched the University of Exeter’s new Creative Dialogues series.

The Creative Dialogues series will bring high-profile people from the creative and performing arts to Exeter to inspire students, demonstrate the impact of the University’s research, and share these experiences with the wider Exeter community, and the South West.

Mr Dance, who spoke to a packed auditorium, left the audience spellbound as he described his career in film and theatre including starring roles the Jewel in the Crown, the Bafta-winning TV series about India during the Raj, the Imitation Game, the film about Alan Turing and the creation of the Enigma code-breaking machine, and Game of Thrones where he played Tywin Lannister, the calculating patriarch, and Lord of Casterly Rock.

The award-winning actor reminisced about his thirty-five year stage and screen career during the informal conversation, led by author and director Don Boyd, an Honorary Professor at the University of Exeter.

Mr Dance described how, in order to play one Game of Thrones scene convincingly, he learned from a butcher how to skin a deer. He praised the quality of the writing on the fantasy show, which he said was the reason for its success.

Mr Dance, who was raised in Devon, told the audience how he did not start acting until he was in his early 20s and as a child suffered from a stammer.

Mr Dance described how he worked in an early expresso bar in the South West, went to art school, and worked as stagehand and dresser. He combined working as a labourer with learning Shakespeare as he was completing acting training.

“I was sat there on a building site with the complete works of Shakespeare, and people would say “what are you reading Charlie” and I would say just a book,” he said.

His said he landed his first role in a Welsh regional theatre through “supreme confidence and arrogance” after seeing an advert in the Stage newspaper. Actors need a “hide like a rhino”, he told the audience.

Professor Janice Kay CBE, Provost at the University of Exeter, who hosted the event, said:

‘We were delighted that Charles Dance, one of the cherished cast-list of British actors, was able to join us for our inaugural event which was fully booked in less than 24 hours. His candid comments on 35 years in the performing arts held his audience captivated and provided invaluable insight for students and academics alike’.

Creative Dialogues builds on Exeter’s proud history of arts and culture, which is recognised internationally. Exeter hosts the Bill Douglas Cinema Museum with over 80,000 artefacts from the world of film and has one of the South West’s premier theatres, the Exeter Northcott Theatre on campus. Exeter also partners with the London Film School, one of the foremost film schools in the world, to deliver an innovative and cutting-edge programme in International Film Business. Exeter’s Drama department is in the Global top 100 and is a leader in Film Studies.

Filmmaker and director Don Boyd joined Charles Dance in conversation.  Don’s production company has produced successful British Films including Scum, The Tempest and Laurence Olivier’s last film, War Requiem. He has directed several feature films and over 20 television documentaries and has worked with many of the greats, including Charles himself, who played legendary James Bond creator, Ian Fleming, in his film Goldeneye.

Date: 25 January 2018

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