Actor Hywel Dowsell is currently performing at the Hazlitt Theatre in Maidstone as Mrs Smee in the popular pantomime Peter Pan. Taking time out from performing, Hywel was delighted to chat with Visit Maidstone about his career and time in Maidstone.
Hi Hywel, welcome to Maidstone. Would you like to tell the Visit Maidstone readers a little bit about yourself?
Hiya! I’m Hywel Dowsell, a Welsh actor from the South Wales Valleys, and I’m currently playing Mrs Smee in Peter Pan at the Hazlitt Theatre, Maidstone.
How are you finding Maidstone?
Maidstone is a little gem. The shops, bars and local attractions are great, and the people are even greater!
How is it playing Mrs Smee?
Oh, Mrs Smee is fabulous; what a joy to play! It is my first time playing the Dame in panto and I couldn’t have wished for a better place for the debut. The cast and crew have been very supportive of me and the audiences have been so welcoming. Playing a comedy role is something of a regular occurrence to me, having played many of Shakespeare’s fools and comedy roles within musicals.
What about when you’re not on the stage? What do you like to do when not performing?
A very interesting question, and one that I get asked often. Sometimes, when I finish an acting job, I take time to have a little break, whether this be going on holiday or simply sitting at home with a good book or a box set. However, I am always keen to get stuck in with the next job. When I have the time, I’m often playing the French Horn in professional gigs or playing alongside the Central Band of the Royal British Legion.
What would you say was your proudest moment?
I’ve had a few of these in my life, but I think the most prominent one was performing for HRH Queen Elizabeth II for the Festival of Remembrance at the Royal Albert Hall. What an honour!
And any regrets?
I don’t really have any regrets in life. Christmas is a time of reflection, so If I think of something, I’ll let you know.
What's your favourite film?
This is probably the easiest question I am ever asked: Mrs Doubtfire, without a doubt. I am a huge Robin Williams fan and his performance in this film is up there with his very best. I can also quote the whole thing, so if we ever have a night in, don’t let me choose the film, as my “joining in” becomes quite annoying… at least, so I’ve been told!
What’s your favourite food?
I am a hopeless cook and I’d never put anyone through the ordeal of eating a meal prepared by myself, so when I suggest having dinner with a friend, it normally involves a takeaway or eating out. I think my favourite place to eat is Pizza Express. Those doughballs! However, I am looking forward to my mam’s Christmas dinner in Wales this year.
Do you have any New Year resolutions?
I think it would have to be, and I say this every year, to get a little bit fitter. I often spend January at the gym and at dance classes, but that soon dies down. I spend too much time in Pizza Express!
Finally, do you have any tips for Christmas?
Spend it with your friends and family. Last Christmas I was working in Dubai. While I did have a great time, you simply can’t celebrate Christmas without your nearest and dearest. Remember what Christmas is all about and have a great time.