Playwright employs TV star dad for role in festive show

The Oxford Times: Callum Hughes Callum Hughes

A YOUNG playwright has employed his former TV host dad to act in his Christmas production.

Callum Hughes, of Ducklington, near Witney, co-wrote The Little Mermaid which currently has a stage run in London.

His dad, former BBC presenter James Earl Adair, is playing the part of Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith.

Mr Hughes, 23, from Peel Close, founded the Blind Tiger Theatre Company two years ago with three other students after graduating from the Rose Bruford Drama School in Kent.

He said: “I never thought I would be in the position to offer my dad a job.”

“Working with your own father doesn’t come without its complications. Sometimes it can be hard to give your father a note when normally you would be getting advice from your parents.

“What is a real joy is to see experience beyond your years come into your own work. He has been in the industry for 45 years. You can’t buy that education.”

The former pupil of Henry Box School in Witney co-wrote the new version of the old tale with friend David Shopland and mixed it with fairytale writer Mr Andersen’s life story.

Mr Earl Adair, who presented the BBC Two’s children’s programme Watch in the 70s and 80s, has recently played Gandalph in the West End production of The Hobbit and Prospero in the award-winning musical Return to the Forbidden Planet.

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The 64-year-old said: “This is a great show. I am very proud to be part of it and even more proud of Callum and the other Blind Tigers for their enthusiasm and sheer determination to make a success of the company in such difficult economic times.”

The play explores the Hans Christian Andersen’s personal life as he wrote the story and features a musical score inspired by traditional Danish folk music.

The show opened on Tuesday and is running until January 12.

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