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Q&A: 'Sunny D' show star and veteran actor Don Warrington

MAJESTIC: Don Warrington as King Lear in Manchester (photo credit: Jonathan Keenan)

LAST YEAR, Don Warrington MBE gave one of his most commanding performances yet as King Lear at Manchester’s Royal Exchange Theatre.

Following this royal run, the seasoned actor has been nominated for Best Actor at the Manchester Theatre Awards.

The Voice spoke with the Trinidadian-British father of two about the Shakespearian classic, playing Dane Baptiste’s dad and more.

Q: This time next month you might be celebrating a win at the Manchester Theatre Awards – are there any more stage roles on the cards for you?

A: Yes – I guess I’m thinking about what I do next. I’m not very good at saying ‘I want to do this’ or ‘I want to do that’. I’m trying to be more proactive. I have my agent who looks for roles. My friends also encourage me to go for things. We get advice from where we can.

Q: Do you think there is anything unique about appearing on stage before a Manchester audience in comparison to being part of a Royal National Theatre production in London, for instance?

A: The Royal Exchange Manchester is a unique theatre – its design, its position, its whole history is unique and the space has its own requirements. Being in the round, means just what it says – you have to act in the round, your back has to be just as active in what you’re doing. It is both liberating and inhibiting to be so close to the audience.

A relationship is established with the audience, who come to the space with a great degree of respect for what is about to happen there.

OPENING-UP TO AUDIENCES: Don Warrington on stage (photo credit: Jonathan Keenan)

Q: Are there any particular actors or types of films you like to watch when you’re off-duty?

A: At the moment I’m watch- ing all the films that were nominated for BAFTAs. Moonlight stands out to me – it’s not as heavy as it might look. It’s interesting, it’s engaging and it shows a community in a light that we’re not used to seeing them in. It shows sexuality and how that sexuality finds its expression, or how it doesn’t. I love going to the cinema, I love going to the theatre. I’m a punter like anybody else.

Q: We love seeing you on BBC Three as Dane Baptiste’s dad in Sunny D, with his facial expressions and the one-liners. Are you anything like that with your own sons?

A: He is representative of a certain kind of dad that is traditional, strong, silent and not very demonstrative. The character is a take on the Caribbean father figure. That being said, Caribbean fathers can be very different to that. My sons come and talk to me a lot, they seem alright – I hope I’m nothing like Dane’s dad!

The Manchester Theatre Awards will take place on 17 March.

For more information on the awards click here.

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