Actor, author, One Showreporter, former MP and government whip, Gyles Brandreth has pledged his support to Guildford Fringe Theatre Company and Guildford Fringe Festival.
Gyles, who completely sold out his two performances at the Guildford Fringe Festival in July, has always had an affection for Guildford and all things theatrical; two passions that the Just a Minuteregular has now united, as he joins the much-loved actress Jenny Seagrove in becoming a patron of Guildford Fringe Theatre Company and Guildford Fringe Festival.
A former Oxford Scholar and MP for the City of Chester, Gyles has gone from being a Whip and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury in John Major’s government to starring in his own award-winning musical revues in London’s West End.
Gyles has worked in the theatre for more than forty years as a writer, producer, director and actor. In the 1970s, he was Artistic Director of the Oxford Theatre Festival where he produced many notable plays – and as an actor, he has appeared in pantomime and Shakespeare, and performed in the West End in Zipp! One Hundred Musicals For Less Than The Price OfOneand his acclaimed one-man show, Looking for Happiness.
As well as being a significant player in the theatre industry, Gyles is a prolific broadcaster and an acclaimed interviewer, primarily for the Sunday Telegraph. His broadcasting programs include Just a Minuteand Have I Got News for You. He has also written biographies, novels and children’s books.
Gyles explains: “I know and love Guildford. I first visited many years ago, to see the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre opened by Sir Michael Redgrave in 1965 which was very exciting: I was just a school boy at the time. Since then, I’ve kept returning to perform in different theatres in the town and during the summer I was delighted to make my Guildford Fringe Festival debut, performing my show Break A Leg! in the beautiful Guildhall on Guildford High Street.
“I had a fantastic time working with Nick and his team, and when he asked me to be a patron of Guildford Fringe I was delighted to accept.
“Fringe theatre is so incredibly important for the arts and I’m thrilled to support Guildford Fringe Theatre Company, not just for their impressive annual Fringe Festival but also the Fringe theatre that they produce throughout the year. They are bringing critically-acclaimed artists to this wonderful town as well as nurturing home-grown local talent, and they firmly believe in keeping the arts as accessible and affordable as possible, which is a brilliant ethos that I heartily support.”
Of the appointment of their new patron, Guildford Fringe Director Nick Wyschna said: “When Gyles said yes to performing at Guildford Fringe Festival earlier this year I was completely gobsmacked. He is one of the most engaging speakers I have ever had the pleasure of watching and to have him at our little Fringe Festival really raised our game.
“During the evening at The Guildhall (where his show was being performed) we found time to chat about Guildford Fringe Festival and Guildford Fringe Theatre Company and I worked up the guts to ask him to join the team, to which he responded, ‘with pleasure’… Wow! What a great duo of patrons we now have, with Jenny Seagrove and now Gyles Brandreth. Myself, Charlotte and the Guildford Fringe Team couldn’t be happier.”