20 Questions with ….. Ben Nealon

Actor, Director and Humanitarian Ben Nealon OBE sat down with fairypowered to answer 20 Questions. Ben is currently appearing in 12 Angry Men, at Windsor Theatre Royal until Saturday 30 March and on tour around the UK, tickets can be found here

Let’s Start with a few favourites

Favourite show (whether you have been in it or not)? 

I would have to say Dial M for Murder directed by Shaun Mathias.  I found out on the Friday I had the role and needed to be ready for the Monday.  I then received a phone call from Bill Kenwright to say forget the script I’d learnt, I was now the lead part of Tony Wendice.  And I managed to learn the entire role in very little time.  So that is my favourite.

Favourite book?

A childhood favourite – The Lord of the Rings

Favourite theatre? 

Windsor Theatre Royal.  I’ve appeared in this theatre every year for many years.  I was in Windsor filming for Soldier Soldier, and if I had known then how much time I would spend in Windsor, I think I would have bought a house here

Favourite song?

Orpheus by David SIlvian

Favourite music? 

Indie – stuff like The Smiths, Lloyd Cole and James

Favourite food? 


Favourite drink? 

Double Espresso

What is your favourite role? 

Tony Wendice in Dial M for Murder

What was your first role? 

I was an Angel in the Nativity, with a coathangar for my halo.  But professionally my first role was PC 1 in Between the Lines in 1993.

And what role would you really like to play? 

I think I’m too old now (fairypowered disagrees), but I’d like to be Malcolm in the Scottish Play.  I did it in Drama School but never since.

If you weren’t a performer what would you be?

International Development  I think.  Ben received an OBE in 2012 for his services to Pump Aid.

What made you decide to be a performer? 

I wanted to tell stories to change the world’s perceptions.  To be a storyteller.  This current play, 12 Angry Men does just that.  Its theme’s are as relevant now as when it was written.

Do you enjoy touring?

Yes, but it’s tough on my wife and daughter.  They can no longer come on tour with me.  But I get to see my extended family as I tour the country.  Its regular income and job security and I get paid to see parts of the UK and Ireland I might not normally get the chance to see.

What advice would you give to 16 year old you?

I wouldn’t!  I would let him carry on doing what he is doing.  57 year old Ben is very happy and that is with the choices 16 year old Ben made.  So I would say nothing

Do you fancy branching out in Producing or Directing?

I have done both.  I enjoy Directing but I find Producing very frustrating, taking me further and further away from the creative process.

What was the last stage show you saw and really enjoyed? 

The Girl from the North Country and my daughters Nativity, she was Mary

Favourite line from any show? 

 Not a show as such, but from Golfer Gary Player.  “The more I practise, the luckier I get”

If you could be anyone else for the day, who would it be? 

Daniel Day Lewis

What are the nicest/weirdest things you have ever received from fans?

Someone once gave me a beautiful crystal wand that had been made in New Zealand

Can you tell us what you will be up to next?

The rest of the tour of 12 Angry Men.  It’s a great group of actors and I’m really enjoying it.  And then hopefully there will be another show for me to star in