Musings from Sir Dave

Thoughts and reflections with Dave Toole (OBE)...

Hello folks, Lily here,

Alongside being Sg2’s Access and Support worker, I’m also Content Officer (a title which makes me chuckle), so I help shape our online content on social media.

Recently, we have embarked on some reflections of past works. For those familiar with social media, they take the form of #ThrowbackThursday’s (TBT’s), where we share photos, memories and insights from lots of our previous productions. Over August  we looked at Bill and Bobby (2015, Outdoor). Bill & Bobby celebrates a golden time of good old-fashioned entertainment, when dancing together and 'happily ever after' went hand in hand.

We were due to wrap up our TBT for Bill and Bobby with a Q&A between Dave Toole, Lucy Bennett and myself. However, as we all know, life happens and sometimes things don’t always follow the plan! If there’s anything the C-19 pandemic has taught me, it’s that it is okay to slow down and take a pause.

We still wanted to finish up this look back on Bill and Bobby and celebrate the wonderful Dave Toole (OBE). Last year Dave was really unwell, now he’s back at home recovering, adjusting and coming to terms with some new ways of life (all whilst in the midst of this pandemic). We’re here now, to bring you a few reflections from Dave, as he works through a couple of our questions.

Over to Dave!

Hello, so, here are a few musings from a very mixed up Sir Dave…

Could you give us three of your career highlights?

So many to mention...

Although it was the biggest thing, the Olympic Opening Ceremony doesn’t actually rate that high in respects of pride… so hardly makes my list when asked

Dance wise, Back to Front With Side Shows with Candoco was a turning point. Our first outside choreographer, Emilyn Claid, gave me a chance to be more creative and put a bit more of myself into something...

Next of course would be DV8. Dream job at that time and I guess put me out there more than anything. But mostly it was working with these legends I’d watched for years, and there I was, this dodgy postman mixing with them...

Of course, no list would be complete without Stopgap... I’ve been fortunate to work with people I “get”, and it also feels like a family. Creatively, working with Lucy has been a joy and I’d always be willing to try anything she asked... Personal highlight in the SG years, selfishly would be my solo at the end of Artificial Things. It was such a personal thing and could only have had happened with the support of Lucy and the rest of the team.

Outside of dance, Blasted was the acting work I was most proud of with Graeae. More so than working with the RSC, it was nice, but two lines wasn’t that much of a challenge, although the Irish accent was…

There are so many moments, so hard to pick three but that gives you an idea

What did your family think of you beginning a career in dance?

My family were a little mixed when I told them. My sister, Cath, knew how miserable I was so thought it was a good idea. My mum, of course could only see the safety in the Post Office job so wasn’t quite as keen. My friends mostly encouraged me to try for it as most of them knew I needed to get out the place I was in…

How has dancing changed for you over the years?

The last few years have been very frustrating as far as dancing is concerned. Obviously, we all get older and the body can’t do all the things it used to do, and I found that hard to deal with. I was always pretty agile but have been slowing down over recent years and had to focus more on the smaller things and the detail... Ironically, that’s something I used to drill into pupils in workshops. It wasn’t the big stuff that impressed me I’d say, it’s the detail… Now that’s come back to haunt me.

Obviously, recent events have changed everything and right now I don’t see me ever dancing again, at least in a way that I would find worked for me. I don’t want to be in a chair, either manual or electric...That’s not me and I’d rather retire than do that... Maybe that will change over time, who knows?

Where’s the OBE?!

Ah the famous OBE!! No word on that for a while and it feels weird chasing it up, so will just have to see... Not quite ready for the trip anyway…

We asked Dave a bit about his politics, if he had anything to share right now...

I’m not really that political if I’m honest. I’ll moan without actually being proactive

I did have a weird thought the other day though while I was watching Ben Kingsley play Ghandi. Could that film be made now with a white actor playing the part? I think not...

Anyway, this made me think about Kenneth More playing Douglas Bader in Reach for the Sky. I’ll concede in that era, there probably were not many choices of disabled actors to play the part but if they remade the film today without a disabled actor in the main role, would there be an uproar from anyone outside the disabled community? I think we know the answer…

Anyway, this has turned into more ramblings than musings... so I’ll stop for now

 

Thank you to Dave for offering his thoughts, join us in celebrating his work and contribution to Stopgap!

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