Much Ado about homecoming

Actor Liam Tobin is literally coming home to tackle Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing at the Stiwt Theatre, Rhos later this month.

It’s a home fixture for Wrexham-born Liam who has appeared in top television programmes like Coronation Street, Emmerdale Farm and Heartbeat.

His parents, Lorraine and Patrick, still live in Johnstown and will be in the audience to watch their son play the role of Benedick in one of the Bard’s more popular comedies.

And Liam says he really enjoys getting back home to North Wales and performing at the Stiwt.

He said: “It’s a lovely theatre. I have done a few things before at the Stiwt and audiences are always really appreciative. I think people around the area treasure their theatre and really try and support it.

“My Mum, who grew up in Rhos and Dad will certainly be in the audience. I think they are quite proud of the fact I’m an actor, even though I think they would have preferred to see me in, perhaps, what you might call a more secure profession in the days when I was an up-and-coming actor and desperate for work.”

Liam takes nothing for granted but he has remained busy with plenty of theatre work alongside regular TV appearances on shows such as Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Heartbeat, The Royal, The Cops, Seeing Red and The Second Coming.

Liam said: “I like TV work but I have to say there is something about a live theatre audience that’s just, well, different. With TV work if you get it wrong there’s always the chance to do it again.

“In the theatre you can’t and if it goes wrong, and it always will at some point, no matter how hard you try or how good you are, you have to be able to deal with it. That’s perhaps why I get such a thrill out of theatre and live audiences.”

And with a string of theatre credits to his name Liam is clearly a much sought after actor.

He said: “I have been luck. I have been pretty much able to pick and choose which roles I take on, although like any actor, I am always grateful when offered any role.

“However, Much Ado About Nothing is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays. And although it’s a comedy, it’s also got some very serious messages.

“It’s a tremendous play, a real favourite for those familiar with Shakespeare’s works and a great introduction if you are a Shakespearean novice, it’s accessible and easy to get to grips with.”

He added: “My character, Benedick, is a role I have always wanted to play. He is a real man’s man, a confirmed bachelor, who just happens to fall in love with Beatrice, a cynical spinster with no intention of falling for any man. Of course Benedick can’t understand what is happening or why it’s happening to him.

“But there are lots of twists and turns in the story and quite a bit of tragedy too. There’s another couple, who are perhaps, the complete opposite of Benedick and Beatrice. There’s certainly something there for everyone to enjoy.”

Liam said: “To have the chance to tour with the show is brilliant and stopping off at The Stiwt for a night is brilliant as it gives me a chance to come home.

“But that’s one of the benefits of touring with a show such as Much Ado About Nothing, you get around Britain and see some beautiful places, particularly in Wales.

“And I have worked with Mappamundi Theatre Company and Theatr Mwldan on several other projects and it’s always been fabulous. There a great company to work with and the rest of the cast are absolutely superb.”

Liam, who is 40 in a couple of weeks, says he is the only person in his family to take to the stage although his granddad might well have done a bit of acting.

He said: “My dad, Patrick, is Irish and better known as Paddy. He came across from County Wicklow many years ago in search of work, met mum, who is now a retired classroom assistant, and stayed.

“Dad tells me my grandfather, James, was involved with one of the first films ever made in Ireland so I suppose acting might be in the blood somewhere along the line.  However, I can’t, despite lots of research, find out what the film was called or find out anything about it.

“The truth is I don’t know where it was that I picked up the acting bug but I can’t see myself doing anything else.

“I’m touring with Much Ado until the end of November so this year, as Christmas shows and pantomimes are already in rehearsals; I’m having a bit of time off over Christmas.

“My partner is an actress and she’s down in Milford Haven doing a Christmas show this year so I’ll go and spend a bit of time watching her work.

“In the new year I’m probably touring again with a show I got involved with at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. And there’s the possibility of some TV work too.”

Liam, who has the distinction of having played three different characters on Coronation Street, admits he’d like to land a starring role in a TV series at some point in the future.

He said: “I suppose I’d be lying if I said I wouldn’t enjoy playing a lead role in a top series. Something like Life on Mars or similar would be tremendous. And things like that open so many doors, it’s all about moving up to the next level I suppose.

“I enjoy TV work though. Corrie was good fun. I first played a clown in 2004, then a photo shop assistant called Dan in 2007 and a policeman in 2009. And in Heartbeat I was a music producer so quite a bit of variety I suppose.

“But no matter how good the TV role it really can’t be as good as theatre. Come along to see Much Ado About Nothing at the Stiwt and I, along with my fellow cast members, will try and show you what I mean.”

Much Ado About Nothing is at The Stiwt Theatre, Rhos near Wrexham on Tuesday, October 25th at 7.30pm. For ticket information call the Box Office on 01978 841300 or visit the website at

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