Davey Stone No News Here: Me and Victor Frankenstein – and the amazing Minster Playhouse

Davey and daughter Evie Photo Eser Taner at Photography Wonders

This might be a difficult column to read, so I’m warning you up front that the truth is always a bit harder to write than fiction.

The picture above is of myself and my amazing daughter on stage at the Minster Playhouse. We’ve been in the final days of rehearsals for Frankenstein, which opens tomorrow night (May 15) and runs until Saturday (May 18).

I have been fortunate to be cast in my first ever leading role, that of a tormented failure called Victor Frankenstein.

A tormented failure. It’s the easiest role in the world for me to play, because I’m not actually PLAYING a role. It’s going to be so difficult for a lot of the people in my life to watch, as lines like ‘Failed…I have failed….after so much hard work and so long a time…’ are actually exactly how I feel about myself. I often have to choke back tears as I’m delivering them.

Men don’t really talk about failure, especially when they’ve been as lucky as I have….but if we don’t talk about these things, then our mental situation deteriorates and – as we’ve seen so much in the local news, recently – that can end quite tragically. For the last ten years, I have walked VERY close to that line. I’ve had counselling, psychotherapy, even rational emotive behavioural therapy – basically hours and hours of discussions based on a lack of self-worth and feelings of hopelessness and despair.

My name is Davey Stone: you already know me pretty well. I was the highest paid author in the world for ONE week back in 2004. Disney bought me a house in Ramsgate. I can now barely afford to keep the house we’re currently in (I assure you that it’s no mansion), so we’re in the process of downsizing. I work for my wife in a business that I may co-own but can certainly take no credit for establishing.

I grew up in Ramsgate where I lived with my mum and my nan: my dad left when I was a baby and my mum worked three jobs to support us. My nan drank a lot due to the early death of her husband and I spent a lot of my childhood in pubs like the Iron Duke and the Horse and Groom. I was working at Blockbuster Video when my life changed and despite my total lack of even basic qualifications (my GSCE results were so bad they’re not even worth mentioning here) I managed to forge a career in publishing with the not-inconsiderable help of the late, great Sir Terry Pratchett.

My career ended in 2014, I suffered an almost complete mental break and have been effectively trying to bail myself out of a leaky, sinking boat ever since. My mental state has been horrific. I’ve been helped along the way – tirelessly – by my wife, by my friends, by agents trying to figure out where I belonged and even by the Marlowe Writers Room and The Isle of Thanet News, who helped me start writing again and gave me a platform to try to make people feel something.

Since 2018, I’ve been helped most of all by the Minster Playhouse. The group effectively took me in and gave me a place to hide and feel worthwhile again, a place where I could actually achieve something and make a contribution. It might be AMDRAM but you would be frankly astonished at the amount of work that goes into such a performance: the hours and hours of rehearsals, set-building, construction and lighting that have to be just right.

Over the last weekend, we moved an ENTIRE theatre into Minster Town Hall and have been there ever since, desperately trying to make what is effectively a West End stage in a village hall. Blood, sweat and tears have gone into this production, I have died a thousand times and my twelve-year-old daughter has regularly screamed the house down in an effort to deliver her best possible performance.

There’s a cast of fifteen in the play, all hugely talented and hardworking Thanet folks. There’s a crew of ten who have put together a breathtaking lightshow and set.

The Friday and Saturday performances are filling up…but there is still room and the Wednesday/Thursday showings are still only half-full. This might be a form of shameless self-promotion and I am once again indebted to Kathy Bailes for giving me a platform and a voice…but I implore you to consider coming along and watching me do something real after years of reading fictions I’ve invented for both Disney and the BBC. Hell, if you’ve got any of those old editions, I’ll even sign them for you. They’ll be worth 10p less…but it’s your call. Either way, please say hello.

There’s a bar in the theatre, too….but I’ll only be having a drink AFTER the show. I think I’ll need one.

You can get tickets from https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/minsterplayhouse

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