“When 60 is just the beginning…” Actor Philip Gill talks to Stephen Vowles about Invisible Me at the New Wimbledon Theatre

Invisible Me is a new play by Bren Gosling at the New Wimbledon Theatre from Friday 3rd September. Three Londoners enter their seventh decade and each has a different encounter – and, of course, sex is involved. Stephen Vowles chatted to Philip Gill who plays Jack, a gay, HIV positive recent widower who finds himself on the singles market again after 35 years – and at the mercy of the dating apps.

What drew you to the role of Jack and the play itself?

I enjoy being involved in new plays and projects – there is something exciting about being the first actor to portray a character. You just have the script to work with, no expectation or reference to a previous performance.

I was interested in exploring what it might be like to suddenly be single again as a 60-year-old gay man after many years in a relationship. How does Jack relaunch himself onto the dating scene, negotiating the apps and the online world?

Through the play Jack’s mood and outlook change which as an actor gives me something to get my teeth into.

I love to tell stories – Invisible Me is funny, relevant, and current – it’s been great fun bringing the characters to life. I relish the rehearsal process exploring the text and creating characters.

How has it been for you during the pandemic and what are your hopes for the future?

I am fortunate to have been well throughout the pandemic. My partner and I adopted a rescue dog last summer which has kept us busy.

Like many people it has affected my work significantly. There was little acting work so I worked temporarily on the Census and as a vaccinator.

I had just completed rehearsals for a new play that was about to start touring when the first lockdown was implemented last year. That tour took place this summer finishing just as rehearsals for Invisible Me started. I have already been cast in another new show for the autumn, I am very lucky. Things are picking up which is encouraging.

I’m looking forward to getting back to seeing more theatre on a regular basis, doing more travelling with my partner – something we have both missed – and working to further my acting career.

How do you feel about bringing Invisible Me to a live audience at the New Wimbledon Theatre?

Along with the rest of the cast I am excited to bring the play to live audiences. There is something special about a live audience which brings its own energy to each performance. To feel their reactions as the story unfolds, hearing their responses – the laughs, the gasps, even the silences is what we thrive on as actors.

I am sure the themes in Invisible Me will resonate with our audiences, I can’t wait to see their reaction.

Invisible Me is at the Studio at the New Wimbledon Theatre until Saturday 11th September at 93, The Broadway, Wimbledon, London SW19 1QG.

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