Benedict Francis

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Thursday, 24 Apr 2014

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Biography

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Early life

I was born in a small bucket on the outskirts of Zanzibar to an anorexic harridan.  Or, as my real life story goes...

I jumped into this world in Isleworth, London, on 3rd May 1972 to my mum and dad (surprisingly!) Sally & Jaime Francis, who divorced when I was about eight years old. "Me ol' mam" subsequently remarried Alan (or Big Al as he is affectionately, not sexually, known). We moved to Paris while my father moved to New Zealand, working in the airline industry until his death in 1994. I attended (went to) several schools including The British School of Paris, France - which I loved. The rest of my schooling was at lesser to mention establishments - so I won't.

Acting

In 1993, my first introduction to the stage came when I was selected as an extra in West Side Story, which ran at the Theatre Royal in Winchester, UK. This is where I first learned that I must never, under any circumstances, be allowed to dance.  This experience led on to further productions with Winchester Musicals Company. My first support role came in 1994 as Herr Schultz in Cabaret. I performed in several repertory level productions and had my first taste of Shakespeare as Don Pedro from Much Ado About Nothing in 1996. I returned to musical theatre in 1997 for my first lead role as The Pirate King in Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance, which ran at The John Stripe Theatre, UK. I then took a sabatical of almost eight years in order to focus on my family and intense education in alcohol abuse.

In 2005 I returned to the stage as Oberon in William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. In 2006 I continued my love for Shakespearean roles as Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night and in 2007 I played Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing. I took part in a production of Modern Major General staged by Proteus Theatre in 2007, rewriting much of my dialogue myself - which was fun! This led me to setting up Winchester based repertory company, Tribe Theatre in 2007. Tribe's first production was a production of Shakespeare's The Merchant of Venice, in which I took the roles of both director, producer and the wonderful Shylock.

My most recent acting role was in my first on-camera project "Hello, My Name Is..." by Eat the System Productions. I starred as an over-camp, fake tanned, speed dating host in the mockumentary which is displayed in the Acting section. You may notice I was a little heavier back then!

Music, Writing & Projects

My other passion is writing music, having recorded two albums (Fantasy & White Light) and composed hundreds of unrecorded songs, including the music for many of the productions I have been involved with. I am a well established graphic designer and software creator and set up the award-winning Blueburst and TheMediaSet and Artizanz - new media agencies in the UK. I am currently writing a stageplay based on my good and bad experience in and out of the theatre, under the working title of "Playing Willy" and a rags to riches musical set in the movie industry entitled "In Hollywood". I am also writing a fiction novel entitled The Sublime Dramatic, a comedy about a not-so-special (but oh-so-dull) man who finds himself embroiled in a conspiracy that has the potential to end all life on earth within a matter of hours.

Family life

I shall keep the innocent out of my self-indulgant ramblings, but I would like to point out that Omid Djalili is not my brother, father or son.

I can't think of anything more to write at the moment...