East, west, home's best. Musical theatre star Richard Meek loves nothing more than coming home to his family in the Fens
PUBLISHED: 16:06 13 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:34 14 February 2018
Treading the West End boards and rapturous audience applause are all in a day's work for musical theatre star, Richard Meek, who loves nothing more than returning to the Fens where his heart is firmly rooted in Emneth.
The 35 year old former Wisbech Grammar School student has just finished a successful world tour of The Producers, and in a career spanning 12 years, says the Fens and his pug dog Bob are the two things that make him smile the most.
Coming from a strong farming background - his dad is a haulage contractor and his grandfather founded Cousins farm machinery- it may have seemed a bolt from the blue to turn his back on agriculture and look instead to the bright lights of theatre.
But lurking in his dad’s side of the family is the key to his passion.
“My great grandmother was the pianist for the silent movies at the Hippodrome in March,” he said. “And my great grandad sang in the choir at Ely Cathedral.
“I’m told that on my dad’s side of the family one of my great grandmothers was a Russian ballerina, so the drama, music and singing definitely came from that side of the family.
“I feel my heart lies in singing, I love people like Eva Cassidy, people who inspire with extraordinary talented voices.”
Leaving Wisbech Grammar School at 16, Richard went to the College of West Anglia’s Isle campus where he studied GCSEs and A levels in drama and went on to do an HND in performing arts, then a two year dance course.
“I took part in every course going at the Isle that had anything to do with acting, singing or dancing,” he said.
The hard work paid off and in 2003 he studied for a year at the London School of Musical Theatre, landing his first role as Joseph, where he took over from H from Steps had been taken ill.
Since then he has starred in The Rocky Horror Show(where he played Brad Majors) Godspell, Starlight Express performed in German and the Monty Python musical Spamalot.
Joining him on tour is his dog Bob who has become a famous side kick in his own right.
Richard said: “People come to the stage door with gifts for Bob. One even made him his own little Rocky Horror outfit.
“Dogs are great company; London is a much better place when you travel around with them and the same on tour and he is good to have around.”
His advice for anyone setting out in show business?
“You have to be absolutely certain you want to do this. “It’s about the ‘no’s’ and being able to handle rejection.
“You become a product so you have to become very resilient while also making sure you look after yourself.”
He does just that by running, which he says he enjoys more when he comes back to the Fens, where the flatlands and wide open skies make the activity more enjoyable than in Brixton where he now lives.
“I am very lucky; I have a job I love and a family I can come back to, where we all enjoy good food, good company, laughs and most of all where I can chill with my favourite people,” he says.
•Follow him on Twitter.