My Favourite Places: actor Dean Elliott
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Dean Elliott, 33, starred as Buddy Holly in the West End production of Buddy for several years, before moving out of London to pursue other roles. Married with a baby due in the next few weeks (whoa!) , the Worcester-based actor is currently starrring in The Simon & Garfunkel Story tour, premiering at the Wycombe Swan this Wednesday for one night only, before touring through the UK and Europe. Here are his favourite places.
The Cowper’s Oak, Weston Underwood, nr Olney
My friend runs this fantastic place in North Bucks. It’s a real hybrid – it’s a pub, but with a good restaurant, and there’s live music there too. It’s how pubs should be, cosy inside with locally sourced food and ales. I think it was a bit down on its luck when he took it on and he’s done wonders within it, turning it into a really beautiful community pub. I performed there on the opening night, and had a great time. I wish I had a local like this one but they’re hard to find.
I was a massive fan of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang when I was a kid and used to watch it all the time, so I suppose it’s no surprise I’ve ended up in musicals! I watched it again over Christmas, and I saw this scene and was certain I recognised the village, so of course I googled it and it was Hambleden. I’m so close to the village from High Wycombe where I’m performing next week, so I’m determined to get to it.
The Watermill, Newbury
I’m a bit in love with The Watermill theatre in Newbury. It’s just ahead of its time. The artistic team is amazing and does a lot of actor/musician stuff. I’ve always wanted to work there and haven’t managed it yet, but it’s another place that I so wish was transported up to where I live.
Malvern and Worcester
I think Malvern and Worcester are both vastly overlooked as tourist towns, mainly because they’re so close to Stratford-on-Avon. We don’t have Shakespeare but it’s really beautiful around here. One of my favourite things to do is the Elgar Trail. Elgar grew up around the corner from me in Malvern and you can follow his footsteps – where he’s buried, where his shop was, where his music was performed. It’s a really stunning area, totally worth a visit.
I moved out of London a couple of years ago, but when I was starring in Buddy I lived in Clapham, and was of course in Covent Garden all the time. I started to do what I called ‘urban exploration’. I’d get off at a tube stop miles away from Covent Garden and then walk to work using roads I’d never taken before. It was fascinating because, above ground, London suddenly made sense, and I discovered some beautiful parts of the city. I’d always advise a tourist to do the same – leave the underground warrens and explore above ground!
Photo credit: Mark Taylor