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I came to Plymouth in September 1980 with this idea of doing something between drama, theatre and education. I started Rent-a-Role in my living room as a one-man band and I started to build up contacts with all the local schools. I negotiated funding from the bank and Rent-a-Role became the Barbican Theatre.

At the time the theatre was virtually a pile of rubble, there were leaks and buckets everywhere, it was a mess but we stuck at it, we had the vision. We established a good reputation as a theatre and education company working out in the community.

It’s challenging to stay true to yourself and say this is our integrity, this is what we do. The theatre has evolved with the people who are there. They’ve stuck with the battle. They won’t be knocked off course by the fluctuating attitudes of external influences.