Born in Oxford, Neil was thirteen when he was given the title role in his school production of OLIVER! and the inspiration to make a career for himself as an actor. On leaving school at eighteen he went on to train at the Guildford School of Acting before making his professional debut in the title role of David Wood’s THE GINGERBREAD MAN at the Oxford Playhouse for Whirligig Theatre Company. Since then Neil’s theatre work has been varied and has taken him all over the U.K. and beyond.
Neil’s early work was almost exclusively for Polka Theatre in Wimbledon where his physical theatre skills were put to good use. During this time he played well-known characters such as Pinocchio, Icarus and Hansel in an adaptation of Humperdinck’s opera HANSEL AND GRETEL. He then also continued to perform with David Wood’s Whirligig Theatre Company, which specialised in large venue national tours of original children’s productions. Roles included Seagull in THE SELFISH SHELLFISH and Norman in SAVE THE HUMAN a joint production with the Cambridge Arts Theatre. Other early credits include playing Dick in HAUL FOR THE SHORE for Kent Arts Theatre and Henry in LITTLE WOMEN at the Churchill Theatre Bromley and then on tour.
Moving to live full time in London Neil’s work began to diversify. He also began to hone his comedy and musical theatre skills. He played Charlie Brown in SNOOPY - THE MUSICAL for Jill Freud & Company in Southwold, Desmond in BERNARD TROPP’S UNFINISHED MUSICAL for No Mess Productions in Bracknell, spent three months in Germany playing Norman in Neil Simon's THE STAR SPANGLED GIRL at the English Theatre in Hamburg and a summer season in Wales playing Benny Southstreet in GUYS AND DOLLS for the Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
Large-scale commercial touring has been a major part of Neil’s career. He performed, somersaulted, juggled and uni-cycled for over a year as Tom Thumb in a UK number one tour of BARNUM with Andrew O’Connor, “Shuffled off to Buffalo” as Bert Barry in two tours of 42ND STREET with Gemma Craven then Ruth Madoc and swept the stage in the multi-character role of stagehand Vic in two tours of LANZA – THE LAST SERENADE.
Between touring Neil has appeared as William Park in RIOTOUS ACTS at The Theatre Museum Covent Garden, The White Rabbit in ALICE IN WONDERLAND at The Civic Theatre Barnsley, Charlie in THE SANDMAN at the Charles Cryer Theatre Carshalton, Edgar Wallace in THE GAMBLER at St Georges Theatre Luton, Wilbur in CHARLOTTE’S WEB, Mr Little in STUART LITTLE and Mr Brown in A BEAR CALLED PADDINGTON all for Polka Theatre Wimbledon, Smee alongside Derek Griffiths’ Captain Hook in PETER PAN at the Weston Playhouse, , Arnell in Israel Horovitz’s black comedy LINE at the Tristan Bates Theatre London, Cosmo Brown in SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre, The Chinese Policeman in ALADDIN at The Riverfront Theatre Newport, Ned in NO GIPSY CHILD OF MINE at The St Augustine’s Sanctuary Edinburgh and Bert in the world premiere of a new musical - IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE for the New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich.
Neil has also appeared in concert for AN EVENING WITH SONDHEIM at “Centre Stage” in London and in a showcase performance of MAKE BELIEVE – THE MUSICAL at the Phyllis Court Club Henley, part of which can be seen here on YouTube.
More recent theatre work includes playing Centipede/Aunt Sponge in JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH at the Polka Theatre Wimbledon, Yvan in a rehearsed reading of ART at St Vincent's Hall Brixton, The King in JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, Bill The Robber in ROBIN HOOD and Smee in PETER PAN all for Lighthouse Theatre Poole, King Stefan in SLEEPING BEAUTY at the Theatre Royal Wakefield and in rep’ as Robertson in LLOYD GEORGE KNEW MY FATHER and Geoffrey Thornton in THE DRESSER for both The Pavilion Theatre, Sidmouth and The Theatre Royal, Windsor.
Television and film credits include AFTER PILKINGTON for the BBC, Mark in TORCHWOOD for Summerhouse films, Neil in EL GATO - a short independent film thriller about art thieves, Al Jardine in BREAK UP OF THE BANDS – BEACH BOYS for ITV - Potato and Robert in CENTURY HOUSE a short film set at the end of the cold war which Neil also wrote and directed.
Neil has also featured in several adverts including the ‘Love to Toast’ campaign for KINGSMILL bread, the dad with his arms in plaster in 'Refreshing little Lifts' for TIC TAC mints, the 'Raining Plectrums' campaign for FREESAT, the '4-OD Devices' campaign for CHANNEL 4, the ‘The Mission’ campaign for BOOT’S No7 and ‘70's Dad’ in BRAND TOYS - a viral ad' for JWT's online brand visualisation tool.
* * *