TELLING his father that theatre was “in his genes” when going to drama school in London, rather than joining the navy like his dad expected, did not go well for Kent-born Peter Clark.
However, his family connection to great-great-uncle and actor Allan Aynesworth has proven inspirational while acting in several productions of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and directing this month’s Serial Productions version.
“Allan Aynesworth was involved in the original 1865 production at St James’s Theatre in London overseen by Oscar Wilde,” Clark said.
“He played Algernon in the very first production which ran for about 86 shows and got cut short when Wilde was imprisoned for being homosexual.
“My great-grandmother left me some postcards and letters from him that he wrote to his sister during the time, who was living in Scotland, saying the show was up in London and going really well.
“There’s one with a comment that says he doesn’t think Oscar Wilde likes him very much because Wilde made advances towards him and he had to tell him he wasn’t that way inclined.”
Clark, who moved to Perth in 2000, now works as a conferencing and events company general manager but he is never far from a stage.
He co-founded Serial Productions five years ago, which initially presented British comedy television series live and has this year branched out to the classic playing at Stirling Theatre Innaloo from August 24 to September 10.
“I’ve always wanted to direct Earnest and I think having that family connection gives me an underlying urge to want to do it bigger and better than the times I’ve performed in it,” Clark said.
“It’s almost like an interpretive modern day version of a great Shakespeare comedy; it’s so well written and works with a modern day audience as well as when it was first released.”
Despite changing genres, Serial Productions will keep its tradition of supporting the Heart and Lung Transplant Foundation of WA.
People can either make a straight donation online while purchasing their tickets or attend the dedicated fundraising night on Wednesday, August 31.
“One of our directors, Clare Fazackerley, works very closely with the charity in her day-to-day role as a heart-lung transplant co-ordinator at Fiona Stanley Hospital,” Clark said.
“We feel like we’re helping make some kind of difference and the team at the foundation has been so grateful for what we’ve done that we wanted to continue and give more.”
What: The Importance of Being Earnest
Where: Stirling Theatre Innaloo
When: August 24 to September 10