David Radford Interview

Spotlight on David Radford

Great news! The interview I recently conducted with David Radford, ex-President of Friends of the Theatre Association (FOTA), Fuengirola, was published in the Costa del Sol News (page 40) yesterday. I'm not sure at the moment whether I'm permitted to put the article as it appeared in the newspaper on this website (copyright issues, etc), so until I find out the legalities of the matter, I'll just upload the article as I wrote it:



Early November saw the end of an era at the Salon Varieties theatre in Fuengirola when David Radford, President of the Friends of the Theatre Association (FOTA) stood down after almost six years in the post. I spoke to David at the theatre.

What does FOTA do, David?

FOTA raises money to help finance the Salon Varieties (SALVA). In order to do this we arrange social events, such as the Summer and Autumn Balls, fashion shows, lunches, etc. We also arrange day-trips and holidays for members, the most recent of which was a most enjoyable cruise around the Mediterranean.

How long have you been involved with FOTA?

This is my 27th season.

What were your duties as President of FOTA?

Well, as in my younger days when I was in charge of cabin crew on long-haul airlines, I acted as a figurehead, making sure that my team (in this case the FOTA Board) worked well together and did all they were supposed to do.

Did you enjoy being President of FOTA?

Very much. I had a tremendous team and was particularly pleased when Mrs Val Williams agreed to return as Social Secretary, after an absence of several years. Mrs Williams has now taken over as President and will also continue to be Social Coordinator. I shall remain on the FOTA Board as Minister without Portfolio, in the hope that my years of experience will come in useful.

For many years you’ve made greetings cards to help raise money for the theatre – will you continue to do this?

Definitely. Nowadays, with e-cards, Facebook, etc, traditional greetings cards aren’t so popular, but, in spite of that, I’m hoping we’ll do reasonably well this year.

As well as being President of FOTA, you acted in many shows, I hear.

Yes, I’ve taken part in about 100 shows. My first acting part came in 1987 when I answered an advertisement in “Sur in English” calling for people to audition for parts in “Uncle Harry” and got the part of the boyfriend, when I was taken home to be vetted by my girlfriend’s sisters and Uncle Harry to see if I would make a suitable husband. I acted in five more plays in my first season at the theatre, ranging from “Habeas Corpus” by Alan Bennett to Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night”, when I played Antonio.

What was your favourite part?

I played the Narrator in “The Rocky Horror Show” and loved every minute of it. On the last night, the Director agreed I could go off-script for a few minutes at the end. I had the stage to myself and said a few outrageous things, which the audience greatly enjoyed, but I also suggested that the Show be brought back annually. Everyone seemed in favour of that idea but, unfortunately, it was not to be.

I believe you’ve done various jobs at the theatre, besides acting and being on the Board of FOTA.

Yes, for seven years I did stage management and also worked the spotlight. I was sometimes acting in the show and manning the spotlight, which could be quite farcical. I’d be working the spotlight one minute, then race backstage, get changed, go on stage and say my piece, race off again and return to the spotlight. It makes me tired just thinking about it now!

Is there anything you haven’t enjoyed about your time with FOTA and the Theatre?

Not really. As I said, I had an excellent team at FOTA and I enjoyed heading up the Association. And acting is very satisfying: people cheering you every night and telling you how well you’ve done is always pleasing. I also enjoyed stage management: being in control of the show. If everything goes well, it’s tremendously gratifying. If things go wrong, as they sometimes do, the stage manager has to use his initiative and react quickly to save the situation – quite an adrenaline rush!

There were a couple of things in the early days which were less than enjoyable: the bats that lived in the loft above the stage occasionally came out and flew around while the show was in progress; also, before the roof was repaired if it started to rain during a show everyone on stage got soaked! But it was all part of the fun.

Why, for you, is it so important to keep the Theatre in Fuengirola going?

The Salon Varieties has become, as far as the expatriate population is concerned, very much a focal point. The theatre provides a much-appreciated cultural and social element to life in Fuengirola. Most of the shows are well-attended and the terrace is always full of people who come to have coffee with friends, become members of FOTA (the FOTA desk is open on the terrace every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 30am to 1 15pm) and to find out about future shows and social events. Long may the Salon Varieties continue to prosper.

Congratulations, David, for all you have done as President of FOTA and at the Salon Varieties over the years. I am sure you will be an important member of both for many years to come.

©Val Vassay, 22 November 2013