Sunday, 19 July 2009

Independent: 60 Second Interview - Terry Shaw

Terry Shaw has been living in Gozo since 2005, retiring there after a career in the Performing Arts. He has a BA degree in Music as well as several music diplomas. He has sung, played the piano and acted all over the UK and in other countries since the age of 14 – a period of 57 years. He took his cabaret act round the world, including on cruise ships. For 32 years he was a teacher, lecturer and head of department in schools and a college; and for the last nine years of his working life he was general manager and artistic director of the Stag Theatre in Sevenoaks, Kent, England. Terry has directed and been musical director for a long list of musicals and plays. Since moving to Gozo, he has continued singing and playing in cabaret. His current project is the open air concert performance of the musical for which he has written the music, Besieged!, based on the story of the 1551 Ottoman attack on Gozo and the legend of Don Bernardo the performance, under the patronage of the President of Malta and under the auspices of Din l’Art Helwa, is on 31 July at the Citadel in Victoria.

How old are you? Star sign and date of birth?
70. Virgo. 4 September 1938.

What would you like to be doing in 10 years’ time?
I shall be happy just to be alive at 80! I intend still to be active however, but I’m not a long-term planner. This avoids disappointment when things don’t turn out as planned.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
To be surrounded by those I love and who love me.

What is your favourite occupation?
Performing. I love singing and playing the piano – although arthritis is creeping up on me and I can’t play like I once could. I also love composing, especially setting words to music. I shall be in my element conducting and directing the open-air concert performance of Besieged!, at the end of this month. It is exciting to hear one’s own music brought to life and it will be a thrill to do this performance in the place where the events occurred.

Significant other?
I have a same-sex partner. We have been together for 31 years. I wish that the strong conservative forces in Malta realised that same-sex relationships are not a threat and that sexuality is not a matter of choice.

What is your greatest fear?
I am terrified of snakes – a real phobia.

What is it that you most value in your friends?

How would you like to die?
Peacefully, quickly.

What is your greatest extravagance?
Long-haul holidays and flying Business Class.

What is your greatest regret?
I’m not one for regretting things. I’ve had, and am still having, a wonderful life, but I wish I’d been more successful in performing.

What is your most treasured possession?
My grand piano.

Which talent would you most like to have apart from the ones you already have?
To paint and know more about the visual arts.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Being lonely.

Where would you like to live?
I find it difficult to answer this. I don’t easily attach myself to places and put down roots. There’s bit of the gypsy in me, which is why I’m in Gozo. I’ve often said I want to see the whole world – impossible, of course.

What is your most marked characteristic?
I have always been energetic and hate to be idle. I also tend to want to “put the world to rights”, which makes me intolerant.

Who are your heroes/heroines in real life?
Those who devote their lives to the good of others. I wish I could be so selfless.

What is it that you most dislike?
Religious fanaticism. I can’t understand why faith in something plainly impossible is a virtue.

What is your motto?
Do it now.

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