West side story

Actor Dominic West revisits Westbourne School where he attended his first acting classes
Actor Dominic West revisits Westbourne School where he attended his first acting classes
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SHEFFIELD’S leading man Dominic West went back to the place where it all began for him - bitten by the acting bug on a small school stage.

The star of The Wire, The Hour and Appropriate Adult took time out from the sold-out run of Othello at the Crucible to visit his old school.

Dominic studied at Westbourne School in Broomhill from 1974 to 1982, before leaving for Eton and Trinity College, Dublin.

But it was at the then small boys’ prep that he first trod the boards, as he told pupils at a special assembly - after touring the classrooms he remembered so well.

“Everything seems so small - I feel I have to crouch down to see everything from the correct perspective,” Dominic said.

“When I started here it was a very small school and they only put on Shakespeare and Gilbert and Sullivan, dreadful old stuff which the boys never really understood.

“Then we had quite a revolution. The first part I played was Willie Wonka, followed by Joseph in the Technicolour Dream Coat. I adored appearing on stage, and this is where it all started for me.”

Dominic was given a tour by one of his old teachers, Colin Roberts, now 59, who came to the school in the same year as him and taught him science and maths.

“He was always a very fidgety lad, but he was very keen, very outgoing and when he was on stage he was extraordinarily good and very happy to be there,” he said.

“Dominic was in at the start of a new era for the school. It was in 1980 that we decided to produce an up-to-date play for the first time.

“We had three nights of Joseph and Dominic was an obvious choice for the star part. Later of course he passed his Common Entrance exam and went off to Eton.

“That was a big event for the school, not just for Dominic. We weren’t used to Eton taking in lads from Sheffield,” Colin added.

Dominic visited almost every classroom in his old school building, now Westbourne’s junior department.

One room in particular brought back memories.

“This was the headmaster’s study - it was here where we had to report for the ruler or the slipper,” he said. “Still, it didn’t do us any harm.”

Dominic told the children that one of the biggest highlights of his career was his current engagement, appearing before 1,000 people a night as Iago at the Crucible.

“Believe me when you have a thousand people clapping, it sends you to a happy place,” he added.