Game of Thrones star Owen Teale rules family dynasty in Sheffield stage show

Game of Thrones star Owen Teale plays the head of a family firm in a period drama on stage in Sheffield.

Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 12:24 am
Updated Tuesday, 29th January 2019, 5:38 am
Game of Thrones star Owen Teale in rehearsals for Rutherford and Son at the Crucible, Sheffield

Owen is the overbearing head of an industrial dynasty ruling over a younger generation of his family, as his adult children Janet, John and Richard dream of breaking free of him.

He stars alongside Esh Alladi (A Confession) as Richard, Laura Elphinstone (Peterloo) as Janet, Brian Lonsdale (Hustle) as Martin, Marian McLoughlin (Thin Ice) as Ann, Ciaran Owens (The Inbetweeners) as John, Lizzie Roper (Call the Midwife) as Mrs Henderson, and Danusai Samal (Ghost in the Shell) as Mary.

Caroline Steinbeis, who recently directed Love and Information, returns to the Crucible for Githa Sowerby’s classic, written in 1910.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Owen said: “It’s all in the name. Rutherford believes in the name, and the reputation of the family that it stands for, more than the individual.

“That’s the way he sees the world. He has inherited a  business that his father has built and he has built even bigger. 

“He’s a type of industrialist that you’ve seen in other plays. He will fight for what he believes in and that’s what he’s prepared to do. 

“You see the lengths he’s prepared to go to, so that the business will survive.

“He believes in a legacy and protecting a world that already exists. He doesn’t see what’s possible, he’s blinkered that way.

“He’s hard working and fair but can be a hard man.”

Owen is a big fan of the writer, Githa Sowerby, who knew that world intimately as she was from a similar background. “It is a fantastic play. It’s as good as Dickens, for that world I’m talking about, its morals and values.

“It looks at what rights does an individual have? That’s about the children, the rights of the individual as opposed to the family, particularly the gender politics.

“It is written by a woman, and she has written this play where the characters have their own voices so clearly.”

Owen likes his character, though: “He has snuck up on me. When I first read the play, you think he is a bully.

“That strength of character that he shows, he does what he believes in, not for personal gain.

“He says, do you think it’s for pleasure? It’s for the generations that are to come and for the people that work in an industry that employs people and creates a community.

“It literally can nourish and nurture a community and he believes in that.”

Owen is used to playing strong characters, such as Game of Thrones hero Jon Snow’s nemesis Ser Alliser Thorne.

He is recognised all over the world: “It’s a life-changing thing to be one of those characters in that show, the scale of it.

“You only get it when you start moving around. I was in the middle of the Australian Outback and an Aboriginal guide was staring at me instead of looking at the group.

“He said, ‘What are you doing here? Why is this happening to me?’ I said, ‘I’m just an actor, I’m in  a show’. 

“He’s never seen me in anything else. I don't exist for him other than in Game of Thrones. That’s it, to them that’s who you are.”

Owen is happy to acknowledge that the show has opened doors for him. “It’s a great currency, success. We’e a bit more coy sbout it in this country. In the US they say openly, ‘You’re hot right now’. I’ll go with it.”