[Transcribed from Joyce Robinson’s handwritten notes. Unfortunately there is no indication of where the different sides of the recording start and end. DS]
Mattie was born in Plymouth in 1952 and his father was a commercial artist and musician. His consuming interest as a child was toy theatres and puppetry which absorbed him for ten years. He auditioned for the National Youth Theatre on leaving school at 15. Michael Croft interviewed him, and he was successful – one of 100 out of 3500. He aimed at stage management. Mattie stayed in London and was given a theatre vacancy list by NATKE. His first job was at the Saville Theatre with a Leonard Rossiter production. Stayed on for two more productions: Enemy and Anything Goes. At the same time, he made some wardrobe props for Sleuth at the St Martin’s Theatre at 2/6 [12.5 pence] and 12/6 [60.5 pence] each. Props too for Nell [Gwynn]. He was earning £23 a week at the time. Mattie worked next as a sound operator on Hair at the Shaftesbury Theatre where he stayed for three and a half years. On the 1,999th performance the auditorium ceiling came down. Actors guarded the theatre against closure and the Save West End Theatres Campaign started. The 2000th performance was staged outside in St Giles Circus. He moved on to Jason and the Amazing Technicolor Dream Coat at the Albany Theatre, and was soon to be stage manager on The Rocky Horror Show (King’s Road Theatre) [Four shows a day: two Captain Pugwash and two Rocky Horror]. Elaine Page and Paul Nicholas joined the show. Mattie was invited to co-ordinate taking the Rocky Horror company to Lesotho, South Africa, after which he was offered work as Public Relations officer at the Holiday Inn for Christmas, as children’s entertainer. He had his clown’s suit with him (always, occasionally, a clown). He returned to a puppet festival at the Jeanetta Cochrane Theatre, Holborn, where he employed out of work actors as ‘walking signposts’ and formed the Clown’s Cavalcade with Brian Dewhurst and Carol Crowther. Other promotional work followed. Matt then returned to Lesotho to restore the theatre and work as stage manager but made the mistake of going without an Equity contract. Left at Easter 1973 and went straight to Japan with The Rocky Horror Show, the first company to tour the North and South islands of Japan. Came home to work with Barrie Humphreys in Housewife Superstar for eight weeks at the Apollo Theatre and eight at the Globe. Returned to Japan with Rocky Horror but had problems with Equity’s demand for a ‘four-week salary band’. Matt returned to Lesotho to stage Hair – the film had been banned in Johannesburg – shipping all the costumes etc., from Japan. He spent four years in Barbados, staying with a production of Alice (he was the white Rabbit) and then setting up an educational clowns show for the Minister of Education and Culture and was granted a work permit. He was involved in the Carifesta (21 venues). Well paid and experienced work was now hard to get and Matt was a bingo caller for four years. He returned to the UK to Triumph Productions in Cinderella (Bristol), still clowning as a sideline. Worked for Donmar Theatre and Swiss Cottage then took up clowning full time – now 12 years – as children’s entertainer and promotional work. He describes an adult party, too, at Boodles Club, St James. Now works and is committed to ‘clown doctoring’ through the Theodore Trust in children’s hospitals. He also trains new clown doctors and clown’s gallery members.