A SWINDON-BORN actor has completed his journey from the Wyvern to the West End, ahead of a six-month run in London’s Haymarket.

Peter Dukes, 30, started his acting journey through summer sessions in Swindon, and has since gone on to perform throughout the country and internationally.

Now he will play his role in a production of Noël Coward’s Brief Encounter, at the newly refurbished Empire Cinema, where the classic film version was first shown.

As well as acting as the understudy to the cast – requiring him to learn the entire script – Peter will also play a number of roles in the play.

Speaking about the production, Peter said: “It’s a play I’ve loved for ages, since I was at drama school.

“It’s a brilliant piece of writing, very appropriate to today. And I’ve always wanted to work with Emma Rice, the director.

“I am understudying all of the parts, which is quite a big learn, and it’s Coward, so it’s quite complicated.

“The production itself is very stylised, and it’s an amazing story. It has such relevance now, as it’s about truthfulness, and there’s a lot of comedy in there.

“It’s a wonderful spectacle, they add so much homage to the film.”

It’s a return to the location for Peter, who featured in Phantom of the Opera in the nearby Her Majesty’s Theatre, another step in a career which has seen him travel all over the world.

Peter said: “I’ve been really lucky: I’ve done such a variety of big shows, and it’s been a real treat.

“My geography of the UK is pretty decent now.

“I got to go to Toronto with Chess, I’ve done a lot in Ireland, in Dublin and Belfast, and I even managed to go to Trieste in Italy. It’s always lovely to be paid to go abroad to a lovely country.

“I’ve actually not come back to the Wyvern, one of the only places I haven’t been.”

The Wyvern Theatre was where it all started for Peter, he said: “I was born in Swindon General Hospital, when it was there, and brought up in Cirencester.

“There’s something about the area, you make real connections with people.

“My dad worked at WHSmith for about 40 years, so I did the Swindon youth project at the summer. I spent every summer at the Wyvern, between the ages of about 9 and 18.”

Since then, his biggest achievement has been to maintain a career in acting, he said: “I’ve been really lucky: for ten years I’ve managed to stay alive, feed myself and pay rent.”