THE chance to join a repertory company, performing multiple roles in a season of plays, is rare for actors these days but Theo Fraser Steele is enjoying the experience for a second time.

After appearing in Doctor Faustus, Don Quixote and The Alchemist with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford and London, Theo is starring in The Lakes Season, now on tour for a fortnight at York Theatre Royal after a summer and autumn at the Theatre by the Lake in Keswick.

Following a trio of roles – Mr Palmer, Mr Dashwood and Thomas – in Jessica Swale's adaptation of Jane Austen's Regency classic Sense &Sensibility last week, Theo has played Soviet spy Guy Burgess in An Englishman Abroad and Chubb in A Question Of Attribution, Alan Bennett's brace of Single Spies plays, on Tuesday and last night.

He concludes the week, and his Lakes commitments, with his roles as Jeeves and more besides in The Goodale Brothers' Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Sense, a play from the works of P G Wodehouse, tomorrow and Saturday.

"I miss out on the other play, Rona Munro's Bold Girls, this week but I do get to play two women in Jeeves &Wooster, Madeleine Bassett and Stiffy Byng, as well as Gussie Fink-Nottle and Sir Watkin Bassett," says Theo.

In repertory tradition, you can appear in as many as three plays in a week, but concluding the Lakes season in York has meant a different challenge. "We haven't done Jeeves & Wooster for three weeks, so we were running through lines as we travelled to York," says Theo.

York Press:

Theo Fraser Steele as Guy Burgess in Theatre by the Lake's Single Spies. Picture: Robert Day 

"We began rehearsals in April, just after Easter, in Keswick, and we finish in York on November 17, so it's been a long run in my first time with the Theatre by the Lake company.

"I wanted to do the season as I knew of Conrad [artistic director Conrad Lynch, who has since stepped down from his post in late September] and of the quality of his work, and I'd also met Philip Wilson, who's directed Jeeves & Wooster, years and years ago, as the audition reminded me. So it was partly Conrad, partly Philip and partly the parts that attracted me.

"Also, the stage and the auditorium at the Theatre by the Lake were designed by Christopher Richardson, who was head of drama when I was at school at Uppingham, which has the largest privately owned theatre in the country. I knew from the age of eight that I was going to be an actor, and my previous school, in Colchester, was affiliated with Uppingham."

Theo was selected for both the National Youth Music Theatre and the National Youth Theatre, as well as performing in school plays and at the Edinburgh Fringe, and although he failed his first audition for drama school at 17, he prevailed the next time. "I went off to Euro Disney [Paris] to play Dr Livingstone for a year and got a place at Guildhall School of Music and Drama while I was there," he recalls Now he is in York for the first time since a school outing to Jorvik Viking Centre, although he has been in North Yorkshire more recently, filming the role of Augustus Pugin for an episode of Victoria at a stately pile near Harrogate.

Jeeves & Wooster will be a delightful finale to his York debut. "As a child I read all of P G Wodehouse's books, so it all came back to me when I read the script. The Goodale Brothers' play is based on The Code Of Wooster, which, if you just want to read one Wodehouse story, this would be it," says Theo. "He just has a wonderful turn of phrase, and despite Perfect Nonsense being a silly, clowning show, it's really tricky to do, getting all those tongue-twisters right, doing all those incredibly quick changes of character and all the different voices.

"You have scenes where you're talking to yourself as you're playing two characters at once, James Duke playing Aunt Dahlia and Roderick Spode simultaneously, and me doing Stiffie Byng and Sir Watkin Bassett at the same time. Wonderful to do!"

Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, in Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Sense, at York Theatre Royal, tomorrow at 7.30pm; Saturday, 2.30pm and 7.30pm. Box office: 01904 623568 or at