Nick Park making his mark at theatre

Pictured at Sheffield Lantern Theatre, Manager Martin Risby, with the Wallace & Gromit cartoon, by Nick Park
Pictured at Sheffield Lantern Theatre, Manager Martin Risby, with the Wallace & Gromit cartoon, by Nick Park
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IT’S a very small theatre, but the Lantern at Nether Edge now displays a very big name.

Oscar-winning animator Nick Park accepted an invitation to sketch his most famous characters, Wallace and Gromit, on a wall as he visited for a performance by local band Native and the Name, whose music video he produced.

The former Sheffield Polytechnic graduate was approached by theatre manager Matt Risby.

“I’m such a huge fan of his and eventually screwed up the courage to go and ask him for his autograph,” said Matt.

“While he was scribbling his name down, it suddenly occurred to me that I’m the boss and could ask him to do anything I wanted, so I asked if he’d mind drawing Wallace and Gromit on our wall.”

It took Nick less than two minutes to complete.

Matt said: “People can’t believe it’s real and that such a famous artist has been to our quaint little venue.”

The animator was alerted to Native and the Name through a song written and performed by band member Joe Rose that he close for BBC Radio’s Desert Island Discs. Nick was taught by Joe’s father, Martin, when he studied at the former Psalter Lane art college and the families became friends.

“He’d never been to the theatre before and was surprised he’d never heard of it, which is not uncommon,” said Matt, who has launched the Lantern Theatre’s first professional season in its 118-year history.

Other doodles by famous artists could follow. “Where that fine line between artwork and vandalism, is I’m not sure!” added Matt. “But we love this one and it’s staying!”