IT’S an exciting time over at the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton.

Preparations and rehearsals are well underway for the theatre’s first in-house production since re-opening two years ago – Around the World in 80 Days .

The whistle-stop adventure promises to be a whirlwind of a show with a professional cast and talented community ensemble.

Among the professional cast is a very well-known face, Derek Frood.

West Country born and bred, Derek has starred in many tv shows, films, radio and theatre productions, and is probably best currently recognised for his role as Captain Bray in Poldark.

When I meet Derek on a cold and blustery day, he’s preparing to start vocal rehearsals for Around the World.

“It’s great to be back at The Brewhouse and to see it doing well,” he says.

“I was actually here a few years ago, just before it was closed so it’s great to see it up and running again.

“A similar thing happened at the Northcott Theatre in Exeter and that’s been re-opened for a while now and did so well with A Christmas Carol last year, so I see no reason at all why The Brewhouse shouldn’t have that same success.”

Somerset County Gazette:

MISERY GUTS:Derek as Scrooge Photo: Matt Austin

Derek will be playing Captain Fix in the upcoming production of Around the World in 80 Days.

The story follows Phileas Fogg as he tries to circumnavigate the world in 80 days on trains, hot air balloons and even an elephant.

Derek’s character Captain Fix, who he describes as a bit of a rogue – and hopefully a likeable one – tries to thwart Fogg’s plans but there’s a happy ending for all.

He added: “When he hears about Phileas’s plans, he doesn’t believe that he can do it in 80 days, and puts a rather large wager on that he won’t.

“He tries to scupper his plans along the way and there’s some very funny scenes, but overall everyone has a happy ending which hopefully will leave the audience happy.

“When I heard the theatre planned to do this particular play as the Christmas show, I thought to myself that it wasn’t really a traditional Christmas show, but it’s so entertaining and uplifting and full of great songs, and dances that I think it just puts you in a great mood.”

Derek is no stranger to the stage, not only does he run theatre company Ripple, but he’s well known around the country and beyond for his stage roles.

Somerset County Gazette:

SOUTH WEST STAR: Derek Frood from Plymouth who is starring in Around The World In 80 Days at the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton.  PHOTO: Isaac Peral Photography 

He delighted crowds last year as miserly Ebenezer Scrooge in the acclaimed production of A Christmas Carol at the Northcott in Exeter.

He’s also had a busy year filming for a new series on the BBC The White Princess , based on the Philippa Gregory book of the same name and Access All Areas , a film due out next year.

Derek added: “You get quiet patches where you won’t have a lot of work on, so that’s why I set up Ripples, to keep busy in between other jobs.

“But then you’ll have other times where it’s non-stop and you spend your week going from one job to the next, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

“My favourite role recently was Ebenezer Scrooge, which was the first in-house Christmas show for the Northcott since it re-opened.

“It was a huge success for them and it was great fun to do.

“It just left the audience in such a great festive spirit and me too, which is unusual because I think I am a bit like Scrooge with my bah-humbuging but I love doing Christmas shows because they are just so uplifting.”

Acting has always been Derek’s passion but he actually started out working as a chef.

He said he was inspired to go into acting by a former teacher but ended up starting out as a chef after a few mishaps.

“I loved cooking, but I knew I always wanted to go into acting.

“Unfortunately as they do, a few things happened when I was growing up so I decided to train and become a chef.

“I worked at a very well-known hotel in Devon and it was awful.

“The head chef was unbelievably abusive and the hours were so long.

“I ran a vegetarian bistro for a while in Plymouth and I enjoyed that so it’s definitely something for me to think about returning to perhaps.”

Around the World in 80 Days will be on at the Brewhouse Theatre in Taunton from December 9 until December 31.

Ticket prices and times vary.

You can get yours now at