Interview with actor William Pennington

Swallows & Amazons is currently playing at York Theatre Royal until 24th August. Take a look at this great Q&A with actor William Pennington to find out more about the show:

Are you a Swallow or an Amazon? Pick your tribe

I’m a Swallow!

Have you read the book/seen the film, TV or theatre version?

I’ve read the book a number of times, (it was my favourite book as a kid), I’ve seen the 2016 film and plan to watch the 1974 version before we begin.

What can you tell us about your character?

Roger Walker – So happy he’s not the youngest anymore and is simply excited to be a part of it! Incredibly observant, and always excited for adventure. He does first, and thinks later- as any young fearless children do.

What was your most adventurous school holiday?

I went to Peru with school, and we did quite a lot of charity work while we were out there, we also scaled a mountain to an altitude of 4,800 metres and trekked through the Amazon jungle! All when I was 16 – this began my love of travel.

How are you on boats and water?

I belong on boats and on the water, I’m a skilled surfer, windsurfer, sailor and waterski/wakeboard instructor and always wish to be either on or near the water. I’ve grown up with boats since I was a tiny kid and feel most at home there. I’m currently building a 15 foot Canadian canoe.

Tell us about your love of water

I began learning to waterski at the age of 7 and since then have become pretty highly skilled. You begin on 2 skis, then you learn to drop one ski, and then you start with just 1 (monoskiing) and this is where you can do slalom courses. This is what I coach privately, and I absolutely adore it. If I didn’t want to be an actor I would certainly be a waterski instructor in the Caribbean! I started Wakeboarding a little later in life, but now also coach beginners- intermediates. 

How do you prepare for your roles?

When I was preparing for the role of Ben Gunn for New Vic Theatre I wanted to understand the solitude he went through. So, I took my small boat and rowed out to Peel Island (the real Wildcat island) on Lake Coniston and stranded myself there for 4 days and 3 nights, with no phone or any way of reaching the outside world. I fished, swam round the island and discovered all its hidden gems, so I know it very very well.

Catch William starring in Swallows & Amazons at York Theatre Royal this summer!

Photograph credited to Anthony Robling

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