David Munns (DM): Hi. My name is David Munns. Uhh I’m a writer, an actor, a magician and also I’ll be 45 in September. I’ve done so many things with uhh Spare Tyre I don’t know where to begin.

Right, how I got involved. It was due to something else I had done with another croup called uhh “Theatre Train” and I’d done a play with them call uhh. Well it was a project that Spare Tyre and whatitsname it was one of the first things they’d done it was called “Restless Hearts” and David Kay was in that play and uhh quite a number of other people. A few years later I was told about Spare Tyre and uhh I decided to join. I did an audition for you guys and got in.

“Ridiculous Recipes” I enjoyed because it was umm because it was to do with the uhh work of Edward Lear. “Tempest” I played Ariel… to play an ethereal creature. I saw him very much as a Jeeves like butler. That was a good experience. “Catch me a Dream” which was a musical

Arti Prashar (AP): Ahh yes.

DM: I liked, I liked that. I liked me- because I’ve always liked musicals. Being David Munns

AP: Okay

DM: Was a sort of art installation. People who stepped into the art installation had to put on a mask. A mask of my face. Had to put on a mask of my face which was a sort of photo cut out. It was sort of what it was like to me basically and it talked about art and design and uhh and my love of books and uhh my love of magic and it spoke all about all the things that I was passionate about. The main theme being uncertainty. Without uncertainty there would be no certainty and you can quote me on that. And that was in “I’m an Artist let me in!” When you first saw me do magic

AP: Yeah

DM: But I’d been doing magic for quite a long time
AP: Yes

DM: At rehearsals I’d sometimes do a few tricks and well

AP: You would. I think it actually also surfaced in “Arabian Nights”

DM: Arabian Nights and Days

AP: Yes, is when we first realised actually that you were doing magic.

DM: Yes

AP: Because you played

DM: Because I played a wizard, because I played the caliph’s wizard because I played the caliph’s wizard

AP: In that

DM: and that was a role I really enjoyed

AP: Yes, we managed to get to BBC Radio Drama and we created scripts

DM: Yes

AP: Can you remember what you did there?

DM: “Morgan’s Lake” I thought of a story about these two brothers. Basically they’re talking about rumours about what’s in the lake. It was something I’d always wanted to do actually. I felt that it was a very, I felt that it was very pro- I felt very professional and uhh I knew exactly what I was doing and I knew exactly what I was doing and I felt yes I was in control. I knew exactly what I was doing

AP: So you’ve recently been doing umm a show with Fauve Alice uhh

DM: Yes

AP: and Ellie Mason umm and it’s called “Nights at the Circus”
DM: I was playing two different characters. One male one female and for the second half of the play I was all female uhh but I sort of, I saw it as sort of doomed lo- Evina and professor, Doctor Mephistopheles, I saw it as a sort of doomed love affair. I’d always wanted to do dr- but then I’d always wanted to do drag. It was something that I’d wanted to do since I was uhh well for a long time actually. It’s just that I’m a I’m a many sided dice (laughs) and when you roll me you never know what you’re going to get.

AP: Ahh

DM: And when you roll me you never know what you’re going to get.

AP: So I I know you don’t really like the term learning disability for yourself

DM: I’m not really a fan of, I’m not really a fan of labels per se to be quite ho- the labels I do like are writer, actor, magician. Those are labels I can live with.

AP: How do you respond to the fact that people do see you as an artist with learning disabilities?

DM: I try not to think about it. The barrier is in fact in other peoples’ minds and how they perceive. Sometimes the barrier is more to do with perception than reality.

AP: What were your hopes when you umm went to audition for, at that time?

DM: Well basic- well I didn’t really have a plan. I didn’t really have a plan. I was a bit desperate at the time. Well Oakside was closing down. Oakside was a sort of employment kind of training kind of place but

AP: For adults with learning disabilities?

DM: Yes and they were train- and basically they were doing they were basically getting you to package stuff in bags and st- stuff like that. It was a bit demoralising to be quite honest with you and frustrating and frustrating at times. I think there are people who still need help but you should look at it on more of a case by case basis and say “this person needs this type of help and that kind of person needs that type of help” but just try to see the person. But don’t sort of like, in other words don’t make assumptions which is something we all do. Don’t make assumption! In other words don’t make assumptions. For example you may see two, you may see a ma- someone holding a spoon. Now, if someone holds a spoon in this way nobody holds a spoon in this way normally but you see this part of the spoon you see this part of the spoon and you think you’re seeing a solid spoon but then the person holds it and the spoon starts bending in the middle and then it falls apart. You think “how are they able to do that?” when in fact they’re not holding a spoon. They are holding a spoon but a spoon that’s been cut in the mid- that’s already been cut in the middle. They see this bit, they see this bit and they think they’re seeing a whole spoon. But they’re not. As I always say “mind the gap.” Right just a quick thing uhh with the cards uhh. I’ve got here the queen and the king. Now I’ll place, now I want you to place the king and the queen anywhere in the deck.

AP: These two?

DM: These two, the king and queen.

AP: Anywhere, separately or together?

DM: Anywhere in the deck, separately.

AP: Okay, okay.

DM: Okay. Now you’ve placed them in two different parts of the deck. In fact I’m going to make it even harder by shuffling the cards. Going to make this even harder by shuffling the cards. Now neither of us knows where those two cards are in the deck. Right? But watch. One, two, three.

AP: (laughs) Okay, very well done (laughs)

DM: Thank you.

AP: Thank you for sharing that with us and thank you very much for speaking with me today.

DM: Thank you.

AP: You’re very welcome

David has been one of our regular artists for almost 20 years. He took part in our inc.Theatre program in 2002, and more recently performed in Nights at the Circus co-produced by us and Fauve Alice.

David spoke to us about pre-conceptions and labels, as well as some of his favourite roles.