The London producer Thelma Holt was in New York a couple of weeks back, to look in on one of her plays but also to bring a briefcase full of postal voting forms in order to cajole the hordes of British actors treading the boards in Manhattan to participate in the UK general election. And on whose behalf was she going to all this trouble? “Who d’you think?” she retorted. “I wouldn’t be lugging the forms halfway round the world in order to get people to vote Tory.”

It’s perfectly reasonable for actors to be left-wing: most of them spend most of their time either unemployed or earning a pittance. At first, it’s not so bad: they have the same kind of seedy bedsits as their old school chums, who are training to be accountants, salesmen, lawyers, store managers. A few years on, the actor still has his seedy bedsit, while his pals have moved on to homes in the suburbs. A...


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