FROM the stage to the classroom and, after 25 years, back to the stage, the journey of Martin McNally.

Weaverham resident Martin, 49, teacher at St Matthews Catholic Primary School in Liverpool, starred in the play Fredonia at the Liverpool Everyman, and now is getting ready for their anniversary performance at the Liverpool Adelphi.

The production also stars George Wilson, from Grange Hill and Brookside, and Martin is looking forward to the reunion with the memory of the show’s initial run still fresh in his mind.

“The writer saw me in another play, I was in one with his girlfriend called The Crucible at the Everyman back in the early 90s.” Martin said.

“He invited me round to show me the treatment for Fredonia, it was only eight pages at the time but I was blown away by the story.

“We padded it out and worked on it further and the more he told me the more I was hooked on it.”

The show was well received by audiences.

“Everywhere we went we had standing ovations, the highlight of my brief acting career was a 10-minute standing ovation at the Liverpool Everyman,” said Martin.

Revisiting a show after so long has provided Martin with challenges, but he feels the qualities of the script are as relevant as ever.

“The first thing I was worried about was whether I could still do it, I was originally doing it when I was 25 and now I’m doing it on the eve of my 50th birthday playing the same character,” he said.

“Although the three main actors are back together, we’ve got four new actors in the show and they’ve been howling with laughter at what we’re up to so that’s always a good sign.

“I was a little bit concerned about the jokes being a bit dated but it’s just good, honest family fun. It doesn’t try to be clever or pretentious it just stays true to the story.

“We’re putting it on at the Adelphi mainly to see if we can still do it but we also couldn’t get any theatre space for 18 months.

“Learning the lines has been like pulling teeth.

“People have said to me ‘you must remember the lines’. How can I when it was 20 odd years ago? There’s a song I don’t even remember and apparently I brought the roof down at the Liverpool Everyman and I still don’t remember that.

“We’re having a good laugh and we’re not taking ourselves too seriously. It’s quite a physical performance, there’s a lot of running around on stage and there’s a little bit of climbing and running through the crowd at one point.

“Because my character doesn’t know what to expect, I’m carrying two huge suitcases and a man bag so throughout the show I’m carrying all that luggage.”

The play has had an enormous impact on Martin’s life, not only did he meet his wife because of Fredonia, it also showed him a new career path.

Martin said: “My wife was in the audience at the Everyman. At the time I knew who she was but we’d never spoken and that gave us the reason to speak and get to know each other and here we are now.

“The play was responsible for me becoming a schoolteacher because when we toured it in South Wales, to generate local interest in the show, we cast local children in the play. There are a couple of young child parts in the production.

“When I did workshops with children it gave me the idea of becoming a teacher. Initially I wanted to be a drama teacher but I ended up being a primary school teacher and I’ve never looked back.

“It’s changed my life. Three years ago our headteacher put me in charge of the end of year school production, I was drawing on my own experience to get the children to give the best that they could give.

“It gave me the itch to get back to it myself and I kept saying to my wife that I definitely had one more play in me.”

Fredonia is back on at the iconic hotel from Thursday, April 19 to Saturday, April 21.