Ex-Spalding Grammar School Head Boy is on tour with The Handlebards

HANDLEBARDS TOUR: Paul Hilliar who has gone from Spalding Grammar School, Limelight Youth Theatre and St Nicholas Players to taking Shakespeare on tour to India and Malaysia this autumn.
HANDLEBARDS TOUR: Paul Hilliar who has gone from Spalding Grammar School, Limelight Youth Theatre and St Nicholas Players to taking Shakespeare on tour to India and Malaysia this autumn.
  • Proud mum sees son through tough times to better ones

An ex-Spalding Grammar School Head Boy is now bringing Shakespeare to audiences in Malaysia.

Paul Hilliar (26) is on tour with four-man acting troupe The Handlebards, performing 15 shows in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, and on the island of Penang.

After his first acting role at primary school, Paul went on to join Spalding’s Limelight Youth Theatre and St Nicolas Players, before gaining a First Class Degree in English and Drama at Sheffield University.

Paul said: “I did some drama at Spalding Grammar School but the first time I ever performed was aged 11 at Spalding Parish Day School.

“I remember really enjoying the role performing and I got a real buzz from it.

“Although it lay dormant for a while, I think deep down I always knew I should be an actor.

Although it lay dormant for a while, I think deep down I always knew I should be an actor

Paul Hilliar, ex-Spalding Grammar School Head Boy and member of The HandleBards

“After spending three years performing in student productions, I decided to go to the Oxford School of Drama which was amazing training.

“The moral of the story is follow your heart, but don’t worry about changing your mind.”

Paul’s acting career has been followed, through good times and bad, by mum Freda who said: “I did wonder whether he would ever get an acting job.

“There were times when he felt a bit despondent, but he was invited to audition for The HandleBards in April and he got the job.

“Acting is very precarious but ever since he was in Year 6 at Spalding Parish Day School, where Paul played The Mayor in The Pied Piper of Hamlyn, he’s loved it.

“After his time at university and drama school, I’m a proud mother because Paul is part of The HandleBards.”

Paul said: “When I left Spalding Grammar School, I had no real idea what I wanted to pursue.

“We were all encouraged to go to university but drama school never came into my radar.

“So initially I went to university and studied Maths.

“But I didn’t last long and it soon became clear that this wasn’t in my heart.

“I changed course to study English literature and after spending three years performing in student productions, I decided - finally - to go to drama school.

“My family have been hugely supportive across the whole process, both in terms of encouragement and financial support.

“I would not be here were it not for them.”

Acting honour for Spalding’s Paul