Composer Joe O'Connor on his perfect Surrey weekend
PUBLISHED: 16:50 18 July 2012 | UPDATED: 21:37 20 February 2013
Witley resident Joe O'Connor has just enjoyed the world premiere of his own theatrical production starring Richard E Grant, Triqueta, at Guildford Cathedral. Here he shares his experience of the county's pubs, walks and, er, superheroes
Originally published in Surrey Life magazine June 2012
Having been producing and composing music for over 20 years, Witley resident Joe OConnor has just enjoyed the world premiere of his own theatrical production starring Richard E Grant, Triqueta, at Guildford Cathedral. Here he tells Surrey Life about his experience of the countys pubs, walks and, er, superheroes
I wouldnt say Im a workaholic; however, my wife Olivia would probably disagree. Before our two boys, aged five and three, came along, it wasnt uncommon for me to work 12 to 18-hour days, seven days a week. Although I love what I do, Im pleased to say that Charlie and Jack have brought a balance to my life, which now allows me to enjoy my weekends, my surroundings and Surrey and in particular Witley, which is where we live.
Living on the common is fantastic. After breakfast on Saturday morning, the whole family, including our dog, Tilly, go for a walk there, surrounded by the splendour of the National Trust. Its peace and tranquillity is in complete contrast to my studio, which is often wall-to-wall with music ranging from compositions through to the latest productions for the large cruise ship companies, UK leisure parks and theatres.
The experience would be unadulterated bliss if it werent for the energy of the boys and the attention they attract from fellow walkers when dressed as Batman and Spiderman!
Perhaps one of Surreys most alluring features is its range of traditional pubs, and Witley and the surrounding areas have these aplenty. Our favourites are The Duke of Cumberland on the Surrey border and The Mulberry and The Swan, both of which are in neighbouring Chiddingfold. Well often meet family or friends there, too, before heading into Guildford for a spot of shopping.
Jack, the eldest, has now found tennis so Sunday mornings are spent taking him to lessons followed by swimming lessons for Charlie. By the time weve finished our home cooked Sunday roast and put the kids to bed, my wife and I are completely worn out. But we cant draw a close to the weekend without taking in the Sunday papers and watching the latest period drama.
Then its back to work on Monday. At the moment, Im working heavily on Triqueta, my own show, which debuts at Guildford Cathedral on Saturday June 16 starring Richard E Grant and featuring a 40-piece band, the guitarist from Guildfords Sons of Icarus, Lumina the laser violinist, world-class aerial act Valeria and TVs Zoe Tyler. The shows supporting cast includes Jacqueline Anderson, direct from Londons West End production of Wicked, Shonna Damms and Neil Couperthwaite, so theres lots of work and co-ordination ahead of the shows premiere.
The production has been described as War of the Worlds meets Riverdance and will be the first of a cathedral-only UK tour. The concept has evolved over the last few years in-between creating other productions such as Eclipse, Forbidden and Mirage on behalf of my production company, JMusic LTD.
Everyone involved in the show is really excited; however, its really tiring, which is what makes Surreys beauty, its pubs and its walks even if they are accompanied by superheroes even more special.