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May 14, 2016
Drama teacher took on 11,500-mile trip to see Jeremy Irons in Bristol Old Vic play Follow us: @WesternDaily on @TheRonnieRe
from New Zealand, had flown to England to see Jeremy Irons perform in A Long Day's Journey into Night at the King Street Theatre on Wednesday night. Unbeknown to him, his son Kiernan had contacted Irons, who surprised Mr File by inviting him into his dressing room for a chat after the performance.
Mr File taught drama in a high school in New Zealand for 40 years and as a retirement
gift to himself he wanted to see this classic play at the Bristol Old Vic with Jeremy as James Tyrone.
Kiernan wrote to the debonair star to tell him about his father's globetrotting trip.
The letter read: "I know he will appreciate the experience regardless. However, I was wondering whether there was any chance Mr Irons would be willing to briefly meet my father at the conclusion of the show? He doesn't know I have written this, so there is no pressure if this is not possible.
"I thought I would at the very least try as he has given so much to our family and to generations of drama students
in New Zealand, and asked for nothing in return.
"A surprise like this would make his trip."
Despite being exhausted at the end of the epic and heart-rending three hours 20 minutes show, Jeremy happily agreed to an audience with the long-serving teacher. Over a glass
of whiskey, the pair discussed the play and their mutual passion for the theatre and sailing.
After the meeting, Jeremy said: "We all have that one teacher who inspired us to become the people we are today. From reading his son's letter, it's obvious Gary File is one of those teachers to many of his students.
"I'm so pleased to be able to meet Gary and congratulate him on 40 years of teaching drama to young people. I wish him a very happy retirement and thank him for making the long journey from New Zealand to see us this evening."
A thrilled Gary added: "It was quite a surreal experience because when you've admired an actor since the 1980s and you finally go into a dressing room and meet them like that and they are so warm
and generous it takes your breath away.
"He was so kind and welcoming and interested in what someone like me had to say about the play – when you're talking to one of the world's premier actors it's remarkable. It was a bit hard to take in when I was first told I was meeting him after the show and it all happened so quickly."