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Edinburgh Fringe role among his latest

By Margaret Chrystall

FOR Highland-based actor Gordon Ryde, a week on set with old-time saloons, cowboys and gunfights is just another week.

Gordon Taylor from Inverness – Ryde is his Equity name for acting – enjoyed the premiere in Aberdeen last week of Attack On Tranquility, the latest film to be shot in Alistair Baranowski’s frontier town near Huntly.

Gordon plays store keeper Twitchy Simpson and there are hopes the film will appear at film festivals, including in the north, later this year.

For Gordon from Alness, Twitchy is the latest role in a late-blooming acting career that has allowed him to develop his boyhood wish to be an actor.

Gordon was brought up near Sydney, Australia, but didn’t get the chance to pursue drama as a youngster.

But since moving back to the UK, Gordon has studied drama on the LAMDA course at Eden Court.

And he has become familiar to Highland audiences, having appeared in everything from The Diary of Anne Frank to Spamalot at the Florians Theatre and from Calamity Jane to The Wizard of Oz with the Inverness Musical Theatre.

Gordon said: “After graduating LAMDA Elite with distinctions at Eden Court, I was contacted by Attack On Tranquility’s director William Samson with the opportunity to be involved with a crew entering the Edinburgh 48hr Film Challenge.

“I thought it sounded interesting, so I made my way down to Kilmarnock and was introduced to the guys from Heel Films.

“They must have liked what I did over the weekend, because when they began working on the hard-hitting, Glasgow-based series The Business a little later in the year, they contacted me for a self-taped audition. I submitted it and got the part!”

Gordon Taylor as Twitchy Simpson.
Gordon Taylor as Twitchy Simpson.

Although Gordon works for NHS Highland he’s busy outwith his day job on other projects.

“A London casting agent once contacted me all the way up here to audition for a scene with actor Scarlett Johansson!

“Following on from some support artist work on The Angel’s Share, Outlander and Macbeth, I was an alien in a short sci-fi, a detective in a murder mystery on the Strathspey Railway, a fading rock musician in local film-maker Andrew Doig’s mockumentary, a historical provost for Highlife Highland, a pathologist in a Jan Vander film, and a World War I survivor in a retrospective interaction for Scottish Museums.

“I’ve been on a residency with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Scotland and even spent a week on stage in Eden Court with Scottish Ballet!”

Gordon is in the film Legacy for graduating film-maker Morvie Fik, due to be shown at selected film festivals.

“I am also currently rehearsing for a piece called Midges which is going to the Edinburgh Fringe in August, with Nick Fearn and Dingwall Players.”

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