Bar manager is internationally acclaimed actor

Stephen Humpage
Stephen Humpage

He might be best known to locals as duty manager at a Cumbernauld pub, but Stephen Humpage is also an award-winning actor.

When not pulling pints at the Carrick Stone, the 25-year-old Glaswegian can often be found wowing audiences around the world.

His recent performance in the one-man play, Thief, at the United Solo Theatre Festival in New York saw him receive their Best Emerging Actor award.

“Thief is a very dark, intense, graphic play,” said Stephen. “It’s a very challenging piece of theatre which explores sexuality and power, and makes audiences re-evaluate their own beliefs and thinking.”

Written by Liam Rudden, the acclaimed play focuses on the character of Sailor, who becomes a male prostitute who also steals from his clients, and things only get darker from there.

“Sailor was once in the Merchant Navy but adopted prostitution, but he fails to get fulfilment from that and turns to stealing. For him it is all about empowerment and having power over others, that is what motivates him.”

Stephen, who also trained as a dancer and singer before graduating from GAMTA in 2013, first played Sailor in 2014 in Brighton and has since taken it to two Edinburgh Festivals.

“The award represents a bit of recognition after years of hard work,” said Stephen. “I am very honoured and humbled to have won, I didn’t even know I was nominated until it was announced. When I look at the big names who have previously won awards at the festival I feel very privileged to be among them.”

Stephen’s other main theatre project is I Ran With the Gang - a play based around the life of Bay City Roller Alan Longmuir, which is also written by Liam Rudden. Stephen has been a cast member since last year and highlights for him include a trip to Toronto for a fan festival and performances in Glasgow’s Armadillo and at the Local Hero Awards in Edinburgh.

In addition to having a small role in Sunshine on Leith, Stephen has also worked on a couple of Scottish feature films which will soon be released. The first is Kingdom: Fall of Illandrieal, an epic fantasy which will appeal to fans of Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings, and a crowdfunded sci-fi short, Tellurian, which is inspired by 1980s genre films and TV. “That one was a lot of fun,” said Stephen. “I got to run around with a gun shooting aliens.”

Stephen feels that independent film production in Scotland is on the rise, but hopes to see more big studios on location here. “It’s easier to get independent films seen now than it has ever been, thanks to the rise of new media platforms helping small studios get their work out there. I’m not sure major studios are taking enough of an interest in Scotland at the moment though. There’s Outlander of course, but not a lot else right now.”