CLIVE Brill and I are sat outside of Emma's Kitchen cafe next to the McGrigor Hall in Frinton when a woman from across the road calls out.

She's annoyed because someone has parked across her drive.

I ask Frinton Summer Theatre's new artistic director and producer whether the car is his, and he smiles.

"No, that's my car," he grins, pointing to the most spectacular old black Citroen DS right next to us with a sign on top advertising Frinton Summer Theatre.

I smile back. Of course it is!

As if the cool car isn't enough to endear him to everyone he meets, we're joined by the summer theatre's newest member of staff, Clive's new puppy, Django, who rustles underneath our table as we sit and have our chat.

This is in actual fact Clive's second season in charge of the old summer rep, one of the last of its kind in the country, and despite being a relative newbie, in Frinton terms, the seaside town has taken him well and truly to their hearts.

Clive himself fell in love with the place a few years before that in 2012 when after more than 25 years not on the stage he decided to re-tread the boards.

"It was a chance encounter at a party in London," he tells me. "That's where I met Ed Max (Frinton's former artistic director) and I managed to persuade him to give me an audition for that coming season. After a bit of blagging I got a part in Charley's Aunt. I was even more fortunate because one of the actors who was supposed to be in the opening show Art, dropped out at the last minute, so I got to be in that as well.

"I had never been to Frinton before and the only thing I knew about it was that my wife's first boyfriend had brought her down here once to go to the tennis. But when I got here I instantly fell in love, not just with the town itself, but the whole vibe of the place and of course the summer theatre. The national anthem, the raffle, the Friends, who are so loyal and encouraging. There was a magical feel to it all that was terribly infectious."

But while Clive has embraced all the glorious quirkiness of Frinton and it's wonderful summer rep, he's also on a bit of a mission to put his mark on it, only a little bit mind you.

"What I don't want to do is alter the reason I fell in love with it in the first place," he says. "But there are some things, like making the stage a foot longer and bringing in better seating to make the experience more enjoyable.

"One of the great things about Frinton is that it has been, quite famously, the starting point for many actors to go on and have great careers. The likes of Anthony Sher, Lynda Bellingham, and I want to continue that by bringing more people in. One of the first things I did was go back to the actors union Equity and get what's called a 'House Agreement' so that actors can get credited for performing here but I also wanted to employ more actors. I didn't want us to be prevented from putting on any play because of the cast size and the opening show to this season, Whose Life Is It Anyway showed that."

Under Clive, the season has also expanded in terms of extra gala shows, music nights and even a musical theatre production. This year that's Oliver, which, teaming up with Mission Week again, will take place in the Main Tent at the Greensward end of Connaught Avenue over the weekend of August 5 and 6.

But perhaps the highlight of the whole season is a special fundraising show from the Summer Theatre's new patron Richard Wilson, which will be a performance of one of the episodes of One Foot in the Grave, which the actor is then taking up to the Edinburgh Festival.

Clive adds: "It's a real coup for us because we'll have it here before anyone else sees it. The episode runs like a monologue so it will be really good fun and after Richard has performed it in Frinton the very next day he'll be performing it in Edinburgh. We're very lucky because Richard is doing it all for free as a fundraiser for the Lynda Bellingham Frinton Summer Theatre Debut Fund, The Friends of Frinton Theatre and the McGrigor Hall."

His passion for the theatre is infectious and quite natural when you discover what an effect it has had on his life. For a start it's where Clive met his wife.

"It was the classic beginning with an inspirational English teacher called Colin Vine," he says. "He plays like the Royal Hunt of the Sun by Peter Shaffer and then War and Peace. I played the part of Pierre Bezukhov and the woman who played the part of Natasha is now my wife. She was at the girl's grammar and I was at the boy's. That's where we met."

Born in Stoke Newington but brought up in Redbridge, after leaving school Clive went to Oxford where he continued performing but after graduating it was producing he turned to rather than acting working first for BBC Radio and then BBC Television before setting up his own company seven years ago.

"Since then I've done a bit of telly acting," he adds, "but it wasn't until I got back on that Frinton stage that I got back to the acting I really love.

"Now one of the benefits of producing the season is I can put myself in some of the plays, which unfortunately I've not been able to do this year because it's been so busy but next year I'm definitely coming back."

Frinton Theatre - the rest of the season

Until Tomorrow - The Farndale Ave. Housing Estate Townswomen’s Guild Dramatic Society’s Murder Mystery

Sunday - Comedy Night at the Red Lion pub, Kirby-le-Soken

August 2 to 6 - Laurel and Hardy

August 5 to 6 - Oliver in the Greensward Marquee

August 9 to 13 - A Match Made in Heaven

August 14 - Gala Night with Richard Wilson as Victor Meldrew

August 16 to 20 - Hay Fever

August 23 to 27 - I Love, You're Perfect, Now Change

August 28 - Music Night with jazz funk band Crinkle Cuts at the Lock and Barrel pub

For more information go on-line at or call the box office on 01255 676656.