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Take 10: Paul Boyd, writer, composer and director

The 43-year-old is a writer, composer and director. His show Alice: The Musical runs at the Lyric Theatre, Belfast, until January 5

Paul Boyd
Paul Boyd

What is your earliest memory? I can remember sitting in my pram outside our first house in north Belfast, which overlooked the old Grove Theatre. Even my earliest memory is of being involved in the theatre.

Who is the most important person in your life?

My husband, Christopher.

Shock us - tell us something surprising about yourself?

I have an elementary certificate in the Highland bagpipes, a qualification I achieved aged nine or 10. It is one of my proudest musical achievements.

What is your greatest fear?

Like a lot of people, I don't like heights, but I don't know if that's my greatest fear. There is probably some deep, dark fear that I've pushed to the back of my mind.

What makes you most happy?

I am happiest when I am at work in a rehearsal room full of brilliant people, or alone in my studio writing. In real life, my husband also makes me very happy.

What is your biggest regret?

I really don't have regrets - they are a waste of energy. Regret nothing; you are who you are.

What's the most important lesson you have learned in your life?

My favourite quote, which I have above my desk, is attributed, perhaps erroneously, to Henry Ford: "If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses." I translate this as, don't ever give the audience what they are expecting.

How do you chill out?

My husband and I love to spend time at home in London, enjoying a good box set on TV and cooking fabulous meals. We also have a dog called Fearghus, and I walk him for a few hours every day, which is a great way to unwind and to get your ideas straight.

The book, the song and the film that means most to you and why?

The book would have to be Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, which was the basis for my show Alice The Musical and which has been part of my life for two decades now.

The show is celebrating its 20th anniversary and is back on stage at the Lyric, where it premiered all those years ago.

The song that means the most to me is For Once In My Life, which was written by Ron Miller and Orlando Murden for Motown Records, and is probably best-known for the hit version performed by Stevie Wonder - that's a song I wish I had written.

As for the film, it has to be my favourite movie of all time, Amadeus, which I saw as a child and which started my lifelong interests in Mozart, music and theatre.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be and why?

I wish I had the ability to keep working without stopping for sleep. I think I had that talent when I was in my 20s, but I've lost it somehow.

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