David Payne is known for his acting career playing C.S. Lewis in productions like “Shadowland” and “An Evening with C.S. Lewis.”
Payne’s acting career started when he auditioned for a part in the play “Shadowland” while working in Nashville, Tennessee.
He had never had any acting experience before, but the audition sheet said, “British accents a help” and he said, “I thought, ‘well I have a British accent.’”
He thought he might try for a small role but then ended up getting the lead role of C.S. Lewis.
That was 20 years ago and since then he has written four other plays centered on C.S. Lewis. The most well-known being “An Evening with C.S. Lewis.”
Payne said that after playing C.S. Lewis he really started researching the man and decided to write the play “An Evening with C.S. Lewis.”
“People would come up to me and ask me questions about C.S. Lewis… and then one day I thought ‘gosh I think it would be fun if C.S. Lewis could answer those questions in a sort of play.’”
Payne said when writing the play he wanted to make sure that it accurately reflected Lewis.
“The play to me had to be about Lewis, about how he approached life,” Payne said. “It had to be fun, it had to have this journey, his incredible journey, from atheism to Christianity. It had to have something about his wife because she turned his life upside down. And it had to have something about how he coped with her death.”
Acting isn’t the only thing Payne has done.
Before his first audition he was a structural engineer, Christian youth worker, managing director in a publishing company, and a freelance marketer. But acting is something he is happy he has found.
“I’ve found the thing that would take me into my late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s with an enthusiasm that some people don’t get,” Payne said. “In a way it’s a strange story because I failed English in school. So here is a man who failed English who is writing plays.”
In a way, Payne’s story is an inspiration to anyone later in life who still hasn’t felt they have found their passion.
“People shouldn’t assume that the job they are in is the last or that there is not another area where they can excel,” Payne said. “Some people it will work for and some people it won’t.”