Epsom College is known for its breadth of opportunity and academic excellence. Associations with armoured polar bears, portals to parallel worlds, and a plucky teenage heroine famed for her silver tongue have – until now – been less obvious.
However, eagle-eyed viewers the BBC’s adaptation of Philip Pullman’s epic fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials will have spotted OE Alan Pearce playing the part of Oxford physicist, Oliver Payne (see below).
Alan Pearce began his acting career while at Epsom in the 1990s. He adopted the stage name Robin Pearce and has taken a number of roles on TV series and feature films, including Star Wars: Rogue One, Darkest Hour and Black Mirror.
In his time at the College, Alan was House Prefect, recipient of a Dodd Speech and Reading Prize, Needham and Vardon Award, the Ann Hood Prize, attained a silver DoFE, and played hockey and rugby.
However, it was on the stage that Alan truly shone, as the following snippets from various reviews demonstrate:
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1995)
“Alan Pearce’s truly outstanding performance as Oberon gave the play one of its strongest touchstones. His maturity, stage presence and effortless delivery gave cohesion to the plot and strong support for some other excellent performances.”
“The central role of Salieri, who both narrates and takes part in the action proper throughout, cries out for bravura acting, and this is what we got from Alan Pearce. Such an assured performance was astonishing from one so young and, no doubt with A-levels and the like to distract him, a tour-de-force of sustained concentration. I understand he wishes to pursue a career on the stage and quite right too.”
Another Country (1997, Rosebery House play)
“Alan Pearce, fresh from his triumph as Salieri, created a superb sensual, selfish and wilful Bennett, reaching an emotional peak in the last scene that was heart-stoppingly convincing.”