Patrick Stewart was born in Mirfield on 13 July, 1940. His parents did not give him any middle name.
Mirfield is a town in the West Riding of Yorkshire, England.
Mother: Gladys Stewart, née Barrowclough. She was a weaver and textile worker.
Father: Alfred Steward (1905-1980). He was a regimental sergeant major in the British Army, and worked as a general labourer and as a postman.
Patrick had two older brothers: Geoffrey (b. 1925) and Trevor (b. 1935).
Patrick was born in Yorkshire but spent much of his childhood in Jarrow, a town in North East England. The family was poor and the father was violent. As an adult, Patrick Stewart would state that his father suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (”combat fatigue”) from his wartime experience during the Dunkirk evacuation.
Patrick was educated at the Crowlees Church of England Junior and Infants School in his birthtown Mirfield. There, his English teacher Cecil Dormand encouraged him to read and perform Shakespeare.
In 1951, the eleven year old Patrick entered Mirfield Secondary Mondern School. Around this time, he befriended Brian Blessed at a drama course in Mytholmroyd, West Yorkshire, and they have been friends ever since.
Patrick Stewart left school at the age of 15. He put more time into the local theatre, and also got a job at the local newspaper Mifrield & Ditrict Reporter, where he was both a reporter and an obituary writer. After a year, his employer forced him to chose between journalism and the stage, and Patrick chose the stage. According to one of his brothers, the ultimatium was the result of Patrick´s tendency to attend stage rehearsals during worktime instead of doing his job as a news reporter.
Eventually, Stewart and his friend Blessed both recieved grants that made it possible for them to attend the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School in South West England.
Acting career prior to Star Trek
As a budding actor, Patrick Stewart was a part of Manchester’s Library Theatre, before joining the Royal Shakespeare Company where he would reamin more or less full-time from 1966 to 1982. In the early 1980s, he moved to the Royal National Theatre, but his strong ties with the Royal Shakespeare Company remained and he is highly active in the Company.
Stewart´s Broadway debut happened in 1970, when Peter Brook directed a much-praised version of Shakespeare´s ”A Midsummer Night´s Dream” with John Kane as Puck, Frances de la Tour as Helena, Ben Kingsley as Demetrius and Patrick Stewart as Snout.
The young Patrick Stewart much preferred classical theatre over other genres, but did nonetheless take roles in non-classical production for TV and cinnema now and then over the years. In his TV debut, he played a fire officer on the British soap opera Coronation Street, and in David Lynch´s movie Dune from 1984 we can see him in the role of Gurney Halleck.
A few examples of his other roles from this period:
- Vladimir Lenin in Fall of Eagles
- Sejanus in I, Claudius
- Karla in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
- Cladius in Hamlet (1980 BBC adaptation)
- Dr Edward Roebuck in Maybury
- King Leondegrance in Excalibur