Christopher Power is somebody that I have known for a number of years and we worshipped at the same church for some time. Chris has an outstanding testimony and has written a book on his life entitled "Breaking Free From The Street To The Stage" (details give at the end). He has also just finished filming for Sky TV's 'The Mystery Files''. Chris as an actor has appeared a number of soaps including Coronation Street, Hollyoaks and Brookside and has also 'trodden the boards' in various Shakespeare plays. Many years ago, however, his life was far from the glamorous world the theatres and movie cameras. In the following testimony it describes how his life was at one time a complete mess and heading for disaster but following an encounter with an old school friend, his life changed dramatically:
Christopher grew up in Birkenhead and in his teenage years found himself entangled in teenage groups and crime resulting in prison sentences. Christopher's schooldays were "not as exciting as I expected." He says he would go out of his way to pick fights with teachers or "anyone in a uniform." And he says that from as early as eight years old, was sexually abused by both men and women even to the point of being taken into a garage lock up and molested.
"When I was a baby, there was a time when the entire family slept in the same bedroom above a taxi place in a two bedroom flat (apartment). We did not have a bath and running to the toilet at night was not fun as the toilet was in the yard." It was at this very place that Christopher recalls a tragedy that still haunts his father. "My dad had got involved in a fight and his friend was stabbed to death during it," he recalled. "My father had spent about 18 years in and out of Borstal (a youth prison) and later in adult prisons."
"I started stealing at the age of five and by the time I reached 11, I had become involved in gangs." Christopher recalled that Guy Fawkes Night or Bonfire Night was always a big occasion for him. "On that night, we would build barricades and throw bricks and bottles at other rival gangs," he continued, saying that by now his life had started taking an unfortunate turn for the worse. "Walking the streets and looking for others to fight with became a frequent occurrence," he said. As his young life continued in a downward spiral, he said that that 'solvents' became part of his life. "At around the age of twelve, glue sniffing was something I did for some time along with inhaling laughing gas," he went on to say.
It was not until the age of 18 that Christopher finally told his mum about being sexually abused. "I could have even been killed if I had ran away. I had such a deep hatred towards anyone in authority such as the police. They had arrested my dad for sticking a plastic shotgun through the letter box when I was eight, resulting in him being taken away." At school Christopher's simmering hatred was so intense that he says he would also "lash out" at his teachers. So by the age of 18, and by now incarcerated in an adult prison, Christopher life was a mess. The drugs had taken their toll; he was deeply scarred emotionally because of the abuse and had found himself locked up this time for stealing a cash box.
As the years went on, Christopher says that he found himself "in and out of Juvenile courts." He said, "I remember my dad coming to bale me out on many occasions. I was given community service, probation, attendance centre fines and then detention centre." Christopher recalls the moment that he was sent to Foston Hall, a Young Offenders Institution, located in the village of Foston in Derbyshire, England. It was also know as the "Short Sharp Shock," he said. Christopher went on to say, "I remember being sentenced and my heart sank as I was taken by a police officer who held tightly onto to my arm and told me not to 'run away.' He went on to say, "There was a Gideon Bible in the dormitory and I use to mark it with a piece of lead I had stolen from a pencil." "So here I was, locked up and I was lying on the bunk bed in the cell and I then cried out." But then came the turnaround in his life that was to change everything. By now he was back on the streets again.
"An old school friend called Jean Pierre approached me and asked if he could have a chat with me," he recalled. "We both went to a nearby churchyard, and he started talking about Christianity." From that moment on, many things started to change for Christopher.
As the months went by, he says he was slowly weaned off drugs, drinking, smoking and gambling.
Christopher went on to train at Richmond Drama School, then Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and finally at the Actors Studio UK - Drama Theory, based on the methods of Lee Strasberg. In 1997, through his determination, he gained an Oxford Diploma in acting.
"The very people that I had hated came into my path and I found myself befriending the police and teachers. Opportunities arose and I became a voice for young people talking at times to local councillors."
He concluded by saying, "I have been acting professionally for some time as well as writing a book and teaching young people how to act. I want to be a voice for those who have been sexually abused or involved in the lifestyle I was involved in. Christopher's full story can be read in his new autobiography called "Breaking Free From The Street To The Stage" published by O Books at £7.99 (ISBN: 978-1-84694-171-9) and also available from many good book shops in the UK.
It can be ordered also at:
Christopher can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org