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Second comings: the artists who found success the long way round

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Ever dreamed of packing it all in and becoming an artist? Meet four people who prove it’s never too late to follow your heart – from the sociologist bagging poetry prizes in her 60s, to the surgeon wowing audiences at the National

A few years ago, Prasanna Puwanarajah was about to step out on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company when a member of the audience fainted. Puwanarajah, who trained as a surgeon before embarking on a second career as an actor, director and playwright, was called out from backstage to help. “I was playing the priest in Twelfth Night,” he says. “I was in full Greek Orthodox costume. I came out into the foyer, and the lady who had fainted took one look at me and said, ‘It’s a very good service here, isn’t it?’”

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