Born and raised on a sheep farm in the hills of North Wales, the youngest of four children. I was never interested in farming and focused all my energy and attention on acting, singing, dancing... and annoying my siblings, which all came pretty naturally to me. My Dad’s side of the family are all Welsh language speakers and my entire school education was through Welsh - I even learned French through Welsh...which is why I speak no French!
I left home at sixteen to study acting and musical theatre professionally in London and upon graduating began working on a variety of different stage and screen work. I toured the UK playing brother Caleb in Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, then joined the original West End cast of Monty Python’s SPAMalot as a swing (understudying all ensemble roles). After that I joined the West End production of Wicked understudying the role of Fiyero. It was during this time that I realised I really wanted to play more principal roles.
Soon after, I played Troy Bolton in the original London stage production of High School Musical, which is still one of my favourite jobs to date. Picture a group of young enthusiastic actors getting to perform what was, at the time a phenomenally successful movie, as a live production on stage to 3500 audience members, nine times a week for nine weeks during a beautiful summer of sunshine in London. It cemented in my brain that playing lead roles is what I wanted to do more of, although I still felt I had a whole lot more to learn. What I've realised in recent years is that you never stop learning which is why, for me, I keep enjoying the craft.
It came as a huge surprise to me that the next thing I was to be involved with was a reality TV show! ‘Eurovision - Your Country Needs You’. A nationwide talent search for an act that would represent the UK at the 2009 Eurovision Song Contest in Moscow. It was a weekly live show on BBC1 hosted by Graham Norton. I reached the final live show and was placed 3rd after the public vote. It is still one of the most intense and incredible experiences I’ve had in my life, although I can't imagine watching myself on that show now that it's years later. I keep those DVD's hidden away!
From then on my career and my life suddenly became a lot busier. I was doing many concerts and TV appearances, particularly in Wales. I continued my theatre work with a tour of the country playing Brad Majors in The Rocky Horror Show for a couple months before taking on the iconic role of Curly McLain in Rogers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma! on the UK tour. It was between these two jobs that I’d arranged a week off to visit New York City for the first time. I travelled alone, as it was always on my bucket list to do so. I was immediately captured by the infectious, ambitious, inspiring energy of the place. It’s funny, when I think back to the wide eyed young man who visited back then, I don’t think he ever noticed the horrific stench of the trash, the infuriating amount of meandering pedestrians, the loud obnoxious honking of horns from the aggressive, impatient taxi drivers or the very inconsistent transport system. Of course he didn’t, it was ALL new and wonderful and exciting - but I suppose the fact that those things REALLY irritate me now just confirms my status as an official New York City resident-which makes me proud.
I returned from that trip with a very specific career goal in mind - “I want to experience living and working in New York City” (I never thought at that time I would move here permanently) - I told my agent my plan and we decided to just take our time carving a career that would hopefully eventually take me to the US for some period of time. That was the thought at the back of my mind that fuelled my passion and energetic approach to my career for the next few years.
After a great nine months on the road with Oklahoma! I returned to the West End production of Wicked, to play the role of Fiyero. I loved being back in the show - it was nice to come full circle and make such a familiar role my own. During my time with the show I recorded and released my debut album ’The Journey Home’ which was a bi-lingual (Welsh/English) semi-autobiographical album based on my life up to that point. I later released an all english version of the album titled ‘The Journey Home - Deluxe Edition’ which also featured a new duet of the song ‘Unchained Melody’ with Siobhan Dillon who was my co-star in my next venture after Wicked which was playing the role of Sam Wheat in the West End production of Ghost The Musical - A stage version of the iconic film ‘Ghost’ which starred Patrick Swayzee and Demi Moore.
Ghost was one of the most fulfilling and challenging jobs of my career. I was so proud to be a part of it. I had decided when watching the original cast that I wanted that to be my next job-I even bought a guitar and learned to play what the character plays on stage and told my agent “I have to play this role!” - And it happened. I felt very fortunate because usually things like that seldom work out because the stars have to align for everything to work out right at the right time. But it did and I loved it.
After finishing that job and a quick three week trip to do an awesome concert in Shanghai I was flown over to the US to star as Elder Price in the multi-award-winning musical The Book Of Mormon. I joined the First National touring production of the show originally for just six months but stayed with the show a year and a half in total and had the time of my life. When I decided to hang up my Mormon underwear and leave the show I had visited more than 36 cities in 26 states which was a life changing experience in many ways and was the perfect way to adjust to American life.
I applied for (and was granted) my green card during my time on the road which meant that I could make that goal of mine a reality and move to New York City. I didn’t think, when I took on Elder Price for six months that it would ultimately result in me staying in America and living here permanently, basing my entire life here from then on. It was the best decision I could have made because regardless of the fact that I miss my family, friends and London a tremendous amount, this city is definitely where I want and need to be, for the foreseeable future at least.
Once I’d settled into New York living in August of 2014, I decided to take a few months off from auditioning and working and decided to focus instead on enhancing my skill set and tapping into more of the artistic side of my life - allowing myself to fall deeper in love with the art of acting, because, truth be told I was a little burned out after years of performing in long running productions - which admittedly I had wanted years ago but I also allowed myself to declare “I need a break”! I loved it! I basically started training again - voice lessons, acting classes, on-camera coaching, dialect sessions, every type of dance class, as well as boxing, yoga and pilates. I enjoyed much more of a social life and travelled more and enjoyed friends. It was an incredible thing to do after working constantly for ten years, to basically have an extra six months of training, working with teachers and coaches who I got to hand pick to take my work to the next level.
With a new inspired energy and focus I started auditioning again and loved being cast in various readings, and workshops because being part of the collaborative, creative, artistic process filled me with inspiration and joy. I have worked on numerous productions in and around New York since then. I played Cal Chandler in Signature Theatre’s The Fix, Don Lockwood in North Shore Music Theatre’s Singin’ In The Rain and Radames in AIDA at Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera. I made my New York City debut in the Irish Repertory Theatre’s sell out production of Finian’s Rainbow in the role of Og - I imagine I was the tallest lephrechaun ever to exist at 6”2 - with green hair, no less.
I thoroughly enjoyed playing Mathieu Dreyfus in The Dreyfus Affair at BAM in Brooklyn which was perhaps the most creatively alternative experience I’ve had. Immediately following that job I played Bert in the Paper Mill Playhouse’s production of Mary Poppins. I absolutely loved every minute of that awesome show. Working with extremely grounded, nice people who are at the top of their game always fills me with joy and that's exactly what Mary Poppins was, a joy from day one to closing night.
I enjoyed working on more screen work here too, between the CBS pilot of ‘Instinct’, Groth in the feature length Indy film ‘Tower of Silence’, Brett in Syfy’s ’Lake Placid 3’ and Chad in the short film ‘Dead Hungry’.
One thing I have yet to mention is that for the past fifteen years I’ve developed a huge passion for teaching and promoting youth theatre. I have taught and lectured at many theatre schools, colleges and universities in London, all over the UK and here in States too. I founded and directed a musical theatre summer school, ‘West End In Wales’ which ran annually from 2006 until I moved to the US in 2012. The summer school gave young talent between the ages of 10-18 the opportunity to work closely with West End professionals to create an impressive hour-long showcase after just five days of rehearsal. The original idea behind it was to create something I wish I’d have had access to growing up in that area. I will always be very proud of that school and will, I'm sure, be establishing something similar in the future over here in the US.
In the summer of 2015 myself and my good friend and Wicked co-star Louise Dearman co-authored a musical theatre advice book titled ’Secrets Of Stage Success’ - answering many questions about the industry that are often left unanswered, whether that be in training, performing, rehearsing or surviving the inevitable rejection that we all deal with in this inconsistent life as artists.
I’m a permanent faculty member at Anthony Meindl’s Actor Workshop (AMAW) here in New York as well as being a student there myself and I credit this studio for taking my acting work to the next level. The most powerful and useful thing I like to remind people about acting is that there is ABSOLUTELY NO CORRECT WAY TO DO IT! Celebrating and honouring your individuality by authentically being yourself in the work and in life will always result in a more rewarding and fulfilling experience for yourself and all involved.
Being a professional in this industry can be rewarding and challenging all at the same time with a bucket full of other feelings thrown in for good measure, but the thing I connect with most is the ability to use my skills as an actor, singer, dancer - as an artist - to express myself fully through the art and by doing this hopefully having an effect on an audience in a great number of ways.
"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up" - Pablo Picasso
I'm trying Picasso, I'm trying!