Phantom of the Opera star is Norfolk theatre’s new patron
- Credit: Archant
A West End musical show star is the new patron of a Norfolk seaside theatre.
Killian Donnelly, who is currently starring as Jean Valjean in the West End production of Les Miserables, has given his backing to Sheringham Little Theatre, where he has written some of its pantomimes.
The Irishman has taking leading roles in a range of musicals - Billy Elliott, The Commitments, Memphis and Kinky Boots - in London and on New York's Broadway.
And it was an unlikely combination of Phantom of the Opera and panto which sparked a link between the Norfolk venue and the rising stage star.
Theatre director Debbie Thompson saw him as Raoul in the West End's Phantom with her daughter Katie who started following him on Twitter and discovered he also wrote pantos.
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The theatre tried to contact him about penning a festive fun show for Sheringham. But when there was no reply Miss Thompson cheekily messaged him directly on social media – and the star agreed.
Mr Donnelly, 33, said: 'It's a real honour for me to be a patron of Sheringham Little Theatre. Theatre for me has always been a very welcoming experience and environment and there's no better place than here.'
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He has written a trio of pantos for Sheringham since 2011 – fitting it in between shows and rehearsals on much bigger stages – and is providing the script for this year's Beauty and Beast.
Mrs Thompson said: 'We are so delighted to have this wonderful link with Killian and it has been amazing to see his career go from strength to strength. It is brilliant that he continues to support us even though he has been mega-busy with a series of starring roles in major shows.
'We were thrilled when he agreed to be a patron of the theatre too. Having backing from influential names in the showbiz industry underlines our reputation as more than just a small town theatre. Our summer repertory drama season is also well known throughout the industry across the UK – proving that the Little Theatre is bigger than people might think.'