An actor who has performed to thousands in the West End in London and across the UK says looking back he never realised just how lucky he was.
Sean Jones had been “kicked out” of Denbigh High School and was on jobseekers allowance aged 17 when he was accepted into stage school alongside a host of now-household names.
But even after graduating Sean says there were classmates that never got that all important first acting job.
“I was kicked out of Denbigh High School but had been involved with a youth theatre, the same one Rhys Ifans went to. It was a really good youth theatre. I managed to get into drama college, which was fortunate," Sean said.
“It was quite hard to get into drama college even then, thousands apply for those 24 places. But when you're young you don't realise how lucky you are.
“I was signing on at 17 in Denbigh, and I was on the youth training scheme at Theatr Clwyd as well but I always wanted to be an actor. It was the one thing I was good at.
“The thing is as an actor, you come out of drama college just hoping for a job. Getting into drama college was hard enough, but leaving and getting work is really hard
“Looking back I was there with Ewan MacGregor, Daniel Craig and Damian Lewis, but at the same time as those people who had massive success there are some that never got a job,
Having managed to get an understudy position on Blood Brothers in 1999, he eventually got the role of Mickey in 2002, fifteen years ago this week.
Sean added: “So I'm quite happy, I'm still working after all these years, and it helped me move back to Denbigh. I met my wife doing the show, we toured around for four years with our daughter who's at Ysgol y Parc where I went, so she's causing the same havoc that I did when I was there, and she got to be in panto with me, she's definitely following in my footsteps."
Blood Brothers follows twins separated at birth, one born into a working class family and another adopted into a middle class family.
Sean has performed the role of Mickey, the brother who says with his working class family in the west end and toured across the UK.
“It was a show I'd always seen and I'd always wanted to play Mickey and my agent managed to get me an audition,” he continued.
“I performed in the West End and was invited to do the last two weeks of the show there, they put together a special cast for it. It included me and a couple of those who'd done the Broadway show so that was quite special; to be in the last night of a show that big was a special occasion.
“I performed in Liverpool, that was a special Royal Gala performance for the 150th anniversary of live entertainment at Lime Street in Liverpool at the Empire Theatre last year with Prince Edward there.
“They decided to bring the show in for two weeks to mark the occasion. Ken Dodd, Les Dennis and various footballers I didn't recognise were there as well."
Since moving back to Denbigh with his family, Sean has set up The Denbigh Workshop which runs on Saturday mornings at Theatr Twm o'r Nant, not far from where he had his first taste of theatre.
“There was a production at the town hall of Dracula that I made my mum take me to age six; I was a strange child that was into horror films.
“Once I got cast in a school play I was like ‘oh, that explains everything, I'm an actor," Sean said.
“What I'm really excited about is that myself, my wife and a friend of hers have set up a this theatre company at Twm o'r Nant.
“We run the Saturday morning club there, which I teach at whenever I'm home, but also we take other projects on. Last week we did The Gruffalo with Ysgol Pendref, and we also have a project going into Dolwen to hear stories from the residents, it's really good to get involved bringing things back to Denbigh.
“We've a few kids that come that I remember them saying 'oh, I can't read'. Within a few sessions they can, they were just nervous to read in front of people,
“I've no intention of creating actors, we're just trying to get them to enjoy performing and theatre.
“We did A Child’s Christmas in Denbigh, which went down well. It's theatre for the community, we're not getting them doing West End theatre."