Young actor lands role in Curve production of Piaf
Sean Dodds knew he wanted to be an actor when, as an eight-year-old, he played a policeman in a holiday club play in Majorca.
Since then, he has appeared as Bill Sykes in a community production of Oliver!, graduated from performing arts school and worked in pantomime.
But next week, the 19-year-old, from Groby, will find himself playing opposite award-winning West End and Broadway star Frances Ruffelle in Piaf at Curve, Leicester.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the death of French singer Edith Piaf, known as the Little Sparrow, who rose from the streets of Paris to the international stage.
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Sean, who graduated from the Leicester School of Performing Arts last summer, plays three roles.
He said: "Piaf is a gripping play with music. I play a waiter, a German soldier and Piaf's agent.
"I play opposite Frances Ruffelle, who is Piaf. It is a remarkable experience and a great opportunity for me. It is wonderful working with artistic director Paul Kerryson and such a talented cast."
Sean is now based in London. While at school at Groby Community College, he took part in productions and attended sessions at the Stagecoach school run in the village by his mother.
But his professional bow in the city later this month is not his first appearance at the venue.
He appeared in Curve community productions as Bill Sykes in Oliver! and as Riff, the gang leader of the Jets, in West Side Story.
That is where he was noticed by Paul Kerryson, who called him for an audition. Sean said: "The trouble was, I was working in pantomime as Mother Goose in Chesterfield over Christmas.
"Every time he suggested a time and venue I was working or looking for a flat in London."
In the end, he was offered a place in the cast anyway.
Sean said: "Obviously, my work in the community productions had served as auditions.
"We are all working hard and things seem to be coming together well. There are scenes which are very funny and others which are very sad."
The original production of Piaf, by English playwright Pam Gems, was at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1979.
A spokesman for Curve said: "In this new production, Pam Gems's play brings to life and celebrates the story of one of France's greatest cultural figures.
"It charts her life from street performer to worldwide fame, and includes some of Piaf's greatest songs, such as La Vie en Rose, Mon Dieu, Hymne á l'Amour and the famous Non, Je Ne Regrette Rien.
"More than 100,000 people brought Paris to a standstill on the occasion of her untimely death 50 years ago in 1963."
The singer died at the age of 47.
The spokesman added: "This mesmerising tale explores the sensational highs and lows of this enigmatic and world-renowned artist who is revered and much loved to this day."
The production opens on February 26, with previews from tomorrow, and runs until March 16.
The spokesman said: "Planning is under way for a national tour of the production, following the performances at Curve.
"Full details will be confirmed at a later date."