James is Jamie is his big moment on the Hove stage

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James Kiley is ready to step up for the biggest role in his young career – Jamie in the teen edition of Everybody's Talking About Jamie which Brighton Theatre Group are staging at The Old Market, Upper Market Street, Hove from Tuesday, May 28-Saturday, June 1.

The show famously is the tale of Jamie New, a 16-year-old who doesn't quite fit in within Sheffield’s society. Instead of pursuing a traditional career, he’s told he’ll make nothing more than a forklift truck driver, so he dreams of becoming a glittering drag queen.

James is loving the challenge: “It's such a difficult role to get around. There is so much to Jamie's character. He has so many vulnerable moments where he is at an all time low but then there are moments where all the ensemble and Jamie come together and sing and dance. For me Jamie is just a 16 year old normal gay boy who is very flamboyant but he has a heart of gold. He is very caring. He's always putting on a show and that's quite annoying for some people but deep down he's actually going through a lot. His relationship with his father weighs on him a lot. His father had said some horrible things about him and he finds it very difficult to get over those words.

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“I watched the professional production when it came to Brighton. It was amazing. Just being in the audience and feeling the energy of the cast was just fantastic. I watched it about three weeks before auditioning and I was quite lucky to see it before auditioning. But I was thinking I really want this role. It is a role that's built for me and i just knew I could do it. I knew that I could sing all the songs and dance in heels and have all the glamour. I have the same dreams. I want to be on stage and perform.

James Kiley (contributed pic)James Kiley (contributed pic)
James Kiley (contributed pic)

“I did Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with Brighton Theatre Group in 2019 before it all went wrong, before Covid happened and it was such an enjoyable experience. It was my first ever production and being on stage was just amazing, just standing there and looking into the audience. I was 11 years old and I was petrified the first time I stood on that stage but I knew that when the curtain came up I would be straight into character. It was my first ever acting. I did some theatre schools but just sporadically and a family friend told me about the audition so I went for it never imagining that I would get to play the lead boy.”

Since then James has appeared with the group in The Addams Family and Shrek and Grease. Inevitably though Jamie is the big one, and he is delighted that his fellow students at BN1 Arts in Brighton will be coming along to see the show. Some of his peers are also in the production: “I am doing two-year diploma in performing arts and I know I will be nervous having all my friends come and see me but I also know that I will be fine. Ever since Chitty I just wanted to be in musical theatre, to perform in the West End and Broadway and just to make it big and be a performer and make my living that way. I just want to enjoy it.”

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