WHEN Russell Smith steps on to the stage at the Regent Theatre it will be the realisation of a boyhood dream.
For the county theatre was where the Weeping Cross dancer first saw Fame, which turned out to be his first professional job.
"The first thing I did from graduating was a European tour of Fame which was brilliant for me as it was one of the first shows I saw when it was on a UK tour and I just fell in love with it."
Growing up, the Walton High School pupil could usually be found at Stafford's Dragonfly dance school which he attended for 13 years from the age of five.
He was also a regular in Stafford Gatehouse Youth Theatre's summer school, appearing in Dodger, Bugsy Malone, Dracula Spectacular and the Wizard of Oz.
"I had two older sisters and they started dancing and I just copied and I stuck with it. It just made sense to me and if I can get paid for having fun on stage, that's great."
After leaving school at the age of 18 he headed for the bright lights of London to study on a three-year course.
After Fame he was offered a part in the musical Grease, his first West End show and he has also performed on Broadway. But he still has a special place in his heart for Stafford and the Regent Theatre.
"My family still go to the Regent to watch UK tours that go there and I have performed there with a few little dance shows but this is my first time there with a UK tour. I'm looking forward to it. All my family will be there."
The 28-year-old has been the "go to" choreographer for the touring production of Dirty Dancing for the last couple of years and is happy his career is moving in that direction.
"I have taught everyone on the tour what to do. The dancing is going down and down and I'm going more into choreography side of things. I'm more of a creative than a performer."
He is also working on a show of his own which he is hoping to stage in the UK and on Broadway.
Theatre lovers can see his work when Rock of Ages comes to the Regent Theatre next month.
"It's going to be great to be at the Regent because it's that nostalgia thing. It's somewhere I used to go to watch things and to be on the other side having always aspired to on that stage. My family always go to the Regent and this time I am going to be in the show. That's a great feeling and to know that support is there is brilliant and it gives you that buzz. And I can bring the family on stage and give them a backstage tour and it will just be nice to be in Stafford, just to walk around town and live with my family again."
Rock of Ages opens at the Regent for six nights from Monday, July 14, with two matinees. For times and tickets call 0844 871 7627.