THEATRE pedigree doesn’t come any finer than Greg Barrowman’s. If you ask him he will tell you he has a cousin involved in the arts.
Not to put too fine a point on it the newly-graduated actor/musician learned at the heels of his cousin, Doctor Who and Torchwood star John Barrowman.
He has understudied his high-profile relative in pantomime for the last three years. In January the Glasgow-born performer had a baptism of fire at the city’s SECC Clyde Auditorium when he had to take over when cousin John fell from a horse.
With such top-drawer experience under his belt the fledgling actor who graduated less than six months ago is now ready to step out of the shadows and into the spotlight.
On Wednesday he opened as Simple Simon in Stafford Gatehouse Theatre’s rock ‘n’ roll production of Sleeping Beauty.
Panto is in his blood. As a child he would watch Scottish actor Gerard Kelly in panto and he fell in love with the genre.
“Panto is one of my favourite forms of theatre. I have always loved it,” he said.
“I have been going since I was a young boy. I thought(Gerard Kelly) was the bee’s knees. He had a theatre full of people in the palm of his hand. Christmas and panto are inextricably linked.”
It all started at a young age for the now London-based actor.
“I was doing am dram. My mum’s friend used to run a drama group and she sent me there. The next think I knew I was part of a show and I stayed for five years.”
It was while playing Marius in a school production of Les Miserables that he realised his future lay on the boards.
“That show made me realise this was what I wanted to do.”
A 16th birthday trip to see his first West End show - what else but Les Miserable – fuelled the fire.
“That show still has a little part of me. If I could ever say I had played Marius in Les Miserables in the West End I would be a very happy man.”
When he graduated from Glasgow Academy of Musical Theatre Arts at the age of 16 he was the youngest person to have attained an HNC in musical theatre.
Sleeping Beauty is crammed full of classic rock and roll songs which were surely before his time.
“My dad was a massive influence on me and he’s got a very broad taste. I had to ask his help with some of these songs.”
Family obviously matters to the die-hard Bruce Springsteen fan.
“John taught me a lot. At 17 I was brought in to be his understudy and he went off for eight days with pneumonia so I was thrown in at the deep end - there was a 17-year-old boy holding the biggest panto in the country.
“He taught me a lot about professionalism and took me under his wing and taught me the trade. I learned on the job and watching John. I’m thankful for what he’s given me but it’s now time to come out of the shadow and go it alone.”
Sleeping Beauty runs until January 11 at Stafford Gatehouse. For times and tickets call 01785 254653 or visit staffordgatehousetheatre.co.uk