Yatton performer set to star in West End’s Hairspray alongside Michael Ball

Kody Mortimer performing as Gabey in 'On the Town'

Kody Mortimer performing as Gabey in 'On the Town' - Credit: Kody Mortimer

A Yatton performer is set to make his West End debut alongside theatre legend Michael Ball.

A young Kody Mortimer posing with Gary Wilmot in 2007.

A young Kody Mortimer posing with Gary Wilmot in 2007. - Credit: Kody Mortimer

Royal Academy of Music graduate Kody Mortimer began performing at the age of eight, before joining Nailsea's Euphoria Show Choir at 13.

Euphoria would go on to travel across the pond and perform in the showbiz capital, Hollywood.

This April, Mortimer will perform at the London Coliseum in Hair Spray, alongside theatre veteran Michael Ball.

His former musical director Rachel Mason said: "He was always fantastic, a great team player. He'll be a great ensemble member and eventual lead performer in the West End."

Kody Mortimer, 2019

Kody Mortimer, 2019 - Credit: Kody Mortimer

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The glitz and glamour was not always in store for Kody, though. In fact, Euphoria was a saving grace for his performance career.

He said: "At the age of 12, my voice broke, so I stopped singing, and I was going to give it all up.

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"When I was 13, I saw an advert in the newspaper for young male singers in a show choir, and my dad spurred me on."

The prospect of a career in sport looked promising to Kody, but now he's grateful for joining Euphoria.

Kody performing as Eddie in ‘The Wild Party’ at the Royal Academy of Music, 2019.

Kody performing as Eddie in ‘The Wild Party’ at the Royal Academy of Music, 2019. - Credit: Kody Mortimer

"It changed my life, joining Euphoria. It gave me most of my singing, dancing and acting experience. It gave me the reason to persue this as a career."

After leaving Euphoria, Kody honed his craft at university and then the Royal Academy of Music.

He said: "I remember the moment my dad showed me the advert. I got annoyed he kept mentioning it because I wanted to focus on cricket. Little things like that can happen in life."

The Hairspray production opened on Broadway in 2002 and has picked up numerous awards, including eight Tony gongs. To take part is a dream come true for the Yatton graduate.

He said: "I can't put into words how much it means to me. It's something I've dreamed about for a long time."

However, both Kody and Rachel believe young adults, like Kody, are being put off theatre.

Kody said: "People used to tell me to get a real job. Hopefully, young kids will see me and keep following their dreams because this industry is about passion and keeping at it."

Rachel added: "Boys tend to be picked on for being creative, musical theatre in particular, but those who persevere like Kody go on to great things."

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