Brotherly advice from West End star Sean

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Sean Jones who plays Mickey in Willy Russell’s musical ‘Blood Brothers’ delivered a top notch acting workshop at Berwick Academy last week.

The West End star, who has performed the role since 2005 both in London and on tour, was invited to work with a group of drama students after head of performing arts Paula Griffiths contacted him through Twitter.

“I mentioned Sean in a tweet back in February when I took a group to see the show at the Sunderland Empire and couldn’t believe it when he replied,” she explained.

“He came down to meet the students before the matinee at a workshop organised by the theatre’s education department. He mentioned then that he did workshops for schools but it wasn’t until recently that he had time to come up to Berwick to work with the students as he was still touring in the show.”

During the two-hour session the students were put through their paces by the actor who trained at Guildhall School of Music and Drama. After a thorough warm-up the students worked on character development and concentration exercises before tackling some of the play’s most significant scenes under Sean’s direction.

But the highlight had to be when Frazer Smiles who played Mickey in BACstage’s production of the play in 2012 was given the chance to act alongside Sean in front of the rest of the group.

“It was an incredible experience to act with a professional actor, especially with him in the role I had played,” said Frazer.“It’s something I won’t forget.”

The rest of the group looked on as they watched Sean and Frazer act out the first meeting between the two brothers seven years after they were secretly parted at birth.

“It was brilliant to see how Sean transformed himself from a grown man into a seven year old boy to play the scene” said Patrick Davenport who also got to act as Mickey while being directed by Sean.

The students were also able to take part in a Q&A where Sean discussed his own experiences of acting and gave advice about auditioning for drama school.

It was a fantastic afternoon and the students really got a lot out of it. And Sean was clearly impressed too; he later tweeted ‘Still buzzing off the workshop at @BACstagepro. Such a talented bunch!’

And Paula definitely agreed: “They really are a talented group and some of them are considering training to become actors when they leave the academy; sometimes Berwick seems a million miles away from the bright lights of London’s West-End but bringing a successful actor like Sean into school hopefully shows them that it’s not totally out of their reach!”