A West End professional who is about to is launch a new theatre school in Harrogate says his friend Danny Mac deserves to win this year's Strictly Come Dancing contest on BBC TV.
Yorkshire-born Damien Poole will officially launch DPTA (Damien Poole Theatre Arts) at its base in Harrogate Grammar School early next year.
Poole trained at the prestigious Drama School Arts Educational School of Musical Theatre in London where Julie Andrews and Will Young had earlier learned their craft.
Damien said: “I managed to leave four months early as I luckily got a part in Grease the musical as alternate Vince Fontaine at the same time as my lovely friend Danny Mac got a role in Wicked.
“We both left on the same day. I’m so amazed at his progress in this year’s Strictly. I really hope he wins.
"He’s the nicest guy you could ever meet. He would do anything for anyone'
"He was never a dancer but was always a terrific actor and singer.”
After ten years of professional musical theatre and acting; his CV includes the original London cast of Shrek the Musical, original world cast of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Chess in Concert with the Idina Menzel (Frozen) and Josh Groban and the original revival cast of Gypsy the Musical with Imelda Staunton, Damien moved into teaching master classes and theatre workshops around the country.
But Damien's Yorkshire roots were calling him and he decided to turn his back on the south and head north.
Damien said: "Harrogate is in a fantastic location to open a theatre school. Children in the North deserve the same high quality training, deserve to work with the most experienced and enthusiastic teachers and gain the same knowledge and development as you would get in the top faculties offered in London."
As a taster for what the new theatre school has to offer, there will be a 'dress rehearsal' open day at Harrogate Grammar School this Sunday, December 4 from 10.45am to 4.15pm with 15 free workshops led by West End professional performers, directors, choreographers and musical directors.
When DPTA officially opens on January 10 next year, it will offers all aspects of dance, acting and singing and is currently in association with local Harewood school, Maillot Rose, which will offer DPTA students ballet and tap lessons and exams.
Damien said: "We have fantastic resident tutors who will work with DPTA. There is such confidence in my style of teaching, that our patrons wishing to be associated with DPTA, are Imelda Staunton, Downton Abbey star Jim Carter, and the head of musical theatre at Arts Educational School of the Arts, Chris Hocking."
The repertoire of 'guest tutors' associated with DPTA includes household names from shows such as Game of Thrones, Coronation Street, Eastenders, Strictly Come Dancing and more, as well as performers currently working in musicals in London's West End.