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'Early Harrogate years made my success' - actor

Harrogate's Christian Lunn on stage in Lionel Bart's hit comedy-musical Twang!! which is currently running in London.
Harrogate's Christian Lunn on stage in Lionel Bart's hit comedy-musical Twang!! which is currently running in London.

A popular Harrogate performer whose talent was apparent from a very young age says his London success would not have happened without his hometown.

Singer and actor Christian Lunn, who first made an impression on stage aged just four in Harrogate Festival of Speech and Drama, said he was grateful for his early support.

Flashback to 2008 - Christian Lunn practising with fellow local singers Maddie Olley and Polly Sands for a fundraising concert for the Harrogate Young Carers charity.

Flashback to 2008 - Christian Lunn practising with fellow local singers Maddie Olley and Polly Sands for a fundraising concert for the Harrogate Young Carers charity.

Christian, 25, said: "I will forever be thankful for my early years in Harrogate for inspiring me.

"I attended Knaresborough School of Speech and Drama run by Denyse Smith and was supported by many local teachers who saw my potential.

"I also owe a big thank you to St John Fisher's School in Harrogate where I was lucky to work with the head of drama Fran Bray in the joint sixth form."

Now living in London in shared 'digs' in North Greenwich with fellow actor Donna Combe who had a part in the national tour of Billy Elliot, Christian has a plum role at the moment at The Union Theatre in London in a comedy musical co-written by Lionel Bart in the 1960s.

Christian, who was also a popular guest performer at the annual Harrogate Volunteer Awards and once survived appearing on X Factor, said: "Twang!! Is an absolute blast of a show. It really celebrates the best of British humour. It's like Carry On meets Robin Hood.

"I’m playing Little John which is ironic as I am 6 foot 3! My current role is definitely a step forward in my career.

"It's a large company and I’m really feel like I’m working with the next generation of great comedians."

Christian, who offered his services regularly to charity shows in Harrogate when he lived there, has come a long way since he won Harrogate Festival of Speech and Drama in 2011.

Having graduated from the Guildford School of Acting in 2014, he is steadily climbing the ladder.

Despite loving his profession, a life on stage is not all wine and roses.

Christian said: "I am so lucky to be able to do what I love to do. I know I have picked a hard industry to be in. Financially and mentally it can have its ups and downs.

"Most performers have to get used to flirting from job to job but I have always had the support of my family and friends."

What the long-term future holds for Christian is, perhaps, as hard to predict as for any actor.

Christian feels times are tougher than ever in the arts as a whole but he is determined to maintain his passion.

He said: ""Unfortunately, cuts to the arts is really taking its toll on our industry and actors are having to work for little to no money after three years of extremely hard training.

"Of course, with every profession jobs are not a guarantee however we just can’t afford to act.

"Rent is forever increasing in London and pushing artists further and further out but the sad thing is that a lot of theatre is centred around London."

Twang!! runs at The Union Theatre, London until May 5.

Follow the show on Instagram and Twitter @twangmusical