Five Minutes With... STEFFAN HUGHES

Steffan Hughes is a singer and presenter from Denbighshire. He has performed for the likes of Prince William, Dame Shirley Bassey and Catherine Zeta-Jones, and shared the stage with performers including Paloma Faith, Katherine Jenkins and Russell Watson. He is also a member of the Classical Brit Award-winning group Only Men Aloud. Steffan will be at Theatr Clwyd from July 2-3, with Welsh of the West End.

Tell us a little about Welsh of the West End, for those that don't know?

Welsh of the West End is a group of Welsh musical theatre singers from shows such as Les Miserables, Wicked and Phantom of the Opera.

I've been fortunate to work with young Welsh talent for many years on my BBC Radio Cymru show, Sioeau Cerdd Steffan Rhys Hughes [Steffan's Musicals], so back in March 2020 when we entered the first UK lockdown, I decided to bring a group of these singers together to create a virtual performance, and we haven't stopped since!

It's an incredible feeling to finally be able to bring this 'virtual' group together, live on stage.

So your lockdown doesn't sound like it was a quiet one?!

I would say that Welsh of the West End has really brightened my lockdown experience.

To be able to work with these singers week-in week-out on some fantastic repertoire has been a real treat for me.

The response to our initial video - Seasons of Love - from the musical Rent was incredible, therefore we had no choice but to continue!

To date, our performances have reached over 10 million views, 200,000 likes, and have been featured by Official London Theatre, What's on Stage, ITV and BBC.

What were the challenges of the virtual performances?

There are many challenges. The process of creating a performance remotely takes so much longer than it would if we were all in a studio together.

However, I've been so fortunate to have confident and talented singers who are comfortable recording from home, and also an incredible production team and band who bring it all together - without them, there would be no Welsh of the West End magic!

You played at Theatr Clwyd last year. Are you excited to return?

I'm very excited to be back at Theatr Clwyd with the Welsh of the West End gang. We had a fantastic time performing there back in 2020 - not only were the audiences warm and appreciative, but every single theatre staff member were a joy to work with, and made us feel so welcomed.

We're incredibly grateful to the theatre for giving us the stage yet again this year, and for all that they have done to support the arts in Wales during this difficult time.

You've performed all over the UK at lots of amazing events. Do you have one that stands out?

This is a tough one! I would have to say that performing with Only Men Aloud at the Principality Stadium during the Six Nations to a sold-out crowd was an experience I will never forget!

The atmosphere was unlike anything I'd experienced before.

What's next for you after this show?

For Welsh of the West End, we have some exciting dates in the diary for the rest of the year, including TV and radio work.

The virtual performances will of course continue, and we have some brilliant songs lined up!

For me personally, I'm excited to back on the stage with Only Men Aloud this summer, as well as looking forward to back presenting on BBC Radio Cymru very soon.

Steffan Hughes will be performing with Welsh of the West End at Theatr Clwyd's Outdoor Stage on July 2-3. Tickets are from £10. Booking available at theatrclwyd.com or by calling 01352 344101.