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Digital Subscriptions > Attitude > 268 > Big Gay Following

Big Gay Following

FROM A MINING CITY IN THE NORTH-EAST OF ENGLAND, TO THE GLITZ AND GLAM OF THE WEST END, 34-YEAR-OLD BEN FORSTER IS A MUSICAL THEATRE FORCE TO BE RECKONED WITH
PHOTOGRAPHER: LEIGH KEILY

BEN FORSTER

After winning ITV’s Superstar in 2012, actor Ben Forster toured the world in an arena production of Jesus Christ Superstar, with Mel C and Tim Minchin. Now, he enjoys a healthy West End career, and has just taken on one of musical theatre’s most coveted roles in The Phantom of The Opera, which recently celebrated 30 years at Her Majesty's Theatre in London.

How was it that you first got into musical theatre?

I grew up in Sunderland and I’d always liked performing as a hobby. It was something I did in after school classes and stuff, but to be honest there wasn’t anybody else doing it where I was from; there were no boys. I was in one of the biggest schools in the north-east, and trying to break that mould was hard – putting up with comments, etc. I wouldn't say I was bullied, but it wasn’t as easy as being on the football team. But I always knew it was what I wanted to do, and I had really good teachers supporting me. I ended up getting an audition for a theatre school in London, and luckily I got a scholarship – otherwise I would never have been able to go there at all. My parents had to remortgage their house, and downsize their car to help put me there so I feel incredibly lucky to be where I am now. As a 17-year-old kid moving to London from Sunderland, it was like a brand new life for me. I met all these like-minded people I’d never met before, and as soon as I started I knew this was where I was meant to be.

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About Attitude

Celebrating 30 years in the music industry, as they release their new album Super, the Pet Shop Boys cover the new issue of Attitude. Inside, we have the gay Booker Prize winner Marlon James, hunky teacher/model Pietro Boselli, musical theatre star Ben Forster, and a preview of the BFI Flare film festival. There’s a feature on the history of punk, and gay readers introduce us to their mums (ah!) Elsewhere in this Style issue, get up to date on the best of the high street, and what’s on trend this spring/summer.
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