A BOY from Nettlebed is to star alongside Jason Donovan in his first professional stage role.
Joshua Hogan, eight, will play the former Neighbours star’s son in the hit musical Priscilla Queen of the Desert, which is about to tour Britain.
Donovan plays Tick, one of two drag queens who accompany a transsexual on a journey across the Australian Outback on a tour bus nicknamed Priscilla. Joshua plays Benji.
The youngster, who attends the Henley Children’s Theatre Company at the Kenton Theatre, said: “Finding out I got the part was one of the best feelings I’ve had because I will be doing a duet with Jason Donovan.
“It’s going to be great but I’m going to be very nervous when I’m on stage with him.”
Joshua has been acting since he was three. He attends Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead and has featured in 10 productions.
He has also done some modelling and currently features on advertising posters for Clarks shoes.
The Moulsford Preparatory School pupil said: “It helps my confidence at school but everyone still treats me like normal Joshua. I act quite a lot and I love going to the theatre company on a Saturday and then to Redroofs.
“I’m into other things as well, like playing the flute, fencing, football and rugby.
“When I grow up I definitely want to be an actor. I want to play James Bond — maybe after Daniel Craig and a few others it will be Joshua Rogan.”
Joshua, who performed as half of a two-headed giant in Jack and the Beanstalk at the Kenton last month, loves musicals.
He said: “The last one I went to see was Shrek and I thought it was really funny. I want to be a musical star as well. I was a really big fan of Michael Jackson when I was three and was listening to him before I was even in nursery.”
Joshua went to the Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden for the audition for his part in Priscilla.
He sang A Whole New World from Aladdin and had learned the script for two scenes.
He said: “I was definitely nervous — I hadn’t been for many auditions before.
“I wasn’t in there very long and it seemed to go really quickly. All the different productions I’ve done really helped. When I walked in, they asked me where my script was and I said I had learned it. I think that impressed them.”
Joshua found out he had secured the role while he was on the school bus home and his mother Nicola and sister Darcey, four, suddenly got on.
He said: “I asked what they were doing here and my mum said, ‘I’ve got some news’ and she told me I had got the role. I just thought it was so incredible. I asked if we could go to McDonald’s to celebrate.”
Before he begins rehearsals at Manchester Opera House, where the production will open, Joshua must learn to speak like an Australian.
He said: “I’m going to need to do an accent for the role, which I’m not really comfortable with but I’m going to learn it. The other day they sent us the script I have to learn, including the duet.”
Joshua has also reached the second stage of the interview process for the role of Dill in a production of To Kill A Mockingbird at Regents Park open-air theatre.
Mrs Hogan, who runs an events company, and her husband James, an IT manager, have taken their son to auditions and will be in the audience for each performance of Priscilla.
His mother said the Kenton Theatre had become a second home to Joshua. “I took him there to burn off some energy when he was three,” she said. “It has helped him to be part of a team.
“Children take everything in their stride and I think it’s a great experience while it lasts. Although he’s going to be in a musical, the other role he has a chance of getting is more serious.
“He’s as versatile as you can be at eight. The school has been very supportive because they know it will be an excellent experience for Joshua.”
Meanwhile, Darcey will feature in a scene in a film called Philomena, starring Dane Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, which is due to be released next year. She attends Rupert House School in Henley and is also a member of the children’s theatre company.
Mrs Hogan said: “It’s nice for her to have her own experience because she hears about Joshua going for things. We always go to watch both of them and we’ve sat through many a pantomime and summer show.”
lPriscilla Queen of the Desert will be at the New Theatre Oxford from February 25 to March 2.