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Christmas at New Theatre Oxford 

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“It's a Fabulous Festive period at New Theatre Oxford, with standout shows including Nativity! the Musical and Jersey Boys.”
NATIVITY THE MUSICAL. The Company. Photo by Richard Davenport 2

Nativity! the Musical

11-15 December

Christmas at The New Theatre Oxford Jake Wood
© Chris Mann

Jake Wood will play the role of Hollywood Producer when this smash-hit plays Oxford in December. We caught up with the EastEnders star to find out more…

How does it feel to be doing Nativity?

It’s a great honour to be asked. I've got December-February off from EastEnders, I just wanted to do some other things, the chance to do this came along and I jumped at it. I've always been a massive fan of the film and my little boy is going to be onstage with me for the first time; he's ten years old and going to be part of the cast. I'm really excited about that, it'll be a real life moment for us both.”¯

Is acting something he wants to do?

I'm not sure. I mean, he's only ten. He does bits and pieces, we'll wait and see – but he's definitely a chip off the old block.

Fellow EastEnders name Danny Dyer will play Hollywood Producer in London, and Charlie Brooks will play the part in Nottingham. How different do you think your Hollywood Producer will be to theirs?

I'll probably have less hair than those guys. I've mentioned it to Danny and I know he’s really excited about it as well. He’s got his daughter in it too, so a real family affair.

Christmas at The New Theatre Oxford Nativity The Musical
Photo: Richard Davenport

When”¯were”¯you last onstage?

It was panto about three years ago, Peter Pan [at the Alban Arena] and I played Captain Hook – great fun.

When you’re in a soap, do you end up in a bit of a bubble?

When you've been in a soap for so long – I've been at EastEnders 14 years – you’re contracted to them full-time so obviously your chances to do anything else are quite limited. That's part of the reason for taking a little bit of a break; it's nice to get refreshed, do other stuff, and give the viewers a chance to not get bored of the character.

You'll be taking time out of Albert Square to take your podcast Pound for Pound on tour next year.

Yeah, I do a boxing podcast with my best mate Spencer Oliver. I'm a massive boxing fan, and we wanted to do a podcast that was relaxed and fun. We started in January and ended up hitting the number one spot – number one sports podcast in the UK. We're going from strength to strength. We got offered the chance to do a live tour so we're doing dates in January and February which we're really excited about – that will fit in nicely with Nativity.

Christmas at the New Theatre Oxford Nativity Master
Photo: Richard Davenport

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Jersey Boys

18 December-6 January

Christmas at The New Theatre Oxford Jersey Boys
L-R: Lewis Griffiths, Declan Egan, Michael Watson, Simon Bailey © JC Lewis Photography

The story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons is back on the road. Here the cast – all specially handpicked for this tour – shed light on acting, family and being Jersey Boys…

Declan Egan (Bob Gaudio)

On relating to his character

I relate to the young career-driven boy. Bob Gaudio was always trying to catch that lightning in the bottle, he just wanted to hit the stratosphere and be one of the most successful musicians/producers in the world. I can relate to that because I have a drive and I'm definitely hungry for the next project, the next thing that's going to give me that hit of adrenaline as a performer.

Lewis Griffiths (Nick Massi)

On his Jersey Boys history

I auditioned four times for the role of Bob Crewe in the London production. I was always second choice, and I thought, 'Ok, it’s not meant to be.' Then I got a call from my agent saying Jersey Boys was going out on tour. I auditioned and the director, Des McAnuff, said: ‘We can’t see you as Crewe, you’re not a Crewe, can you read for Nick Massi?’ I got the part and played the first Nick on tour in the UK.

Simon Bailey (Tommy DeVito)

On being an actor

It’s not something where you say, ‘Tomorrow I’ll be something else, a bootmaker.’ Actors might not be in work for a certain amount of time, and doubts will creep into their mind, but essentially you'll always think, 'Yeah, but the next job is the big one.' For me, there's never been a 'If I don't get this part, I'll pack it in' moment, because you know there is nothing else that you want to do.

Michael Watson (Frankie Valli)

On what’s next

I played Frankie for two years in London, but thought I had unfinished business. So when the chance came to do it again, I thought I'd come back and do it on the tour. When I first took over the role of Frankie, I was 25. Now I'm 30, and my goalposts have changed in life a little bit. I've got two kids and a wife-to-be, a family I don't want to be away from. So after this tour I’m going to take a step back to evaluate where to go next. That's why doing a Jersey Boys tour felt right for me; it's a show and a part that I think is the highlight of my career, so I wanted to do it just in case I do take a step away from the entertainment industry. I don't think I'll ever step away fully, but for a while I can't be on the road too much. I want to take my son to football, and my daughter to wherever she wants to go when she's old enough. Acting has been my first love, now I have other loves as well.

Christmas at The New Theatre Oxford Jersey Boys
Michael Watson as Frankie Valli © JC Lewis Photography

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WIN! Jersey Boys Tickets

You can be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets to this internationally acclaimed stage sensation, when it plays New Theatre Oxford 19 December (7:30pm).

Simply like our OX Magazine Facebook page: @OxfordshiresFinest and enter your details here:

This competition closes Friday 14th December 2018.

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