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Chesney Hawkes talks about his role in the Brentwood Centre production of Godspell and his support for the Chat 1st inclusive projects based at the centre.

What brought you back to Brentwood?

Last year, for Joseph, the community really came together and we had some great fun together, it was a wonderful experience for everyone involved, including me. Well, the producers of Joseph have given me the challenge/honour of playing Jesus in GODSPELL, a new show to me, and I have fallen in love with it, how it portrays the story of the parables of Jesus. And the songs are amazing.

Setting it in a circus is a great idea and that has enabled me to try out some new skills, as you can see from the photos.

How exciting is it that 17 year old Casey will be on stage with you?

I am very close to my family, but I am away frequently working across the pond, so it can be hard for me. Having Casey with me through out this production is going to be incredible – he is a very athletic young man and sings On The Willows beautifully, the Director tells me.

Casey wants to train in theatre here in the UK so what a great start this will be for him.

Is it true we may see you back-flipping and on a skateboard for this show?

Well, I can certainly skate-board, but I may have to leave the gymnastics to Casey, however I am really enjoying learning trapeze work with Diana at Little Stars.

In 2012 you broke your leg in training for Dancing on Ice. How do you feel about performing in a circus?

Yes, my history of clumsiness speaks for itself, but we started planning GODSPELL months in advance and the production team are very aware of everyone’s safety (And of my clumsiness!). Dr Diana Entwistle at Little Stars Circus has been so supportive, making sure everything we do is as safe as possible.

Who has better abs, you or Sam?

I can’t compete in that department, Sam wins the prize there. Having said that, if I carry on with Trapeze training, I might give him a run for his money by June!

With a few weeks to go, what are your thoughts about GODSPELL right now?

I am really looking forward to it. I am gigging all over the UK this summer so I will be incredibly busy. To take the lead on such a great show is going to be amazing, as is the opportunity to talk about all that Chat 1st does for the community.

Have you got a favourite song in Godspell?

Hearing my son Casey sing All Good Gifts is going to be a personal highlight.

From the songs I sing, the ‘new’ song added for the Broadway revival is called Beautiful City and it is, well, beautiful. The tune is haunting and the lyrics talk about us wanting to do the best for those around us. Who would not want to build a beautiful city for their family and friends?

Tell us something few people know about you.

I’m wearing pink underwear…Being serious, Like many people in the creative industries, I am dyslexic (so is Sam Callahan!) so learning long speeches is challenging. But that is why I love Chat 1st as it does not let things like dyslexia get in the way of people attaining their best.