AN actor originally from Blaenavon is set to return to Wales this week as he plays one of the leads in the first UK tour of smash theatre hit War Horse.

Matt Addis, 37, was born and brought up in Blaenavon, and his parents and grandmother still live in the town. He plays the part of Captain James Nicholls, who rides Joey, the titular horse, into battle during World War One.

This is the first UK tour of the National Theatre’s acclaimed production of War Horse, based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo, and it will be at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff, from June 18 to July 19.

Mr Addis trained at the University of Manchester and Mountview. His work in theatre includes Not About Heroes, The Railway Children, The Blue Room, Dumb Show and Keep Smiling Through at Theatre by the Lake, among many others.

He said: “It’s lovely to be back at home in Wales. i was a member of the Gwent Young People’s Theatre from around 1990, and would visit Abergavenny every Tuesday and Saturday, and I used to spend some time in the pubs.

“I was also a member of the Ad Hoc Theatre group, based in Newport, and my family would regularly come down to watch me perform.”

He attended St Peter’s Primary school in Blaenavon, before heading to Abersychan Comprehensive and Pontypool college.

After university he applied for RADA and got down to the final few, but didn’t get in, shelving his acting plans for a few years.

He travelled to Australia, and had a number of jobs including working for Coca-Cola and a dot com company in Bath before deciding to give acting another shot.

“I was 27 at the time and decided I would give myself 10 years to try and make a living out of it,” he said. “ I knew if I didn’t do it then I never would. So I enrolled at Mountview in London and I haven’t looked back really. I have been very lucky in terms of jobs, and I’m very happy working at the National Theatre.”

“My family are coming to see me – they are very supportive. For parents who are not in the business, like mine, I think having a child going into acting can be quite daunting, but my parents have always supported my career.

“They often come along to watch me, and they will be bringing my gran to come and watch me in Cardiff – I think she really enjoys seeing me on the stage.”

Seen by over 2.4 million people worldwide since its premiere at the National Theatre in 2007, War Horse is the powerful story of a young boy called Albert and his beloved horse, Joey, who has been requisitioned to fight for the English in World War I.

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