Bognor boy Ben Richards reaffirms his Bognor roots with two shows in one day at the Regis Centre.
Ben will be in concert at the venue on October 26 at 3pm and 7.30pm as a fundraiser for two causes dear to his heart.
“We did a show there when I finished my cancer treatment. I wanted to do a concert to raise some money for Bowel Cancer and decided to do it in my home town. We put tickets out and we sold out.
“It went so well that there was great feedback, people saying to me when was I going to do it again.
“I decided I would come back and kill two birds with one stone.
“There are two lads doing the Dune Runner marathon across the desert that want to raise money for Chestnut Tree House children’s hospice, and I will also be raising some more money for Bowel Cancer.”
In the first half of the show, Ben will be singing swing music, Rat Pack style, Harry Connick Jnr style, Michael Buble style. In the second half, he will range more widely with a more modern repertoire.
“I have a four-piece band that I used last time.”
Ben’s TV roles include PC Nate Roberts in the ITV police drama series The Bill. He previously played Justin in BBC medical drama Holby City and Bruno Milligan in Footballers’ Wives. Ben also featured as a regular judge on the BBC show Strictly Dance Fever.
He has also enjoyed an extensive career in musical theatre with a range of leading roles in London’s West End and on tour, starring opposite Don Johnson in Guys and Dolls, playing Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever at the London Palladium and the leading role of Jerry Lukowski in the London cast of the Broadway hit musical The Full Monty.
He returns to Bognor from the 9 to 5 tour: “It’s been an amazing journey, visiting some great cities and towns with a fantastic company I will miss greatly. Fingers crossed we will be reunited in the West End in the new year.
“I have a little break to look forward to, then off to Sheffield to play Bill Sykes in Oliver! at the Crucible opposite Phil Davies.
“I can’t believe my luck, a role I’ve always wanted to play at one of the best and most reputable theatres in the country with such a great company. It runs until late January.”
Ben lives in Hertfordshire now, but his family are still in the Bognor area. He was brought up in Middleton and went to school in Felpham.
And he is delighted to be returning to the stage where he made his own debut: “I used to go to a dance school, and we did various shows there.”
The Regis Centre was also the place where he was first an audience member, on a school trip – all happy memories and part of the reason he is so keen to support the theatre now.
Ben sees the venue as a vital part of Bognor Regis, one that people must support at every opportunity if they are going to safeguard its future.
“If you don’t use it, you lose it. It is a great theatre. It has built up a great panto. And the more people go along, the bigger the stars you will get there. It gathers momentum.
“People can go there and have a really great time and maybe realise they don’t have to go to Chichester.”
As for his health, things are looking good for Ben.
“I have just had another scan. I am in the clear. It has been a year-and-a-half now.”
Tickets for Ben’s shows at the Regis Centre are available on 01243 861010.