He’s the star of this season’s pantomime at the Swansea Grand Theatre – but did you know all these facts about our new favourite Dandini – aka Ian ‘H’ Watkins.
Best known as one of the five-piece pop band Steps, Ian ‘H’ Watkins is returning to his Welsh roots this winter to star in Cinderella at the Swansea Grand Theatre. No stranger to donning his finery on stage, H isn’t just a singer – he’s acted, taken part in gymnastic show Tumble and is a keen artist too. Oh, and he’s dad to twins as well.
H, as most people know him, is from the village of Llwynypia, in the Rhonda Valley, and now lives in Conwy. But he’s heading to Swansea for panto season. And if you’ve got a ticket to see him (and if not, why not?) here’s a few things you might not know about this multi-talented man.
He’s a panto pro
He’ll play Dandini, Prince Charming’s manservant. H has also appeared in Aladdin, Jack And The Beanstalk, Sleeping Beauty, Dick Whittington, Cinderella and Beauty And The Beast. So, there’s no doubt he’s got what it takes to entertain the audiences this season.
…And a West End wonder
In 1994, he played the title role in Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat – an honour he shares with Jason Donovan and Phillip Schofield.
He’s mixed with royalty
Back in July 1999, H posed with bandmates and none other than HRH Prince Charles. Tragedy!
H has a very cheeky sense of humour
And he loves testing it out on social media. One look at his twitter feed (@ianhwatkins) shows that he’s often tweeting his Steps bandmates and making little remarks – often about Claire Richards’ choice of jumpers. He also loves to support his friends, often tweeting that he was rooting for bandmate Faye Tozer in Strictly Come Dancing. Could H be a contestant one year? We bet he’d nail it.
He’s quite the gymnast
After training for and taking part in TV show Tumble. If you head over to H’s Instagram, you’ll find a lot of videos of his training for the show – which prove his credentials as a super-somersaulter.
He was a Butlins Redcoat
…As was fellow bandmate Lisa! So, he shouldn’t have any trouble getting the crowds going this year in Swansea.
He has a distinction from the Royal College of Music
H also had his own reality show, H Side Story, which followed his training at the Stella Adler Studio in New York. Filmed in 2005, it showed his dedication to performing arts, as does the RCM qualification. H isn’t just a pop star – he’s a true musician.
He’s trying to get better at speaking Welsh
According To his Instagram account, H loves nothing more than brushing up on his Welsh language while on the train.
He loves oil painting
H has quite the collection of pictures on his Instagram feed – he paints moody, atmospheric, abstract landscapes and has had exhibitions in his native Wales. He started off with watercolours, but now uses acrylics.
The H in his name is said to stand for Hyperactive…
Let’s hope he brings lots of that energy to the Panto this year!
To book your tickets to see H in Cinderella at Swansea Grand,
call 01792 475 715, www.swanseagrand.co.uk