Audiences will be laying all their love on a Montrose actor who has a leading role in hit musical MAMMA MIA!, which is currently touring the UK.
MAMMA MIA! unfolds on a Greek island when, on the eve of her wedding, Sophie’s quest to discover the identity of her father brings three men from her mother’s past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.
Phillip Ryan (26) stars as Sky - Sophie’s fiancé - in the juxebox musical which tells the story through the songs of ABBA.
Phillip took an interest in performing arts from a young age, joining The Song Shop and Centre Stage in Montrose and AMYT in Arbroath. He thanks the groups, as well as his drama teacher at Montrose Academy, Lesley Murton, for inspiring him.
The actor is the youngest of Karen and Peter Ryan’s 10 children. As well as being one of 10, he is also one of four - Phillip is a quadruplet, along with siblings Natasha, Richard and Matthew.
He said his parents are “very proud” of him and keep travelling to Edinburgh - where MAMMA MIA! is running at Edinburgh Playhouse until January 7 when it moves on to Plymouth - to see him.
Phillip didn’t set out to pursue a career in performing arts, when he left Montrose Academy he moved away from Angus and settled in Edinburgh at the age of 17 to pursue his dream of playing rugby.
Firstly, he went to Edinburgh Telford College and then to the Borders College in Galashiels, playing rugby for six years.
Sadly, his career in sport was cut short when he suffered an injury.
Phillip took some time off and rekindled his love for acting by performing at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and landed his career in the arts “by accident”.
He explained: “I was in a show at the Fringe and my friend asked me if I would go to an open day with her for The MGA Academy of Performing Arts.
“We went but we were the only two people there.
“They asked us to act and then sing and dance.
“They came back and offered me a place and said I was what they were looking for but when they told me the price I said no.
“They then came back again and offered me a full scholarship.”
Phillip took the scholarship, but unfortunately a vocal node meant he had to leave MGA and take nine months off for the nodule to heal.
Once he recovered, Phillip decided it was time to move to London, the home of the West End.
He said: “I thought if I want to take this seriously I need to be in London.”
The actor landed a scholarship at the Arts Educational Schools London for three years and graduated last year.
He said: “I think everything happens for a reason.
“What is meant for me won’t go by me. I fully believe in that.
“It’s about having a career, it’s not about getting this job and then that job.
“One of the best pieces of advice I was given was it’s not about performing, it’s about becoming a professional at auditioning.”
After graduating, Phillip played Sick Boy in the In Yer Face production of Trainspotting at the Fringe and was then recommended for MAMMA MIA! He was one of around 4000 people auditioning for the show.
He said: “My agent had put me forward for it and I was asked to act, they then invited me back to dance and then kept asking me back until they whittled the cast down.”
Phillip stars alongside Lucy May Barker, who plays his fiancée Sophie Sheridan, and Sara Poyzer, who plays her mother Donna.
He said: “I love it. I couldn’t be happier. The cast I am working with is amazing.
“And who doesn’t love ABBA and want to sing their songs?”
As well as his character Sky’s on-stage romance with leading lady Lucy, from Lincoln, the two have been dating for some time.
“We didn’t get on when we first met,” he laughed, “When you first get a role you focus primarily on the job. We didn’t really speak much to begin with but then we started to talk and got to know each other...and now she can’t get rid of me!”
Phillip had a message for young aspiring musical theatre performers: “Even if you’re from a small town, as long as you work hard and seek good advice, a career in this industry is definitely achievable.”
For more about the tour visit: www.mamma-mia.com/uk-tour/