Where’s your favourite place in Essex?

I went to school in Billericay and I loved going over to Lake Meadows Park, absolutely loved it. I used to go over there with my dad and we used to play tennis and take the dogs for a walk.

Essex and East London has always been home to me and my family. I actually saw my first theatre show at the Cliffs, so in a way you could almost say that part of my love of performing was born here.

In 2017, we did the panto of pantos and we were at the Palladium, in the West End. It was brilliant, but at the same time this for us is a homecoming in a way

We haven’t done a show local to where we grew up and first performed for nearly a decade, so for us, it’s just amazing to be back here to be doing something at Southend and for it to be received so well, as well.

Diversity was formed at your parents dance school in Wickford. is it still going strong?

Yes definitely. Diversity is made up of younger generation coming up and we’ve got a group DVJ which stands for Diversity Juniors and they’re all homegrown from the same school that we’re from. No auditions have been held, they’re just kids that come to class, so it’s still working.

How have things changed since you were starting out?

What I felt was how it was not cool to be a dancer. Obviously I was a boy and I was a dancer and 15 years ago when I was at school, being a dancer and a boy, being someone who didn’t go out and wasn’t involved in the football at the weekend and was going off to do dance lessons… it was like what are you doing with yourself?! Obviously, it wasn’t until we started to really take off, at Britain’s Got Talent time, that people started to realise, oh actually…

I like to think we’ve played a big part in making dance a bit cooler you know and a bit more accessible for boys.

How has life been for you since Britain’s Got Talent?

It’s been crazy. And it does sound like a bit of a cliché, but sometimes you do have to pinch yourself. And I never really take it for granted, but literally next year will be our ten year anniversary tour and I can’t describe how amazing it is to go ten years of doing this. And that’s the thing, we haven’t taken a two or three year break at any point, we’ve been solid, so we’re very lucky. It’s an incredible feeling.

What’s so special about Aladdin at the Cliffs Pavilion?

I’ve been saying this a lot. I think we’re the only panto in the country – probably not the world! – doing it like we are.

You’re going to get loads of singers and actors and they do a different version of the same formula, whereas there isn’t really a dance group that is properly leading a panto anywhere else. So, we bring a completely different flavour.

We obviously do a lot of our own television shows now, we present and we’ve learnt a lot over the years, so it’s not like we just dance in this, we bring a lot of other things to it as well, but at the same time we bring the kind of tricks and flips and acrobatics and the creativity and dance routines the stuff that kind of made us first become Diversity. So, it’s interesting really because this will probably be a real one off, this show.

Is it strange being back, performing in Essex?

It makes it better. Everybody here is so lovely, all the staff, all the people working here, so many are people that we know or went to school with. I was friends with the wife of the last person I spoke to and that’s what’s lovely about this, it’s local.

We’re still Diversity, but first and foremost we always remember we’re all just people, doing a job. And I love the fact that we’ve come back here. It almost feels like circular. We’re still the same guys, but lots has changed.

What’s your life philosophy?

I think it’s about not only just genuinely working hard, because a lot of people can work hard. But treating everybody the same and respecting people. Because now, we’ve been doing it for so long people who were tea boys when we started are now giving us jobs. You know, we’re going to be doing tens of shows over this run and on our twentieth show we’ll work as hard as we do on the first show. So I think it’s just work hard and treat everybody, everybody with respect.

For tickets to Aladdin, call the box office on 01702351135