Stevenage’s Giles Terera has spoken to the Comet about his “strong connection” with the town – in the wake of winning an Olivier award for his performance in Hamilton.

Giles was crowned Best Actor in a Musical at last Sunday’s awards, which was attended by other big names like Byran Cranston and Sam Mendes.

In an exclusive interview with the Comet where he discussed his home town, he said: “I am over the moon and very much enjoying being part of the Hamilton story and am extremely proud of the production and our company.

“I grew up in Stevenage and still have family and many friends in town. My connection to the town is still very strong.

“I watched pantomimes at the Gordon Craig Theatre, performed there with the Cubs and Lytton Players, performed there as a professional many times and even worked front of house there for a few weeks while I was training.

“What I’d love to be able to do is go back and have a proper association with the theatre, which has always been at the heart of the town and has been so important to me personally.

“Any chance I get to help young artists and people starting out is something which I value and feel is very important.”

Hamilton tells the story of United States founding father Alexander Hamilton and incorporates rap, hip-hop and rhythm and blues style music.

The play is notably colour-conscious, known for its casting of non-white actors as historical figures.

Giles’ twin sister Nikki Austin, who still lives in Stevenage, said: “We are of course immensely proud of his hard work, dedication and all of his achievements to date in his career.

“Time and time again Stevenage is portrayed and talked about in a negative light, but I would hope that young people who have ambition and aspire to make something of their lives can look at the many people who – like Giles – have come from the town and have achieved success, and know that with hard work and dedication they too can prosper.”

Giles noted in his speech the importance of diversity, stating: “It’s been the joy of my life and career to be a part of the most diverse company I have ever seen. The company is made up of as different people as you can think of because it’s the best way to tell the story.

“Diversity is not a policy, diversity is life. London theatre-makers, you have no excuse.”