Josh, Jerusalem...and Dagenham - young Clifton actor enjoys his taste of West End limelight

Josh Shadbolt and mum Sue at the Made In Dagenham premiere

Josh Shadbolt and mum Sue at the Made In Dagenham premiere - Credit: Landmark / PR Photos

A young actor from Clifton following in the footsteps of A-list star Ben Whishaw has already stepped on to the West End stage.

Ben, who grew up in Clifton, is recognised as one of the leading actors of his generation, best known for his role as gadget expert Q in the most recent Bond film Skyfall and for providing the voice of Paddington Bear in the current hit release.

And Josh Shadbolt, who is only nine years old – who goes to the same Henlow school which counts Ben as an old boy – has already stepped on the red carpet at part of the cast of the musical Made In Dagenham, based on the hit film about 1960s women workers at the Ford car factory striking for equal pay.

The Henlow Academy pupil plays young Graham O’Grady in the production, and his journey to the Adelphi Theatre in The Strand began back in the summer when a casting agency was struggling to find a boy who could sing Jerusalem.

Josh, a soprano at the choir in the village’s All Saints Church, Clifton, proved to be perfect for the role. Rehearsals began almost immediately, and Josh quickly hit it off with his on-stage mum Gemma Arterton, most famous for her role as Bond girl Strawberry Fields in the earlier Bond movie Quantum of Solace.

An exciting opening night saw Josh brushing shoulders with celebrities and having lots of fun on the red carpet.

Mum Sue said: “As usual Josh took in his stride. His dad and I felt so privileged to be there with our son, who was not at all fazed by the whole occasion.”

Josh is no stranger to the limelight, having already performed at the London Coliseum, home of the English National Opera, and in a variety of other small roles. The musical runs until March – for tickets visit www.madeindagenhamthemusical.com.