TV and stage star Layton Williams has taken time out of his busy performance schedule to give a young York actor a mini masterclass.

Will Darwin, 20, who’s all set to play Paul in the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company’s production of Kiss Me, Kate next month, travelled down to Sheffield to meet Layton.


He has just finished a month-long run as Paul in the Crucible’s own take on Cole Porter’s classic musical comedy.

Kiss Me, Kate
  • Wed 6 Feb – Sat 9 Feb
  • Joseph Rowntree Theatre
  • £10-£16
  • More details

“It was such a great opportunity,” said Will, who is currently auditioning for drama school in between Kiss Me, Kate rehearsals.

“When I arrived, the cast were rehearsing scenes because someone had fallen ill and they were slotting in understudies in case they couldn’t make it.

“Seeing a professional cast work so quickly was really interesting and, even with all this going on, Layton was very welcoming and managed to find time to speak to me. He was so down to earth.”

Stage and screen veteran

Layton began his theatre career in the title role of Billy Elliot in the West End.

He has since played Michael Jackson in Thriller Live, Angel in the 20th anniversary tour of Rent, Kylie in the BBC series Beautiful People and Stephen Carmichael in the BBC comedy Bad Education.

He is due to take on the biggest challenge of his career so far on January 28th when he steps into the six-inch heels of Jamie New, the 16-year-old drag queen star of the West End smash Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.

For now, however, he was happy to talk to Will about their shared role in Kiss Me, Kate and the pressures of singing key song Too Darn Hot. Will said:

  • We had a chat about Paul and he said he sometimes found it hard to remember which order the words go in Too Darn Hot, which gave me some relief because I struggle with that too,’ said Will.

    Their version of Kiss Me, Kate was amazing. Layton sang “Too Darn Hot” extremely well, especially as he was doing a complex dance routine at the same time. I don’t think I’ll be attempting that!

    You could tell he was having fun and loved performing the song. I’ll try and take that forward and just try to bring out the same joy when I perform the song here in York.

Kiss Me, Kate is the fundraising show for Joseph Rowntree Theatre – find out more here.