HE dreamed a dream – and landed the role he had always wanted to play.

Dean Chisnall is starring as Jean Valjean in Les Miserables at the Theatre Royal this month, and the actor is over the moon.

“Ever since I was a young boy I wanted to be in this show, so to be in it, and playing THIS role, which is a pinnacle for male performers – it really is a dream come true,” he smiles.

“Our opening in Glasgow was absolutely magical, the audience lifted the roof off – I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.

Glasgow Times:  Dean Chisnall as Jean Valjean

“Everyone – us, the audiences, the theatre staff – we have all missed this and it feels so good to be back, especially in a city which has such a great appreciation of musical theatre.”

Growing up in a small west Lancashire village, opportunities to get involved in the theatre were few and far between, explains Dean.

“There wasn’t much happening locally, so my parents would take me to Liverpool or Manchester to watch theatre, and I loved it,” he says.

“I remember being taken to see Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at the Blackpool Winter Gardens – I must have been about 10 or 11 – and watching in complete and utter amazement.

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“It didn’t seem like something I would be able to do as a career, that was just a pipe dream as far I was concerned. I loved school but I wasn’t overly academic, I enjoyed the more practical subjects.

“Then someone, a teacher called Mrs Fletcher, told me I had a good voice and should try singing….I auditioned for Billy Elliot and got the part, which was a real shock – and it took off from there.”

Took off sums it up – thanks to Mrs Fletcher’s good ear for talent, Dean started training at the Arts Educational School in London, and has since played a string of coveted West End roles in musicals as diverse as Shrek, Blood Brothers, Mamma Mia and the Take That-inspired hit Never Forget.

“I’m glad I went into the industry the way I did – I wasn’t the kind of child who was at drama classes aged three, or pushed into it by my parents,” he says.

As Jean Valjean, haunted hero of the French Revolution-set Les Miserables, Dean feels the weight of responsibility on his shoulders.

This is, after all, a show which has been seen by more than 120 million people in 52 countries worldwide and its songs – Bring Him Home, I Dreamed a Dream, Do You Hear The People Sing? and more – are adored by fans .

Those songs have in some cases even become real life anthems of revolution wherever in the world people are fighting for their freedom.

This will be the first Cameron Mackintosh production to be staged in Glasgow in more than 15 years, the last being Miss Saigon at the King’s Theatre in 2004.

James Haworth, Theatre Director at Theatre Royal,said: “I am extremely excited to welcome Les Misérables to Theatre Royal and to Glasgow for the first time this Christmas.

“It is such a prestigious and revered musical and the calibre of Cameron Mackintosh’s productions is outstanding. “

He added: “This will also be the first Cameron Mackintosh production to come here in more than 15 years which makes the run especially significant to the Theatre Royal and the city.

“ I look forward to welcoming all who come along to see this iconic production.”

Cameron Mackintosh first conceived this acclaimed new production of Les Misérables in 2009 to celebrate the show’s 25th anniversary .

Written by Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schönberg and based on the novel by Victor Hugo, it tells the story of Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole. Jean’s past comes back to haunt him when he decides to care for a factory worker’s daughter.

“There’s always pressure in a show like this, which is so well-loved and well-known – I have always believed we’re just custodians of these iconic roles and it’s a real privilege to play them,” says Dean.

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“But you are also encouraged to put your own stamp on the role – you have been cast because of your talent and personality so you can be a bit creative with it, which is a fantastic opportunity.

“This show is more than 35 years old but it’s still as fresh as it as ever been and that’s thanks to the new talent and new ideas that come to it with each production.

“It’s all so relatable too – especially in today’s world, where being together, with family, with community, has become so important.”

He adds: “So when I sing Bring Him Home in a Glasgow theatre, there are 1500 people there thinking their own thoughts, relating their own experiences to the words, and that is very powerful.”

Les Miserables is at the Theatre Royal until December 31.