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From Durham to the West End

Durham graduate and former DST, DULOG performer, Simon Lynch is currently performing in hit musical ‘Les Miserables’ in London’s West End. You may recognise him from X-Factor, where he made it through the selection process, all the way to ‘Judges’ houses’ in 2015.

DST Sabbatical Officer, Kate Barton, caught up with him to find out what life has been like for him since leaving Durham….

When did you graduate and what did you study?
I graduated twice actually! I completed my BA Geography in 2013 and then finished an MSc in Marketing Management the following year. 

Did you know when you graduated that you wanted to perform full-time?
Absolutely not! In the back of my mind there was a part of me which was ruing the fact I never bothered trying for drama school, but I spent the following 12 months after graduation working in marketing at home whilst applying for graduate jobs in other industries.

What was your X-Factor experience like?
X Factor was manic, eye-opening and fulfilling, and without sounding too pretentious I honestly grew a lot from it. I’m not in the position to criticise the show as it gave me an incredible platform and opportunity. However, I was wise to the fact that it was first and foremost a TV show. Sadly, I feel like a lot of contestants forget that. Being aware of that 24/7 helped me a lot during the process.

How did you get involved in Les Miserables?
The casting team for Les Miserables actually contacted the X Factor asking about me, and they asked me in for an audition and then I joined everybody else in the typical audition process. 

What’s your favourite song in the show?
When I’m in the ensemble, I love the opening convict scene (“Look Down”) or “At the End of the Day”. As Marius (the part I cover), I love the whole of the ABC café.

Is it challenging performing the same show night after night?
Yes and no. It can sometimes be hard to maintain focus to the highest degree, but quite simply it is our job to do so. Occasionally you get these “Les Mis moments” where you still have to pinch yourself about the job your doing.

What was your Durham highlight during your time here?
My involvement with DST and DULOG. It has given me both a wealth of experience and some incredible industry contacts. If I had to pick one specific moment it would be my first and sadly final directing experience in Durham with The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

What is the best thing you’ve done after Durham?
Les Miserables, but performing at Wembley to 7,000 people was singularly the best two minutes of my life.

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Karen Frost

Karen Frost