MATT PAGAN isn’t just feeling like a Prince after world-wide success with singing act Collabro, he’ll actually be playing one at Newcastle’s Tyne Theatre and Opera House for its Christmas panto Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

There’s just a small matter of polishing off a tour supporting Cliff Richard and a headline tour this autumn before Pagan sets off in search of his pantomime princess.

Asked about the Britain’s Got Talent winners link-up with Cliff, Pagan says: “It was awesome. We did a gig in London and met Cliff Richard and he came backstage to see us and he asked us to go on tour with him. He’s just incredible.”

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Collabro focus on musical theatre songs, which has seen them release three top ten albums, Stars, Act Two and Home, but might not be seen as an automatic choice for Cliff fans.

“Well, yes, Cliff was staging a rock’n’roll tour and you couldn’t get any different to us. We didn’t change our set list as a result. We still did all our musical songs like This Is The Moment from Jekyll and Hyde and Bring Him Home and I Dreamed A Dream from Les Mis and Stars, obviously. We also threw in That’s Life by Frank Sinatra and ended with Oh What A Night. So we felt we were getting the audience in the mood for Cliff,”

Having just played Scarborough with Cliff, Callabro return to the region in the autumn and perform at Sage Gateshead and Harrogate.

But how did Pagan finish up the years as panto royalty? “Well, I worked with the Newcastle producers, Enchanted Entertainment, back in 2013, right before we went on Britain’s Got Talent. It is the best company to work for and I played the same role in that same show, so it’s going to be amazing. For me, it’s close to home because I live in Carlisle and I can stay with my mum and dad.

“The last night of Collarbo’s tour is Harrogate, on December 2, and on December 3 I’m in rehearsal for panto. It’s literally no rest. It’s going to be full-on for the rest of the year now because we also have several corporate gigs in the summer as well. We don’t stop, he says.

The past four years have been quite a transformation for Pagan because he was a kitchen salesman on the eve of appearing on Britain’s biggest reality TV show.

“I originally started out as a chef, but ended up changing from working in kitchens to selling them. I think being a chef was easier because I found I wasn’t a very good salesman. I had a six-month contract in Spain that year and then went into panto and then Britain’s Got Talent. It was crazy,” he says.

As a result, Pagan won’t be turning up on Tyneside as a celebrity star name who isn’t quite sure about shaking a leg on stage. “I hope I’m in a different category from most celebrities in panto. Hopefully, I’m going to have a couple of big songs in there, although I’m not sure who Snow White is going to be yet. The theatre is about to audition for a North-East girl to play the role,” says Pagan, who admits his attempts at a Geordie accent are pretty bad.

“I’m excited to see who Snow White will be because there is always a lovely duet in this show. The thing about panto is that Collabro shows are pretty full-on all the time. Panto is so much fun. I’m sometimes allowed to do the odd ad-lib, but that depends on the director Guy Pascall. He also worked with me in 2013. His attitude towards me has never changed from when I was a jobbing performer to winning Britain’s Got Talent. He’s always been very supportive.”

Not everything else stays the same. Collabro found fame and a contract with Simon Cowell’s Syco record label as a five piece. Pagan, Michael Auger, Jamie Lambert and Thomas J Redgrave then recently parted company with Richard Hadfield.

“We’re stronger than ever now. On the Cliff tour we’ve been sitting about and chatting and having the occasional drink. The dynamic is amazing now after there being a lot of problems. We’re absolutely perfect. The challenging part was being together 24/7 and you do get on each other’s nerves and stuff. The fact is, we now have a hotel room each, not because we don’t like each other but it’s nice, at the end of the day, to have your own space. Richard didn’t necessarily always agree and he, essentially, wanted to do his own thing and that’s why he left. There were a lot of problems and that is now not there and we’re excited to be moving forward,” Pagan says.

“Like any band you have the odd spat, but what we did do was sit down and instead of calling a day when Richard left we decided to create our own record label and release another album (Home). Previously our albums had been musical theatre but we were asked to include crossover songs as well. We didn’t fight that, but the reason we created Home was because we went back to our roots and selected just musical theatre. We thought it was quite poignant.”

The four-piece’s first performance was on Soccer Aid on national TV, at Old Trafford, a year ago. “So, that was no pressure,” he jokes. “We’d done our final show as a five in Jersey and, during the sound check, our manager came in and told us about Soccer Aid and asked if we knew Abide With Me. We felt we could do it with an autocue and he told us we would be flying straight to Manchester the following day to do it,” Pagan says.

Collabro have been voted The Nation’s Favourite BGT Winner and performed in the show’s tenth anniversary compilation of past contestants. They’ve appeared alongside Ed Sheeran, Dame Shirley Bassey and One Direction and completed toured in the US, Japan, Hong Kong and Canada, as well as three sell-out UK tours.

“We’ll just have to see how we top all this next year,” says Pagan.

  • Collabro tour: Monday, November 20. Sage One, Gateshead; Saturday, December 2, Harrogate International Centre.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, December 8 to 31,Tyne Theatre and Opera House. Box Office: 0844-2491-000 or http://tynetheatreandoperahouse.uk