Hackney schoolboy and Bodyguard star Jaden Oshenye: ‘He was born for the stage’

Jaden Oshenye

Jaden Oshenye - Credit: Archant

Emma Bartholomew catches up with Petchey Academy pupil Jaden Oshenye, who at 12 years old is already a rising star in the West End.

Jaden Oshenye

Jaden Oshenye - Credit: Archant

For 12-year-old Jaden Oshenye, starring in hit West End show The Bodyguard gives him a chance to show his “true colours” doing three things he loves most in the world – singing, dancing and acting.

Petchey Academy boy Jaden spent five months this spring touring the country playing Fletcher alongside X-Factor winner Alexandra Burke, who played his mother.

The show is based on the 1992 romantic thriller that starred Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston.

The cast of The Bodyguard

The cast of The Bodyguard - Credit: Archant

Now Jaden is balancing school life with three weekly performances at the Dominion Theatre where he shares a stage with chart sensation Beverley Knight.

Jaden said: “It’s nice to show what you’ve got in front of thousands of people every day.

“To see the crowd cheer for you and say ‘well done’ makes me feel happy and proud. I feel confident and it’s very uplifting.

Beverley Knight in The Bodyguard with Rachel John

Beverley Knight in The Bodyguard with Rachel John - Credit: Archant

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“The dancing is all about the facial expressions and how you move around and cover the space. You get to sing the high notes and it sounds beautiful, and acting shows who you can be and who you can’t be. It’s just really fun.”

Jaden is grateful to the Anna Fiorentini Theatre and Film School for helping him land the role through its agency.

He started at the acting school two years ago when his choir teachers at London Fields Primary picked him out to receive a bursary from the Anna Fiorentini Foundation, after stealing the show as the White Rabbit in Alice in Wonderland.

Jaden Oshenye with his mum Dion

Jaden Oshenye with his mum Dion - Credit: Archant

The bursary gives youngsters the chance to attend who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford it.

According to mum Dion, Jaden – the eldest of four – is a “born entertainer”, who has been “dancing since he was a baby”, holding onto other people for support. People would even pay him to dance at birthday parties.

“He would just go into the centre and dance and everyone would admire him,” she said. “Everyone around us noticed he had some talent.”

Jaden performs at the Hackney Empire on Saturday night in a special gala for the 15th anniversary of the Anna Fiorentini drama school.