TJ Taylor, who was born and raised in Cudworth, is now the associate artistic director of a popular musical theatre school, Sing’theatre Academy, in Singapore.
TJ credits his piano-playing mum and DJ dad for his love of music, which inspired him to study performing arts at Barnsley College.
Once he turned 21, TJ moved to Singapore to pursue his dream of teaching the arts.
Years later, the singer now leads more than 250 musical theatre students with four full time teachers at the academy.
TJ told the Chronicle: “Whilst living in Cudworth, I was wondering what I would do with my career.
“I knew I wanted to teach and I applied for a job in Singapore teaching at a musical theatre school.
“I got offered the job two weeks before the last day of my course and was on a plane five days - after many tears from my mum.
“Initially it was only for a two month cover period so I knew I would be back home in the summer.
“One day after arriving in Singapore, with the 32 degree heat, sweat and fast-paced life, I knew it was a place I wanted to stay.
“The people I met, the things I have learned and the opportunities given have been far greater than anything I could have imagined back home.”
After impressing during this time teaching, TJ was offered his dream job of leading a theatre academy which has since grown significantly.
“Following my first three years, I was offered a job at Sing’theatre Academy as headteacher.
“This was a small theatre company that focuses on delivering music to hospitals and professional musical productions, and at the time only had six classes.
“Four years later, I am now the associate artistic director of the company and the academy has now more than 250 students.
“Last year I was fortunate to direct the Asian premiere of A Spoonful Of Sherman.
“We had the original set fly out from the UK and Robbie Sherman flew out to watch the show.
“It was an amazing directing debut for me and it was nominated at the Life Theatre Awards for Best Ensemble.”
Despite being busy with his teaching, TJ was also set to star in the lead role of The Full Monty Musical, before the pandemic halted plans.
“This year, alongside my job at Sing’theatre, I was offered a lead role in Pangdemoniums’ The Full Monty Musical.
“I was so excited for this and my mum and dad were due to fly out to watch my big musical theatre debut - seven years after my graduation.
“The last year was obviously tricky. Theatre and performance is about bringing people together to share a special experience together and this was taken away.
“Unfortunately all our live shows were cancelled. It was such a shame about the Full Monty but hopefully we will be back next year.
“Singapore is doing well. We are living a relatively normal life now with masks and social distancing and restrictions on groups.
“Live theatre is even returning with very limited audiences. It’s an amazing feeling to be back inside a theatre again after so long.”