Internationally renowned actor Hugh Jackman has gifted everyone working and studying at a Shropshire college arts centre with a signed photograph and special message after hearing about its work.

Hugh – best known for his roles as Wolverine in the X-Men film franchise and P.T. Barnum in The Greatest Showman – has sent the picture and his “luck and love” to Ellesmere College Arts Centre.

Hugh’s connection to the college was made through the musical Oklahoma!

In 1998, Hugh played the lead role of Curly in the Royal National Theatre’s production of Oklahoma! – a performance which gave him his international break and an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

Earlier this year, he arranged an Oklahoma! reunion where the original cast accompanied him onstage during the first half of his O2 Arena Tour. Howard Ellis, who recently performed in the Brightman and Bocelli tribute concert at Ellesmere College, played the role of Joe in the production, understudied Hugh in his role as Curly, and was invited to join Hugh on his tour.

During rehearsals, Howard would often find himself discussing the excellent work being done at the Ellesmere College Arts Centre with Hugh, and this led to Hugh very kindly writing the message of good wishes to the department.

Rachel Schubert, Director of Drama at Ellesmere College, said: “We are all huge fans of Hugh’s work here at the Arts Centre, and we are so incredibly proud and grateful that he has taken the time to send his best wishes.

“It is wonderful that we are able to display his support for the Arts here at Ellesmere College.”

For more information on Drama at Ellesmere College, please visit:

Pictured: Ellesmere College Year 13 student Gracie Shallcross with the gift.