NIK Kershaw's career has come a long way since playing Tweedledum as a child with the Co-op Drama Group in Ipswich.
The former 1980s pop icon, turned songwriter and now performer again, returned to the town last night for a one-off solo acoustic performance at the New Wolsey Theatre.
Although born in Bristol, Kershaw moved to Ipswich a year later and began his extremely successful music career while living in Suffolk.
A former pupil of Morland Primary School and Northgate Grammar School, the easy-going Kershaw is still very much aware his roots, including those as a child performing with the drama group.
“They are still talking about my Tweedledum,” he said.
Kershaw now lives in the Stansted area, but returns to Ipswich almost every week to see his mother Evelyn, who was at the New Wolsey Theatre along with his wife Sarah, to watch him sing and play the guitar.
His return bridged a gap spanning eight years from the last time he played the town at the Corn Exchange in 2001.
Kershaw's music has evolved over the years and although he is mellow enough to take things in his stride, he admits coming back adds a certain pressure.
The 51-year-old said: “I feel quite a responsibility. It's like coming back.
“I didn't make records for a long time. I spent a long time writing for other people.
“I remember being at the Gaumont in 1984 and 1985. That was pretty wild and extraordinary.”
As the years have passed, so his style has changed now he has gone back to being on stage.
He said: “I have just grown up really and it changes because of that. It's honest singer-songwriter music.
“I only started again in the last 18 months. I have been getting back doing festivals with the band and that's been a lot of fun. The solo acoustic is a new thing for me.
“In some ways it's better. It's not life or death. It's just a little bit of fun and hopefully others will think the same.”