HE 60th anniversary tour of Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap comes to Darlington Civic Theatre next week with Middlesbrough-born actor Lewis Collier playing the detective role.

The actor, whose parents live at Marton, appeared at the Civic last autumn alongside Jack Shepherd and Richard Walsh in the The Signalman and The Waiting Room.

His passion for acting developed during two years of theatre studies at AS and A level at Yarm School. In 2007, aged 18, he took up a place at Royal Holloway College, University of London, where he graduated with a BA(Hons) degree in drama and theatre studies.

"I come home as often as I can," he said. "I still have family in the area. They have always been incredibly supportive of my career and I love having them come to shows."

Collier plays Sgt Trotter, the detective whom he describes as "a bit of a whirlwind" who turns up in a snowstorm and begins questioning guests.

"Once he arrives with news that the guesthouse is somehow linked with the murder, he doesn't stop."

The first actor to play the part was the late Richard Attenborough in the original production at Nottingham Theatre Royal in 1952, which also starred his wife, Sheila Sim, who died last month.

The murder mystery then transferred to the West End and became the world’s longest running stage production at its London home after breaking the record in 1958. It recently celebrated its 26,000th performance.

After university, Collier gained a postgraduate diploma in acting at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, where he landed his first professional role, as Arcite in the Jacobean tragicomedy The Two Noble Kinsmen.

Other stage roles include parts in The Three Lions and Macbeth. He was also in the film Checkmate.

"I've been lucky in my career to date as I've worked with great companies on well received shows," he said. "I've had more experience in theatre, but film is a brilliant experience. In December 2014, I was running around Snowdonia playing the role of a hunter in a short film starring Dame Sian Phillips.

"To watch a film crew in full flow, especially filming sequences of a horse galloping through a forest, is magical – though 6am starts to get on location are less thrilling."

He is used to travelling having been on the national tour in 2014 of Pygmalion as well as last autumn's classic ghost stories.

"It's healthy for a show to tour as it keeps things fresh. New auditoriums and new audiences keep you on your toes," he said.

The 60th anniversary UK tour of The Mousetrap is approaching 1,000 performances and has broken box office records in many venues. The cast is headed by Louise Jameson. The Civic Theatre run is from Monday to Saturday, February 13.