AN actor who recently performed in the USA has spoken of the challenges of finding work in East Lancashire.

Rayo Patel has returned to his hometown of Blackburn after performing for two months at the Los Angeles Opera House in Philip Glass’s production Satyagraha, about the life of Gandhi.

The 25-year-old was one of 12 British actors hand picked to take to the stage in an ensemble, a group of different skilled performers such as actors, aerialists and puppeteers.

Rayo, who was visiting the USA for the first time, performed in front of sell-out crowds of over 2,000 and A-list celebrities, including Jack Nicholson and Natalie Portman.

Despite his success , the former St Wilfrid’s Church of England Academy student, who descends from an Indian Parsi family, says the life of a working class Asian actor is a ‘challenge’.

The former arts administrator at Queen’s Theatre, Hornchurch, in London, said: “I did not want to limit myself to certain stereotypes.

“It has been challenging finding work particularly as a working class Asian.

"The main role you are suggested to audition for is as a member of ISIS.

“When I told my parents I wanted to do acting they didn’t take it well because of how difficult it is to succeed in this industry.

“Public perception seems to be that you can only be successful in this industry if you are in Hollywood.

“To audiences it does not matter if you are in the West End or abroad because people’s expectations are, ‘why have I not seen you on TV’, and I am trying to dispel that view.”

Rayo, who moved to London in 2013 for professional training, says he has taken himself away from traditional acting and instead focused on puppetry, circus work and clowning.

It has allowed the actor, of Crompton Place, to perform in highly physical and visual productions in Germany, Switzerland, China and America.

The former pupil of Blackburn’s Griffin Park Primary School hopes he can inspire other people in East Lancashire to mirror his journey.

He added: “It would be terrific if I had any part in encouraging talented performers from the North West, who may have been dissuaded from the fantastic opportunities out there. But it is hard work but extremely rewarding.”