Sean Ridley is a 25 year old actor, filmmaker, camera operator, film editor and YouTuber from London. As an Actor he has played various roles in both musicals and straight plays, winning awards including Best Actor in a Musical and Best Actor in a Comedy. Born in Hammersmith in 1991, he relocated with his parents in the late 90’s to the Portsmouth area where he still lives. He played football at school, college and county levels and flirted with playing non-league full time but for various reasons was unable to commit. In 2011 he formed media production company ThemeWorld which has clients both locally and internationally. He currently works at Brentford Football Club, managing their premium video service Bees Player as well as the official Brentford YouTube channel.
Sean, also known as Ridley or Themepark, was diagnosed with aspergers syndrome when he was around 8 years old and a few years later after his parents battled with Social Services and the LEA was transferred to Waterloo (an EBD school in Waterlooville) in year 5 before moving to another, Lord Wilson School, near Park Gate for years 7-11. It was at LWS where things changed completely, going from being fairly unsociable to anyone he didn’t already know to being someone who’s not afraid of making a fool of himself. He started acting while at school and despite being bullied for it (regarded as being gay because he sang) continued, adapting and appearing in Blackadder ‘Goodbyeee’ for remembrance day in front of the whole school. While at school he noticed several of his peers denied that they had any form of disability and many of them saw autism as a way of saying ‘no hoper’. Sean went out of his way to prove otherwise and despite still having difficulties to the present day often regards Aspergers as his biggest asset, contributing to his ‘Jack of all trades’ way of going about things. Over time he began to battle against some of his autistic traits such as the refusal to make eye contact or the difficulty to have physical contact with other people (such as shaking hands) and started to make sure he would at any opportunity. Other problematic things such as routine and a feirce dislike to sudden changes like substitute teachers (which would historically cause him to react aggressively) also became things that mattered little down to a new attitude of: “It can’t be helped, it won’t kill me.” which he partly puts down to his time performing, when directoral changes could be made at any time on the fly. He became Leader of the School Council from year 9 to year 11 and on several occasions interviewed teaching candidates alongside one of two other students.
Sean started acting in 2003 with Stage One Youth Theatre, but his first notable role came in 2008 as 2nd Lt. Raleigh in the acclaimed Bedlam Theatre production of Journey’s End – a role he was subsequently nominated for Best Actor in the Portsmouth Guide Awards. Other roles include Mark in RENT, twice as Jean Valjean in Les Misérables and Edmund Blackadder in Blackadder Live on Stage in two local tours (2013/2014). In 2009 he first got involved with local company CCADS and with them has taken part in many award winning productions, himself earning several nominations and winning awards for his portrayals of Joe Casey in Our House, Scipps in The History Boys and Photographer Lawrence in Calendar Girls at the Curtain Call Awards. He has also appeared in London on a few occasions, including We’ll Meet Again with Carrie James Productions and also appearing in We Will Rock You at the Dominon Theatre in London, having won a short film competition while at college. More info can be found on the Acting page.
While in junior school Sean established himself in the football team as a fairly prolific striker, netting eight times in eleven appearances but was converted to a goalkeeper from senior school onwards after being played unsuccessfully as a left back, being told he was too small to play up front and was best suited in the back four – despite netting twice after coming on as a sub in his first appearance. In Year 9 he became captain of his school team, having not missed a game as the first choice goalkeeper since the start of the previous season, and led them in an unsuccessful tournament in the Hampshire Games – although keeping a clean sheet in two of the three games, he had a howler as he was lobbed from a forty yard strike after allowing it to bounce over the top of him. He clings on to a 100% penalty save rate, saving two and watching a third clatter into the post and back out again. In one notable game he watched best friend Gareth, a centre back, score from his own half having thundered a ball (which Sean initially called for and subsequently swore at Gareth for taking) over the top of everybody and into the top left corner. In year 10 he played one match as roaming midfielder for a game against St Vincent College, scoring one and providing assists for two more, but returned to the nets the following week in The Hampshire Games – wearing a long sleeved green Brentford shirt. His final game at school level was a 3-2 defeat which they led 2-0 in the 80th minute, in the dying seconds the ball was nodded out of his hands by one of his defenders for an own goal in a cruel smash and grab. Outside of school, as well as playing outfield for the school’s 5-a-side team ‘EBD’ (only failing to find the net in one appearance) Sean had established himself as a winger, known for his pace – and joined Jubilee 77 in 2007. Four months later he received a call up to trial for Hampshire, scoring a hat-trick, and established himself as a county-level striker – before an arm break put him out of action for 18 months. Sean returned to football at College and, despite scoring during the trials, was far from up to standard after the lengthy absence and only made the team sheet by going to cover in goal after both goalkeepers were in the same car accident. He kept his shirt as the first choice goalkeeper following a string of stellar appearances but after a gruelling 8-1 defeat to local rivals Fareham, with himself at fault for three of the first five goals, finished playing competitively in 2009. In 2012 he played as a midfielder in a charity football match between Eastleigh and Havant and Waterlooville at Eastleigh FC. Despite defeat – his performance for The Hawks’ was noticed but to work commitments was unable to step into Non-League football even on a part-time basis. As of 2015 he plays 5-a-side and trains with a full 11, on top of playing exhibition 11-a-sides semi-regularly.
While still quite young Ridley gained a huge love of media – first experiencing a full scale film set thanks to his aunt – and got into film-making. He used the name ThemeWorld as a production company name for his Media GCSE, which both he and his friend Gareth completed in just under six months as year 10 students – achieving the top level possible at foundation, a C. The following year the pair re-took the GCSE at higher level and together helped each other get a B grade. He YouTubed under the name of “ThemeparkTheDoctor’ briefly before changing to his now more familiar name of ‘ThemeparkRidley’ and became one of ‘The CAD Crew’. Although YouTube at this stage was fairly new and unpopular, the trio made up of Sean, Gareth and their friend Aaron gathered a following – mainly thanks to ‘Crazy Ass Days’ which saw the three pull pranks on each other and ‘The Misadventures’ where Gareth and Aaron would almost always end up getting Sean either stranded or seriously injured. They were occasionally referred to as the UK’s Tomorrow’s Nobody (with The Misadventures being similar to TN’s David Forgets). At college he started ‘Themepark’s Dungeon’, a satirical news show taking inspiration from Charlie Brooker and fellow YouTuber Philip DeFranco which was a success and resulted in Sean becoming a YouTube partner – however due to problems with several peers at college he stopped and most of the videos have since been deleted. He has appeared in several videos with his friend Ben Gratton on his channel TheGrattman.
Sean attended South Downs College from 2009 and studied for a BTEC National Diploma in Film and TV Production. During this time he met his close friends Ben Gratton, James Hobson and Tom Wright – whom he has collaborated with for various film projects over the years. Sean and Tom worked together for their final major project and wrote ‘The Studio’, with Sean writing the screenplay and Tom acting as script editor while the pair worked on the storyline, sharing directing duties. At the same time, they both worked on James’ FMP Under The Rug. Sean on screen playing Nick and Tom worked as a camera operator. Tom was unintentionally given a Cameo when Sean adlibbed in an insult at Tom mid-take, which was kept in during post-production. Both films were edited in Sean’s home-office over a fortnight.
Following successful completion of his diploma, gaining the top grade, Ridley incorporated ThemeWorld as a full time company together with Ben, Tom and James as well as Phil D’Souza (who had worked with him on a ‘Misadventures’ video, discovering in the process a love of Sound Engineering). TW was made to create original films and shorts as well as provide production services in the local area and shortly after started to work up and down the country, filming several West End productions and corporate videos and marketing campaigns for international organisations. He started building ThemeWorld while at college, often taking business calls during lessons and freelanced by using the name in order to get work as he wasn’t taken seriously under his own. The same year Sean was asked to join a film project by friend and owner of TNT Films Rob Thrush (whom produced Journey’s End and later mentored Sean in post-production), the project was a re-imagining of the lost Doctor Who story ‘The Power of the Daleks’ which had been re-written by Nick Scovell – one of the most well known ‘Fan’ Doctors to have ever played the title role. Following several successful years, ThemeWorld went into Group Structure in mid 2014 and is part of a network of four organisations as part of The ThemeWorld Group and is operated with the help of long time collaborator Ben French, with assistance from Dave Edwards and Billy Jameson.
In July 2014, Ridley joined Brentford Football Club (the team he has supported since he was a boy) as their Video Manager and currently maintains their YouTube channel and premium video service Bees Player, notably bringing together the Club’s Commentary service and the match footage in half an hour highlights packages broadcast the day after a match. In October of this year he spent a fortnight interviewing fans and former players to put together a ten minute 125th Anniversary Film to be shown at the club’s 125th Anniversary Dinner at the Hurlingham Club, which was extremely well received and was ‘the most difficult ten minutes’ he faced until fans in the audience applauded during the opening sequence as ‘Brentford Are Promoted to the Championship’ came up on screen to Hey Jude, a song synonymous with Brentford, played underneath. An hour long version is currently in post-production as a separate project he’s doing in his spare time but he notes the reaction to the ten minute version one of the proudest moments he’s had as a filmmaker.
The forthcoming autobiograhy: ‘Nobody really cares about all that, but it makes me feel better to look at when I’m sad’ is due for release at some point this millenium.