SAMANTHA Barks says that landing the role of Nancy in the touring production of Oliver! is a ‘dream come true’.
The former Laxey girl has recently enjoyed huge success in London’s West End as Eponine in Les Miserables.
Since she stepped down from that role she has completed a Shakepearean theatre course and is now preparing to hit the road next month in the role that first brought her to the public’s attention.
Samantha leapt onto our screens in 2008 when she came third in I’d Do Anything, Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s attempt to find someone to play Nancy in his new production of Oliver! in London.
Although losing out to eventual winner Jodie Prenger, the BBC show saw her catch the eyes of various producers. She starred in the touring production of Cabaret before landing the coveted role of Eponine in Les Mis alongside, among others, the celebrated Alfie Boe.
Now Samantha is reflecting on returning to the role that started it all.
‘It’s such a weird feeling because this all started back when I was 16/17 when I had my first audition (for I’d Do Anything),’ she told the Manx Independent.
‘It’s been a massive part of my life this role, it gave me the shot in the industry in the first place.
‘Dedicating that amount of time to one role and then not getting to play it, then landing it four years later, it’s a dream come true.’
Samantha will begin her six-month stint on December 10 in Cardiff alongside Neil Morrissey, who will share the role of Fagin with Brian Conley throughout the run.
‘I have been working with them already in rehearsals, they are brilliant,’ said Samantha. ‘They are so much fun, it’s really great.’
She added: ‘We are doing some really nice venues on this tour. And we’ll be staying in each venue for a month at a time, which is different from Cabaret when we changed each week, which was fine but a bit tough.’