Sunderland schoolboy hopes to leave audiences wanting more in Oliver

It's a case of art imitating life for Oliver Blake as he steps into the shoes of his namesake to leave audiences wanting more.

Wednesday, 30th March 2016, 11:43 am
Updated Wednesday, 30th March 2016, 11:46 am
Oliver Blake as Oliver

Oliver Blake, from Tunstall, is taking on the lead role in Oliver when the Dickensian musical opens in the region next week.

The 12-year-old, whose CV reads like a who’s who of musicals, says it’s a dream role.

The cast of Oliver

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“I’m so excited and cannot wait for show week, especially as it’s my namesake,” said the Durham Chorister School pupil.

Oliver will don the orphan rags of the titular character in a West End Operatic Society production of the classic tale, which runs at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House, Newcastle, from April 5 to 9.

It’s the latest moment in the spotlight for the talented singer and actor who’s rubbed shoulders with the likes of Jason Donovan, Mark Little and Marti Pellow in various productions at Sunderland Empire and Theatre Royal.

Proud mum Debra Quinn said: “This is a part he’s always wanted to play and all his friends and family are looking forward to seeing him in the role.

The cast of Oliver

“He’s been in Jesus Christ Superstar at Theatre Royal, Annie Get Your Gun and Evita at the Empire, and will be in Goodnight Mister Tom at Theatre Royal later this year.

“He also made the final four in the role of Bruce in Matilda in the West End.

“He’d love to appear on the West End stage, but he’s getting to an age and height now where shows will start to use young adults instead of children, so he’s just going to focus on his singing exams in preparation for a career when he’s older.

“In the meantime, he’ll grab every opportunity he can.”

As well as appearing on stage, Oliver sings in the Galilee Choir at Durham Cathedral as well as in the National Youth Choir.

He juggles attending one of the most prestigious singing schools in the country with honing his acting skills at Drama Lab in Shiney Row, and Stagecoach and Peanuts drama schools in Newcastle.

Next week’s production is a musical take on the classic Charles Dickens novel and features tracks including Food, Glorious Food, Where is Love, I’d Do Anything, Consider Yourself and Pick a Pocket or Two.

Oliver will appear in the evening performances on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

Tickets are available from Tel. 0844 2491 000 and online at