Sunderland actor brings Sunderland Empire audiences to their feet in Rock of Ages

After growing up watching Sunderland Empire pantos, actor Adam Strong has finally made it into the spotlight himself.

Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Wednesday, 24th July 2019, 5:33 pm

The 31-year-old from East Herrington has a successful career in musical theatre, starring alongside fellow Wearsider Ben Forster in Jesus Christ Superstar and in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat alongside Joe McElderry.

Although he’s appeared on some of the country’s biggest stages, it’s Adam’s role in Rock of Ages that’s led to him making his professional debut in the Sunderland Empire spotlight.

The show opened this week at the theatre in High Street West, and Adam says it’s an amazing feeling to have so many of his friends and family in the crowd.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sunderland born actor Adam Strong in Sunderland Empire Theatre's Rock of Ages

“Every time we’ve been on tour in other musicals, Sunderland has always been missed out, so it was the first thing I looked for on this tour schedule,” explained Adam.

“Northern audiences are always brilliant, but the atmosphere’s been electric for this show. There’s so much energy and comedy in the show and Northern audiences really respond to that.”

Adam, whose family run popular city centre restaurant Arabesque, last appeared on the Empire stage when he was a schoolboy in various dance productions and in a child part in South Pacific. Sister Sonia was also a regular dancer in Empire pantos and Adam would sit in the dress circle dozens of times to watch her.

She spurred him into pursuing singing and acting and it led to him winning a coveted BBC Fame Academy scholarship for a place at London School of Musical Theatre.

Adam Strong backstage at Sunderland Empire

He went on to create his own show, The World of Musicals, which toured Australia and Europe before landing roles in a string of other productions.

His year as The Mayor and Ja’Keith in Rock of Ages, as well as understudy to three principal characters, comes to a close next month with just a couple of days break before he starts rehearsals for his next role.

The cast was announced last week for the Queen and Ben Elton's musical We Will Rock You’s 2019/20 UK & Ireland tour, with Adam cast as Khashoggi.

*Rock of Ages is at Sunderland Empire until July 27. Tickets here.

Adam with the Rock of Ages costumes
Adam Strong (in the tie dye t-shirt) on stage with Rock of Ages. Picture: ©The Other Richard
Adam Strong (back middle) in Rock of Ages. Credit: The Other Richard