Wednesday, October 2, 2013

October 2: British actress and singer Samantha Barks - Éponine in Les Misérables - is 23-years-old today.

Samantha Jane Barks was born and brought up in Laxey, on the Isle of Man. She moved to London to study A levels at The Arts Educational Schools (ArtsEd) in Chiswick. Barks began dancing at the age of 3, training in Ballet, Modern and Tap with Dancers Barre, then Stagecoach Isle of Man, Theatrix, Stage One and the Manx Ballet Company.

In April 2007, Barks released her debut album, Looking in Your Eyes, which sold around 600 copies. The album featured several songs which she co-wrote herself and was released on the independent label Brunswick Studios. She also performed at the Peel Bay Festival in June 2007 supporting Matt Willis and the Sugababes, which also saw appearances by Madness and The Who.

In December 2007, Barks represented the Isle of Man in the Maltese International Song Competition where she won the main prize of €2000 and the title of Best Foreign Singer. She sang the song "Nothing Else" from her album and "Play On,” a hit song in Malta.

In 2008, Barks competed in I'd Do Anything in which she was one of the finalists in a search for a new, unknown lead to play Nancy in a West End revival of the British musical Oliver! She reached the final where she finished third.

Barks starred as Zoe in Disney's television series Groove High, a mixture of live action and animation, which premiered on the Disney Channel UK 10 November 2012. The first season lasted 26 episodes. 

Barks starred as Nancy in the UK tour of Oliver! from 10 December 2011 to 1 April 2012. Barks reprised her role as Éponine in the 2012 film adaptation of Les Misérables.

During filming for Les Misérables, Barks recorded the song "Defective" for the album Scott Alan Live which was released in December 2012.

For her performance in Les Mis, she received nominations for the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture, Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture, and Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble, and won the National Board of Review Award for Best Cast and Empire Award for Best Female Newcomer.

In June 2012, just days after completing Les Misérables, Barks returned to the UK tour of Oliver! for two weeks at the Edinburgh Playhouse. On July 2013, Barks joined Universal's upcoming film Dracula, also known as Dracula Untold, which is set to be released 8 August 2014.

 She will be portraying Baba Yaga, an angelic woman who turns into an atrocious evil witch. Barks played the role of Velma Kelly in the 2013 production of Chicago at the Hollywood Bowl from 26-28 July 2013.


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