AN ASPIRING actor from Tortworth could soon be considering himself a star after being cast in Cameron Mackintosh’s production of Oliver! at the Bristol Hippodrome.

Sam Caple, 12, has always been a keen performer.

His mum Anna remembers taking him to football practice when he was younger and instead of running down the field after the ball he would pretend to be Spiderman and swing across the pitch.

"He auditioned a couple of months ago and was very lucky to be given a part as we have been told that nearly 400 auditioned and they only needed two teams of 12 children who share the performances," she said.

Recently, Sam performed in productions of Joseph and the Technicolour Dreamcoat, Evita and in Peter Pan with David Hasselhoff at the Hippodrome last year.

The year eight student at Wycliffe Preparatory School in Stonehouse will be playing three roles - a workhouse child, a street urchin and a posh child in the scene featuring the song Who Will Buy?

"I am really looking forward to being in this show as I have always wanted to be involved in Oliver! I have sung a few of the songs in the past for exams and I love the music," said Sam, an avid Manchester City supporter.

The 12-year-old was in Dublin rehearsing with the cast earlier this month before opening night on Tuesday, January 22.

"The trip to Dublin was a great experience, it was wonderful to meet some of the cast and finally put everything together on stage with the set," he said.

"So far the rehearsals have been going well - they are great fun and I've made a lot of new friends but it has also been very challenging.

"They have worked us hard - we have been doing seven hours rehearsal a day since Christmas. It's a big professional show and everything has to be right.

"My friends and family and my teachers have been so supportive. I'm really grateful to all of them for all their help."

Sam, who has been performing since the age of four, is also preparing for his scholarship exams for Wycliffe College which will take place at the end of January – right in the middle of the run in Bristol.

His mother believes multi-tasking and time management are crucial show business skills.

"It is especially important if he wants to pursue a career in acting because in the next few years he will have to study for his GCSEs and A-levels, and hold down a normal job while he continues performing at the same time," she said.

Oliver! opens at the Bristol Hippodrome on Tuesday, January 22 and runs until Sunday, February 24.