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Singer Gareth Gates prepares for new role in Footloose

PUBLISHED: 12:43 25 January 2016 | UPDATED: 12:43 25 January 2016

Gareth Gates. Credit: David Ellis

Gareth Gates. Credit: David Ellis

Archant

He will star alongside Maureen Nolan and Luke Baker.

Singer Gareth Gates will be performing in Dartford next month.

Mr Gates shot to fame after becoming the runner-up on the first series of talent show Pop Idol, going on to sell more than five million records worldwide.

He has also enjoyed a successful stage career - with theatre credits including Les Miserables, Legally Blonde and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.

The performer will be taking part in musical Footloose - which will be making its way to the Orchard Theatre.

The show - which is based on the hit 1980s film - features music and dancing.

“I am a big, big fan of the film. It was released the year I was born in 1984. As a child I watched it quite a bit, it’s a classic,” Mr Gates told KoS.

“My part in the show is a character called Willard, and he’s the character who can’t dance – which suits me down to the ground.

“He’s a cowboy from Beaumont. It’s a really small town in the United States where everybody knows everybody’s business. Ren – played by Kevin Bacon in the film – arrives in Beaumont and shakes up the town.

“The vicar and the town council have banned dancing, so Ren tries to get that law lifted so people can be free to express themselves.”

Mr Gates has been stepping out of his comfort zone and rehearsing a dance that he will perform in the show.

“Willard is a terrible dancer and Ren teaches him how to dance and at the end I have a dance break of my own – which I am dreading,” he said.

“I have training in musical theatre, so I have had to do bits and bobs of dancing.

“I was on ITV’s Dancing on Ice, there’s some bits of dancing on that as well, but never as much as this.

“I think once I know all my dance stuff and I’ve performed it several times it will become second nature.”

And he said that his character is a change from the roles he normally has.

“Willard is a character in the musical that’s quite light-hearted, he’s a sort of comedy role, and therefore this is brand new for me.

“I have never really played the ‘funny guy’ in a show, I have always been quite serious or done panto and played the Prince.

“I am really looking forward to playing something completely different and completely new. I like to challenge myself.”

Mr Gates is happy to be returning to the Orchard Theatre to perform.

“I have played there a few times, in Boogie Nights several years ago. I did a big charity do there last year,” he said.

“I love the theatre, I have spent quite a bit of time there and I can’t wait to be coming back.”

He will be starring alongside Luke Baker, who will play Ren, and Maureen Nolan, who plays Vi Moore.

“Maureen’s great, she’s such a lovely woman. She’s a legend in her own right. It’s quite nice to be around the likes of her and the rest of the cast.

“All the actors also play instruments, we don’t have a separate band. They are just a very talented bunch. Working amongst people like that is incredible.”

So what’s next for the singer?

“I have been writing my material myself and I will definitely be bringing an album out in the future, it’s just when. I am so busy,” he said.

“I think my career will be a mixture of both theatre and my own material. I like both sides of the industry.”

Footloose will run from February 8 to 13.

For more information or to book tickets visit www.orchardtheatre.co.uk or call the ticket office on 01322 220000.

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