How many people have gone from a TV talent show to becoming a fully-fledged West End star to singing at the Oscars and fighting for survival with Bear Grylls? Just Samantha Barks, we’d wager.

Now she is releasing an album and heading out on tour, with dates including Richmond and Bromley.

She told us: “I’m in a nice space now where you can combine your passions and not be restricted to one.

“I have loved going from musical theatre into film back to musical theatre back to film and to go into music now felt like a good time.”

Still only 25, Barks came third on the BBC’s I’d Do Anything in 2008 and swiftly moved into West End roles.

Her real breakthrough came as Eponine in Les Miserables, which she played from 2010 to 2011.

She was chosen by producer extraordinaire Cameron Macintosh to appear in the 25th anniversary show at The O2 and then in Tom Hooper’s Oscar-winning film adaptation alongside Hugh Jackman, Anne Hathaway, Russell Crowe and Eddie Redmayne.

She was informed she’d got the big screen role on stage as she was taking her bows as Nancy in Oliver and it won her an Empire Award in 2013 for Best Female Newcomer.

Barks told us: “Les Mis has been such a highlight of my life.

“It is how I grew up really. From 18 to 22, that was the whole focus of my life.

“That whole process of making that film and being at the Oscars was so special. That one show has really shaped my life in an amazing way.”

Since then she has adapted Amelie for the stage in the US and is now releasing her self-titled debut album on June 10.

She said: “Singing was the first thing I fell in love with.”

She added: “I feel it is the perfect time for me to get to do this solo, which is probably the scariest thing because I have performed in shows but it has always been ‘the show’ that I’ve been a part of.

“Now it’s my show and me. I’m a little bit vulnerable but excited about it.

“I have always had that character to hide to behind, whether it is Eponine or Nancy or whoever it is, where you are them and whatever you do is them.

“With this, it’s me - little old me - in front of all those people.”

Just like her stage and film work, the reaction to Barks’ first single Troublemaker has been incredibly positive.

She said: “The lovely reaction from that has been so overwhelming and heartwarming. It is just you putting yourself out there and people have been so lovely. I can’t wait for people to hear what I’m about musically.”

The album brings Barks on tour too, with shows at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley on June 13 and Richmond Theatre on June 26 – both venues she played in her first ever theatre tour, as Sally Bowles in Cabaret.

She said: “I love those venues. I was 17, it was my very first job. To be going back there at 25 as me, is very special. I have got such nice memories from both those theatres.

“Richmond I visit a lot because I’m a neighbour. It’s a beautiful place and the theatre is gorgeous so it will be very special to go back.”

Samantha Barks' new album is released on June 10 and is available for pre-order now. Samantha will also be embarking on a nationwide tour on June 8. For more information, please visit

Like our What's On page on Facebook for entertainment news, interviews, reviews and features from across south London.