Schoolboy lands West End musical role

A SUFFOLK schoolboy who has never had a singing lesson is set to tread the boards this autumn in the West End revival of the hit musical Oliver.

James Mortlock

A SUFFOLK schoolboy who has never had a singing lesson is set to tread the boards this autumn in the West End revival of the hit musical Oliver.

Nine-year-old Callum Henderson's achievement is all the more remarkable because his dad, Steve, died in February - just a week before he took part in his first audition for the BBC television series to choose youngsters to play the title.

The plucky youngster sang Where is Love at his father's funeral, then went on to win his way to the last 50 from 3,500 original applicants and was featured on the TV show I'd do Anything - although he failed to reach the final 12.


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The pupil at St Felix Primary School in Haverhill then received an invitation to audition for the Sylvia Young Agency in London, who took him on and asked if he would try out for another of the children in the cast.

He has to go for his final audition in September, but arrangements are already being made for his accommodation and education when he starts a six-month spell as part of Fagin's gang.

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Proud mum Tina Henderson, of Parkside, Haverhill, said although Callum sang all the time at home, she had not been aware of how good his voice was until it was spotted by his school music teacher, Petra Stephenson.

“The school has been brilliant,” she said. “His music teacher said she had never heard such perfect pitch and suggested that we might contact some form of stage school. We saw the ads for Oliver and although he did really well to get so far we thought that was the end of it.

“Since then it has been quite surreal how quickly things have moved on. He has always enjoyed singing, but you don't take much notice of them, everyone thinks their child is good.

“He is not one of those luvvies - he loves his football and is just a normal boy who happens to have a voice that he is not ashamed of. We have to commit to six months and it will be quite hard for him. Because of his age he can only do three days out of nine and I will have to get him to the stage door by 6pm.”

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