Former Ribble Valley student returns to her roots in Burnley and Pendle after landing lead role in top stage show

Samantha Harper is playing the lead role in Peter Pan at Blackburn's Empire Theatre.
Samantha Harper is playing the lead role in Peter Pan at Blackburn's Empire Theatre.
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Singer and actress Samantha Harper has returned to her Lancashire roots for a starring role on the stage.


Samantha, whose family live in Newchurch in Pendle, is playing the lead role in Peter Pan at Blackburn's Empire Theatre.

Samantha on stage as Peter Pan with the rest of the cast.

Samantha on stage as Peter Pan with the rest of the cast.

Her proud, mum, Rita has already been to see Samantha on stage four times and is planning a few more trips before the end of the run on Wednesday, January 2nd.

Rita said: "It is wonderful to have Samantha home and the show is fantastic.

"She was called for the audition and did not know which part she was auditioning for so when she got the lead role she was thrilled."

Pupils and staff from Samantha's former schools, St John's in Read and friends from Billington's St Augustine's RC High, have already been along to watch her fly across the stage in the high octane show.

Thrilled youngsters from Read went to see Samantha perform on her 27th birthday and they also got the chance to meet her backstage.

Samantha's talent was first recognised by her music teacher, Mrs Lonsdale, at Read School when she was just seven.

She underwent vocal training under Frances Prince in Whalley and starred in a number of school productions at St Augustine's.

After gaining straight As in Spanish, Music, Performing Arts and Theatre Studies at St Mary's College in Blackburn Samantha headed off to live in the capital at the age of 21.

After securing a place to study at the Musical Theatre Academy, known as MTA, Samantha went straight on to make her professional debut playing the lead role in the musical ‘"Around The World in 80 Days."

She then spent some time working for the Glyndebourne Opera Company before a spell performing as a lead vocalist in the Canary Islands.

Rita is Managing Director of the award winning family firm, Equestrian Surfaces, which is run by Samantha's brothers Thomas (32) and James (29). The company is based in Accrington Road, Burnley, but for many years was located in Padiham.

Rita admitted she had no idea where Samantha's talent had come from as no-one else in the family, including her late husband, Paul, Samantha's dad, was musical.

Her dream roles in the future would be to play Evita or the lead role in the musical A Star Is Born that was a recent box office smash.

Rita said: "Samantha has always given 110 per cent to everything she does.

"She originally just wanted to sing but a career in musical theatre has developed for her.

"She works very hard and is dedicated to her art so she deserves all the success in the world."

*For more information about Samantha's show ring the box office on 01254 685500 or go to the Blackburn Empire Theatre website.