FROM school plays at Birchwood Primary to a world premiere in Manchester, it has been quite an impressive career trajectory for Oliver Ormson.

The 30-year-old was inspired to become an actor by his mum Jacquie Sheridan, who has been running performance groups in Birchwood since he was a youngster. Now – after making a name for himself in the likes of The Book of Mormon and The Addams Family – he is preparing to make history with Back to the Future: The Musical.

Fans without a DeLorean will not have to wait long because the production – based on the beloved film – will be at Manchester Opera House between February 20 and May 17. Oliver has been in rehearsals for the production’s world premiere and 12-week run in the city since January 6.

He is part of the featured ensemble as well as understudying the role of Biff.

The former Birchwood High and Priestley College student said: “It’s quite rare to be in a position to create a role or create a piece so I feel very fortunate to be given that opportunity.

“In musical theatre, most shows are already set up for you to slot into – you’re like a jigsaw piece. So to be involved in creating this production from the very beginning is thrilling. I’m really pleased it’s happening.”

Oliver moved to London to pursue his career and has been in the likes of Cats, Hairspray, West Side Story and High Fidelity. But he is relishing the opportunity to come back home for Back to the Future.

He added: “I remember as a kid going to see shows at the Palace and the Opera House so to finally be on stage there is a dream come true really.

“I’ll be staying at home during the run and I’ll be commuting from Warrington so it’s the ideal scenario – being with my family while doing something I love.”

Oliver is currently in rehearsals six days a week and there is the added pressure of the expectations associated with a new show – particularly one based on a movie with a cult following.

He said: “It’s intense but it’s also a lot of fun – the show is going to be amazing. I was part of three workshops leading up to the rehearsals so I had a taste of what is expected of me.”

Although creators Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale have ruled out more Back to the Future films, producer Colin Ingram eventually convinced them of the merits of a musical.

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Oliver added: “It’s not just that it’s an iconic film, it’s because the storyline and characters – the heart of the show – is very strong.

“It took years of negotiation with Robert and Bob but they’re now on board with it and are right behind this version of it.

“It’s been eight years in the making to get to this point and it’s been talked about much longer than that. I remember watching all the films as a kid when I was seven or eight and I’ve re-watched them since and they’re just timeless aren’t they? Excuse the pun.”

Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale have been involved heavily with the Manchester launch since then.

Oliver said: “It’s a strange feeling being in the same room as the people who directed and wrote this iconic movie you loved as a kid. It’s a small world.

“I’ve also had the chance to meet Glen Ballard who’s done the music. He helped make Michael Jackson’s Thriller and co-wrote Man in the Mirror. To work with people like that is amazing.”

The production follows a similar story to the time-travelling original.

When Marty (Olly Dobson) is accidentally transported back to 1955, he disrupts the order of things and must ensure his high school-aged parents still fall in love in order to save his own existence.

Oliver added: “It’s based on the first film and it’s like a heightened musical version of that. It’s got original music but it’ll also have the classics in it like Power of Love and Johnny B. Goode.

“So it’s going to scratch that itch in terms of giving people what made them enjoy the film so much but there will also be some big musical dance numbers.

“In terms of its technical aspects it’s the biggest show I’ve ever done and maybe the biggest one there is at the moment in the UK.”

As for Manchester beating the West End to the world premiere, Oliver sees it as the best of both worlds. The north west gets the prestige while it is also a testing ground for the West End run.

Oliver said: “You have to get it right. You can’t just throw it into the West End and hope it sticks. You want it to be perfect.

“Manchester is a bit of an entertainment hub with the BBC and Media City and also because of its great theatres as well.

“I think that’s why it’s been chosen as the place where they can really hone the production into what they want it to be.”

Meanwhile, next month you might see Oliver closer to home – he expects to be involved in his mum Jacquie’s latest project Birchwood Acts.

He added: “I helped out with the Christmas show and when the musical starts I’ll have Mondays off and that’s the day Birchwood Acts rehearses so I’m sure she’s going to rope me in to doing some stuff for her. I don’t think I’ll have a choice.

“I’ll be in Warrington from February to May so I’m sure I’ll be helping out at Birchwood Acts in some way.”

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