MOST 14-year-old boys would not dream of being seen in a dress.
But Hartlepool schoolboy Tom Adams has embraced the idea of donning silky garments, complete with stockings, blonde wig and full make-up.
The Manor College of Technology student has been named British Senior Song and Dance Champion after competing in drag and performing the hit I Am What I Am from the classic musical Le Cage Aux Folles.
The youngster beat off tough competition from rivals with more conventional routines during a competition in Blackpool, and became one of the youngest to take the title.
Now the producers of hit West End Musical Priscilla: Queen of the Desert are keeping a firm eye on the budding star with the hope of him treading the boards in the capital in the future.
And he is also preparing to audition for the next round of ITV’s Britain’s Got Talent, with auditions starting later this month, after talent scouts spotted him at the championships.
Tom,who lives in Irvine Road, Owton Manor, with his mum Sharon, 41, dad Jason, 42, and sister Sarah, 21, is not one to be put off by any stigmas associated with men performing in drag.
He said: “I love it, and I love dancing and performing on the stage.”
Tom took the brave step to drag up for the competition after being persuaded by his dance teacher Debbie Barrass, of the Murray Street-based Debbie Barrass Academy of Performing Arts.
He said: “It took a while to convince me.
“At first I said ‘no I don’t fancy it’ but after a couple of months I changed my mind.”
Tom said it felt “brilliant” to don the bright feminine costumes.
“I love all of it,” he said.
“I love getting ready for it.
“It takes about an hour and that’s after I get fake tanned and have the false eyelashes and make-up done.”
He said his friends find his drag act hilarious, but added they support him.
Tom, who performs under the name Tamara, added: “My family supports me in everything, they say if you want to do that it’s up to you.”
And he said strangers at performances come up to him and congratulate him on his act.
Tom said he enjoyed a recent visit to the West End to see Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, where he also got to meet the show’s producers who have their eye on him as a potential future star.
Debbie said she first spotted Tom’s talent when he was just 10 years old when she went to teach a dance class at Rossmere Primary School.
She said: “I just saw this kid, little Tom, and thought ‘he’s just got it, this kid’. He’s a born entertainer.”
Debbie said she devised the Le Cage Aux Folles act for him but warned him: “If you’re going to do it, you’re going to do it properly”.
She admitted: “It took a while to convince him. But he has taken the audiences by storm.”
Tom has scooped a host of top song and dance titles since joining Debbie’s academy in 2007.
These include third place in the 2008 North of England Song and Dance Championships, winner of the 2008 British Junior Song and Dance Championship, runner-up in the 2008 English Song and Dance Championship and third in the 2009 World Song and Dance Championships.