ALL the world's a stage for Redland Bay's Dakota Striplin, who is backing up his appearance on the popular TV show The Voice with a lead role in the perennial musical Hairspray.
The 17-year-old, known for his rockabilly quiff and Elvis good looks, has come a long way since first taking to the stage at the Redland Bay Hotel for Busking by the Bay in 2008, when he was 14.
Since then, he's won a string of awards, dazzled audiences around the country singing at FretFest and on The Voice, cut a CD of his own compositions, starred in the Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols, played a stage-version of Harry Potter and even finished his high school certificate.
As if a gruelling season on stage as Link Lincoln in Hairspray is not enough, the talented teen plans to broaden his horizons and perform at the TeenHoot Hootfest, in Nashville, Tennessee, in July.
The two-day music extravaganza, designed to give teen musicians world exposure, was an opportunity Dakota was never going to turn down.
"My father comes from Memphis and so does Elvis, who has been a great inspiration," Dakota said.
"When I heard about this rock'n'roll festival in Nashville, I sent the organiser, David Malloy, a video and he invited me to play.
"When I get back I will be working on my iTunes recordings, which is another facet to my career," he said.
Dakota said the six-week Hairspray rehearsal period, considered short for a theatre production, was a steep learning curve but good experience.
"I've never really done formal dance training but I did dance at school but I am slowly getting there even though everyone has picked it up," he said.
"The choreography by Callum Mansfield is awesome and will really make this a show with a difference."
He garnered the role of slick teen heart throb Link Larkin, the object of affection for lead character Tracy Turnblad, after the original actor, Dan Venz, hurt his back and was unable to make rehearsals.
Dan recommended Dakota to producer Tim O'Connor, who remembered awarding the young Dakota first prize in the 2010 Christmas Star competition, part of the Brisbane Lord Mayor's Christmas Carols.
Auditions were held for the role of Link but Dakota won the part, despite being under 18. He will turn 18 while on stage in front of all his family and friends on June 26.
Hairspray runs from June 22 to July 1 at the Playhouse Theatre, QPAC, South Bank.