Born in Newcastle, Oates was born to a nurse and police inspector and raised in Whitley Bay in the North East of England. He moved to London to attend Middlesex University in 2006 where he studied Theatre Arts. Oates also studied for a semester at New Paltz where he specialised in dramatic writing under Prof. Laurence Carr.
On graduating Oates was selected to write for EastEnders: E20 and spent time in the story department at EastEnders. Oates was later selected out of thousands for the 2010 Old Vic New Voices 24 hour plays which sparked his career in theatre.
Oates then wrote Silk Road for the Edinburgh Fringe (Assembly). Silk Road tackles the issue of buying drugs online and was the first play funded by the digital currency Bitcoin, it starred James Baxter and was directed by Dominic Shaw.
Oates next play Pig was produced by Silent Uproar productions for Hull Truck Theatre July 2015 and later transferred to the New Diorama Theatre in September 2015. Pig was based on extensive research and interviews with police officers and was about the state of the British police force.
Oates has collaborated with actress Katie Sheridan to create new online romantic comedy, Match Not Found launched October 2015. Oates is also a recipient of the prestigious Peggy Ramsay Legacy grant.
Oates play All In a Row was long listed for the Bruntwood Prize in 2016 and a revised version won the Bolton Octagon's Top Five competition, being selected from 850 plays to receive a rehearsed reading in March 2017.
Oates next play All In A Row proved controversial at Southwark Playhouse for its use of puppetry and brutal take on the themes of severe autism. The Guardian's four star review described it as "a lively, compassionate and darkly humorous show with the unmistakable ring of truth". Oates was nominated for Most Promising Playwright at The Off West End Awards for the play.
- Zombie Nation (2011) as part of the 24 hour plays, Old Vic Theatre, directed by Ed Stambolloullan
- Fan Fiction (2012) Rehearsed Reading, St James Theatre, directed by Dominic Shaw
- Silk Road (2014) Assembly Studios, directed by Dominic Shaw
- Hansel (2015) Assemble Fest, Directed by Alex Mitchell
- Pig (2015) Hull Truck and New Diorama, Directed by Alex Mitchell
- Mutations (2016) Pleasance Islington, Reading in association with University of Oxford, directed by Gareth Taylor
- A Memory For Forgetting (2017) Arcola Theatre, The Miniaturists 61, Directed by Dominic Shaw
- All In A Row (2017) Bolton Octagon, Top Five Readings Season, Directed by Ben Occhipinti
- Silk Road (How To Buy Drugs Online)(2018), Vault Festival, Live Theatre , Trafalgar Studios Directed by Dominic Shaw
- Rules For Being A Man (2018), Norfolk Tour, Directed by Daniel Burgess
- All in a Row (2019), Southwark Playhouse, Directed by Dominic Shaw
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- Marlowe, Sam (2018-08-09). "Theatre review: Silk Road at Trafalgar Studios, SW1". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2018-08-23.