04 Dec 2021

The search is on
for talent for Oliver

Following on the tremendous success of Jesus Christ Superstar, St. Mary’s Choral Society are preparing to present another blockbuster musical in Clonmel in November with Oliver.

Following on the tremendous success of Jesus Christ Superstar, St. Mary’s Choral Society are preparing to present another blockbuster musical in Clonmel in November with Oliver.

Clonmel will be filled with the sounds of ‘Consider Yourself’ and ‘You’ve got to pick a pocket or two’ when the Society raises the roof of the White Memorial Theatre for the much loved, timeless musical.

The challenge is now on to find new talent for the roles of Oliver and the Artful Dodger, plus a large number of loveable rogues (boys and girls) to play Workhouse children/Fagin’s Gang.

St. Mary’s will be holding auditions for boys and girls (7-12 years) in early September and, in conjunction with its media partner The Nationalist, children from Clonmel and the surrounding area are invited to apply to audition for the show. The application form is available in this week’s issue of The Nationalist (on this page), and when completed it should be posted or dropped into the White Memorial Theatre no later than Monday next, 5th September. Please note that applications will only be accepted on the official application form taken from the paper (no photocopies) but if there is more than one child in a family interested in auditioning, there is allowance made for same on the form.

Please also include a recent photograph if possible. Parents will then be contacted by e-mail/phone with details of audtion dates/times etc.

Based on the novel Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, Oliver was the first musical adaption of a famous Dickens work to become a stage hit. The show launched the careers of several child actors including Davy Jones, later of The Monkees, and Phil Collins, later of Genesis. Oliver premiered in the West End in June 1960 and in New York in 1963.

In 1968 the show was adapted for film, with a screenplay by Vernon Harris and direction by Carol Reed. It starred original Fagin Ron Moody with Jack Wild (The Artful Dodger), Shani Wallis (Nancy), Oliver Reed (Bill Sikes) and featured Mark Lester as Oliver. The 2009 London revival featured Rowan Atkinson in the role of Fagin. Leading roles of Nancy and Oliver were cast via the BBC reality television show series ‘I’ll Do Anything’. Three actors shared the role of Oliver and Jodie Prenger won the role of Nancy, narrowly beating Ireland’s Jessie Buckley.

St. Mary’s Choral Society have presented Oliver on two previous occasions to packed houses in the White Memorial Theatre. The 1978 production was directed by London Director Ray Jeffrey and featured, among others, David Croucher as Fagin, Mary Cummins as Nancy, Val Brennan as Bill Sikes, Michael O’Donoghue as Mr. Bumble, Colm Fennessy as Mr. Sowerberry, Conor McCarthy and Kieran O’Shea as Oliver and Terry Foley and James Barry as The Artful Dodger.

The 2001 production was directed by award-winning director Michael O’Donoghue and the Musical Director was Siobhan Alley. Included in the cast were Kevin Fahey as Fagin and Gillian Crowe as Nancy. Gerry Cunningham and Matthew Williams played Oliver and The Artful Dodger was played by Ciara McCullagh and Fiona Corcoran, with John King as Bill Sikes and George Barry as Mr. Bumble.

The 2011 production will be directed by Maureen Walsh, fresh from her recent success with Jesus Christ Superstar. Musical Director is Clonmel’s Danny Carroll, with Laura Cotter as Chorus Mistress. Choreography is by Gillian Hewitt-Fitzgerld, set design by Diarmuid Vaughan and the children’s rehearsals will once again be co-ordinated by society stalwart Margaret O’Sullivan.

Rehearsals for adults will commence on Wednesday, 7th September at 8pm in the White Memorial Theatre.

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