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Search for a "cheeky chappie" for new show

A "CHEEKY chappie" who fancies himself on the stage could find his moment in the spotlight thanks to a new production of Les Miserables coming to South Shields.

A "CHEEKY chappie" who fancies himself on the stage could find his moment in the spotlight thanks to a new production of Les Miserables coming to South Shields.

Locally-based Starset Theatre is on the look-out for a boy to star in its upcoming production of the musical favourite at The Customs House. A budding young actor is needed to fill the stage shoes of Gavroche – one of the youngest characters featured in the tale of redemption and rebellion set in 19th Century France.

No experience is needed at this stage, just a bit of confidence, and there are other parts up for grabs in the show to be staged next July, with the company hoping to cast roles over the Christmas holidays so rehearsals can start in January.

The show will mark Starset Theatre’s second staging of the musical at the theatre which, says director Elissa Hudson, is a major coup for the longest running class of its kind in South Shields.

Its 2008 schools edition of Les Mis, with Andrew Frost-Younger as young Gavroche, was a big success – with an extra performance having to be added to meet ticket demand.

Elissa says: “Starset Theatre is the only company to have ever been granted rights to perform this amazing West End blockbuster at The Customs House.”

It follows negotiations with London agents for the show and, says Elissa, “learning that we have been given permission for a second time was an amazing feeling”. She adds: “But there’d be no point in revisiting the show if we didn’t think we could do it even better than before!

“This will be a fantastic opportunity for local youngsters, not only those who are already members but those across the region who want to become involved.”

The West End musical, which is based on Victor Hugo’s novel, made its debut in 1985 and remains a favourite.

The boy chosen as Gavroche will find he has a prime position in the cast and the moment at the height of the drama, when he meets his death, is likely to wring a few tears from grown-ups in the audience. “He has one of the most emotional moments of the show,” says stage school owner and director John Hudson. “In our last production, the death of Gavroche left even grown men in tears!”

The company is looking for a boy aged about seven to 12 (depending on height and voice) and, while stage experience would be helpful, it’s certainly not essential, says John. Full training will be given.

He says: “We need a young ‘cheeky chappie’ – someone who can sing and appear full of confidence, leading a gang of pick-pockets around Paris, evading capture by the police and assisting the revolutionaries in their fight.”

Elissa adds: “Although we’ve many talented youngsters in the theatre, there are a huge number of parts in the show and lots of scope for new members to join and be part of this.”

Anybody interested in taking part can call Elissa Hudson on 07932 645 495 or contact johnhudson.music @btopenworld.com

Rehearsals will take place at Starset Theatre’s base at Boldon Theatre, attached to Boldon School in New Road, each Sunday, 10am to 1pm. The show will run at the theatre for four performances over July 14 and 15 and tickets are on sale (£8.50 but rising to £10 from January 1). Visit www.starsettheatre.co.uk  for company information.


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