See The Wizard of Oz at Leighton Park SchoolBy Chine Mbubaegbu
May 14, 2009
We’re off to see the Wizard
Teenagers from Starmaker Theatre Company will this weekend be searching for Emerald City.
Budding thespians at Starmaker are off to see the wizard – the wonderful Wizard of Oz – this weekend.
The older youngsters at the popular youth theatre company have just finished performing the tear-jerker West Side Story, and now it’s the turn of the younger ones to tread the Yellow Brick Road.
The upcoming show gives them a chance to stand in the spotlight rather than have merely minor parts or sing in the chorus in productions featuring the older members.
The performances, on Saturday and Sunday, will feature a pint-sized Dorothy, the Tin Man, the Scarecrow and the Cowardly Lion – and they’re all aged 13 and 14.
Jade Lovelock will don the ruby slippers as Dorothy, while Sam Tate will play the Lion, Matthew Hughes becomes the Tinman and Josh Gwitt wears the straw hat as the Scarecrow. The Wicked Witch of the West is Paige Mullarkey.
Starmaker’s chairman Dave Savage, says: “We’re doing it for our younger members. We have an age range of between 10 and 20 here. We do five shows each year and this is the perfect one for the younger ones. It’s a lovely show, with some lovely parts in it.”
The Wizard of Oz is one of those stories that has been adapted – or butchered – for different audiences over the years, with alternative productions including Wicked,
The Wiz and Return to Oz among the remakes.
But Dave says this production is sticking to the original, with no alterations and no quirky features.
“You can’t really mess around with the Wizard of Oz,” he says. “Everyone loves it.”
The production is just one event being held to celebrate the charity’s 21st year. And, with stars such as Kate Winslet in its alumni, Dave is keen to get more youngsters from Reading involved in future productions.
He says: “Starmaker is a fairly big organisation and it’s here for the kids of the Reading area.
“We’re not part of a major international network of franchises. It was set up for the kids. The whole of Reading should be aware of what Starmaker has done for the community.
“It gives youngsters the confidence and the self-esteem to take on anything.”
The show takes place on Saturday and Sunday at 3pm and 7pm at Leighton Park School Theatre in Shinfield Road. Tickets cost from £10, with concessions available. For details, call the box office on (0118) 978 9238.
Fancy being in the next Starmaker production? Auditions take place on Wednesday at Blessed Hugh Faringdon School in Fawley Road, Southcote. For further details, visit www.starmakeruk.org.