Director Claire Cossins said: “This is the first time the Youth Theatre have staged a full-scale musical production.
“There are 28 children in the production aged between seven-12 years old. The children auditioned back in September last year. All auditioning children got a part in the production and all sing and dance throughout as part of the chorus. We have been rehearsing on Fridays ever since. We only rehearse for an hour and a half once a week so the children have had to put a lot of work in at home to rehearse their moves and learn their lines.
“One of our youngest members is Freya Silverthorne who plays Alice. This is the first time Freya, aged eight, has been on stage, and she is doing a fantastic job. I’m really proud of what she has achieved. I know her mum is super excited to see her.
“All the children put so much energy and vibrancy into their roles. It’s a pleasure to watch them develop their characters.
“I set the youth theatre up with a friend of mine from the Rustington Players, Paul Ward, in 2015 to bring a younger audience to the society and to spread the love of the theatre.
“Rustington had a youth theatre many years before and it was time to re-establish it. The youth theatre is currently geared for children aged seven-11 years old but we have had requests to set up a group for children aged between 12-16.
“Alice the Musical was selected as I had put the production on before and I thought it suited the children we currently had in our group at the time. I am a music teacher at Chesswood Junior School in Worthing, and I organise the large-scale productions there. I knew Alice the Musical could be adapted for a smaller cast and give the children lots of opportunities to have fun, sing, dance and have a character they could get their teeth into. There’s even an opportunity for audience participation. The Queen of Hearts, played by Phoebe Brookman aged eight, is a force to be reckoned with so I hope they do as she says!
“The children are wonderfully supportive of each other. They have made new friends and have grown in confidence together. I am so proud of all the children. I’m as excited as the kids. It looks to be a sell-out show so all their efforts will be rewarded.”
The Rustington Players will be in action again with Blithe Spirit by Noel Coward, directed by Simon Vyvyan, with performances from Wednesday-Saturday, March 15-18 at 7.45pm. Doors and bar open at 7pm. The venue will be The Woodlands Centre, Rustington.
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