WATCH: The local performers making up 100-strong Oliver cast for Waterside Theatre’s first ever Stage Experience

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The countdown is on to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre’s first ever Stage Experience in collaboration with Vivo D’Arte and Aylesbury Vale District Council featuring 126 local performers.

The cast of 126 local performers aged 7 to 23 years will work together with technical participants starting with intensive rehearsals on Mon 7 Aug culminating in performances from Wed 16 to Sat 19 August on the prestigious Aylesbury Waterside Theatre main stage.

Oliver full company

Oliver full company

Participants are coming from across Aylesbury Vale, wider Bucks and neighbouring counties to get involved with cast members from Bicester, Berkhamsted, Oxford, Waddesdon, Chesham and Bletchley to name just a few of the areas represented.

The rehearsal period will be spent blocking scenes, learning choreographed routines and honing vocals for the much-loved iconic score. Around 300 costumes are being made for the production, and a creative team of nearly 20 professionals ranging from Director to Technical Manager, Set Designer to Head of Makeup will be working tirelessly to get the show up and running.

Oliver! is one of the most beloved and well-known British musicals that vividly brings to life Charles Dickens’ story of the boy who asked for more. With a host of wonderful characters including Fagin, Nancy, Bill Sykes and the Artful Dodger as well as the Workhouse children and Fagin’s gang this show gives many opportunities for all ages to have their moment on stage.

Vivo D’Arte’s Co-Founder and Managing Director Dan Cowtan said: “We at Vivo couldn’t be more excited to get into the theatre and create what we have been planning for nearly a year now. With this perfect cast and a production like no other, Oliver should certainly not be missed!”

Oliver Theo Collis

Oliver Theo Collis

Tickets are on sale now from the Aylesbury Waterside Box Office. Alternatively call 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee. Calls cost up to 7p per min plus your phone company’s), or visit atgtickets.com/Aylesbury (bkg fee).

Principal Cast Biogs

Theo Collis – Oliver – Aged 9 from Aylesbury – attends Aston Clinton School

This is Theo’s first performance as a principal cast member, although in his own mind he’s starred in numerous West End and Broadway shows! He is 9 years old and currently attends the Peploe-Williams Academy for Theatre, Dance, TV & Film in Winslow. Theo is a keen contributor to his school plays and assemblies and is an active participant of the school choir. He has performed with them at Young Voices: O2 Arena and the Echoes Concert at the Royal Albert Hall in 2017. He also appeared as the Dog Catcher and ensemble member in Annie Jr. at the Waterside Theatre’s Second Space earlier this year. Theo enjoys drama, singing, playing his keyboard, reading, football and has a great interest in history and politics! Theo is thrilled to have the opportunity to play the role of Oliver and work with Vivo D’Arte and such a talented cast.

'More please sir' Theo Collis as Oliver

'More please sir' Theo Collis as Oliver

Riley Bettie – Artful Dodger – Aged 11 from Buckland – attends Tring Park School for the Performing Arts

Riley studies Drama, Musical Theatre, Singing, Ballet, Tap, Modern and Street Dance at school. Riley has appeared in the West End as Gavroche in Les Miserables. He has also appeared on film in the Netflix production of The Crown and the Universal Studios’ film ‘Top Dog’ and is due to appear in the film of Dumbo later this year.

Casey Bird – Nancy – Aged 23 from Hemel Hempstead – studied at American Musical Theatre Academy, London

Casey’s passion for Musical Theatre was evident from a young age. Her passion and determination have taken her everywhere from the school stage to the West End. Recently studying at the American Musical Theatre Academy of London, Casey hopes to continue to develop her talents at a further drama institute next year. These broadened skills paved the way for her to make her West End debut in May 2014 in the Broadway revival of Godspell at the Lyric Theatre.

Connor Dyer is Fagin

Connor Dyer is Fagin

Connor Dyer – Fagin – Aged 23 from Aylesbury – studying at Guildford School of Acting

Connor first took the stage at the age of fifteen with Tring Festival Company’s production of Footloose playing Willard Hewitt and since then has been involved in various productions. He has recently performed the role of Action in Vivo D’Arte’s production of West Side Story at Frogmore Paper Mill again after playing Mark in RENT last summer. Connor is currently studying at Guildford School of Acting. Previous credits include: Fagin - Oliver! and Leo Frank - Parade both for Vivo D’Arte at Watford Palace Theatre; Link Larkin - Hairspray (Vivo D’Arte); Danny - Grease; Joseph - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolored Dreamcoat; and Bernardo in West Side Story.

James Penniston – Bill Sykes – Aged 23 from Chesham – studying at Royal Northern College of Music

James is in his fourth year studying BA Hons Music, Vocal Studies, at the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester, under the tutelage of Louise Winter. James has recently been accepted to study a Masters in Musical Theatre at the Royal Academy of Music this September. Previous credits include: Nathan Detroit - Guys and Dolls (University of Manchester Musical Theatre Society UMMTS); Benoît - La bohème (Vivo D’Arte); Anthony - Sweeney Todd (Vivo D’Arte); Tom Watson - Parade (Vivo D’Arte, Watford Palace Theatre), Isidor Strauss - Titanic (UMMTS), Chorus - The Merry Widow (Royal Northern College of Music), Raoul - The Phantom of the Opera (Vivo D’Arte), Thenardier - Les Misérables (both for Vivo D’Arte and Hemel Hempstead Theatre Company - HHTC), Anthony - Sweeney Todd (HHTC); Pish Tush - The Mikado (HHTC), title role - Sweeney Todd (Headington Theatre, Oxford).

Ella Chisholm – Bet – Aged 19 from Bovingdon –

Ella has previously performed in amateur productions of Les Miserables, Noah the Musical, and Oliver! (as milk maid). Ella’s credits include: Les Miserables feature film (2012); Monsters vs Aliens (CBBC 2013); Tripped (2015 TV Mini-Series). School production roles include: Isabella in ‘Measure for Measure’; Ado Annie in ‘Oklahoma!’

Riley Bettie as Artful Dodger, Connor Dyer as Fagin and Theo Collis as Oliver

Riley Bettie as Artful Dodger, Connor Dyer as Fagin and Theo Collis as Oliver

Kiera Harris – Charlotte – Aged 16 from Oxford – studied at Wheatley Park School

Kiera is a member of Sands theatre arts school based in Wheatley,Oxford and was recently cast as ‘Lola’ in Copacabana which we will be rehearsing for a July performance week. Kiera has also performed in productions of ‘Looserville’, ‘Fame’, and ‘Guys and Dolls’. Through school productions Kiera taken part in ‘Grease’, ‘Back to the Eighties’ and ‘The Wiz’ where she played the part of the tin man. She is also a member of Musical Theatre masterclass based at ‘The Umbrella Rooms’ Shaftesbury Avenue in London which is directed by Michael Xavier.

Finlay Power – Charlie Bates – Aged 12 from Leighton Buzzard – studies at Aylesbury Grammar School

Rare Productions - part of the Ensemble in The Wizard of Oz (2015) and part of the Workhouse Ensemble in Oliver (2016). Played the role of Lumiere in school musical production of Beauty and the Beast (2016)

Mrs Bedwin – Lana Dormer – Aged 19 from Hemel Hempstead

Lana previously attended West Herts college where she studied performing arts and played Kate Monster in Avenue Q. Lana has also performed in Rare Productions: Dorothy - Wizard of Oz and Miss Hannigan – Annie.

Lana is currently taking a year out of education to work and looking to go to university/ drama school in September 2017.

Riley Bettie as Dodger

Riley Bettie as Dodger

James Penniston as Bill Sykes

James Penniston as Bill Sykes

Casey Bird plays Nancy

Casey Bird plays Nancy