The Grand Opera House Trust’s 12th Summer Youth Production opened this week when a cast of 160 young people, aged 10-18 years, took to the Theatre’s iconic stage to perform the musical Oliver!. It is sixty years since the premiere of Lionel Bart’s masterpiece and, as well as winning numerous Tony and Olivier awards, it is one of the few musicals to win an Academy Award for Best Picture.
The Grand Opera House’s Summer Youth Production is the biggest project of its kind in Northern Ireland and the fully staged, costumed, and stylishly choreographed production was rehearsed over 10 days, and opened on Thursday 20 July 2023 for five performances.
Oliver! is often described as the perfect family musical with its enduring storyline which begins when Oliver Twist dares to ask for more food! Brilliantly interwoven with emotive, uplifting, and memorable musical numbers, the show perfectly showcases the talents of the ensemble cast and multi-talented principal performers as they bring the colourful characters of Oliver, Nancy, Fagin and the Artful Dodger to life. The outstanding musical score includes Food Glorious Food, Where is Love?, Consider Yourself, and I’d Do Anything, to name but a few. Award-winning director Tony Finnegan, musical director Wilson Shields, and choreographer Rebecca Leonard lead the creative and production teams in coaching the cast and mounting the large-scale production.
Ian Wilson, Chief Executive of the Grand Opera House said; “The Theatre’s Summer Youth Production is well established as one of the biggest and most critically acclaimed projects of its kind in the UK and Ireland. Oliver! highlights the amazing talent that we have in Northern Ireland, and while the Summer Youth Production is credited with helping produce future acting and production talent, we know it is also an important platform in developing young people’s confidence, performance experience and communication skills. I can assure audiences that those skills and traits will be in abundance on stage and that they will experience a show to remember…and wanting ‘more’!”
Oliver! is a Grand Opera House Trust Summer Youth Production presented by arrangement with Music Theatre International with the kind permission of Cameron Mackintosh and is supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.