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On the road to the future.

Byline: VAL JAVIN

WHAT better way to celebrate a centenary than with a whole new generation of talent? Next week, a company of young performers from the Strickland/Cook Theatre School will remind us all what it is like to dream about what lies over the rainbow.

These talented young performers will stage the Royal Shakespeare Company's version of the classic story of The Wizard Of Oz.

Expect to have your heart touched, to make new friends and enjoy fresh adventures in this bright, family favourite that is packed with sing-along classic tunes. There will be 85 children and young people 1stage team brimming with Huddersfield Light Opera Company members.

Look no further than the show's co-producers and choreographers, mother and daughter team Pam Strickland and Zoe Cook. The Strickland/Cook Theatre School is run by Pam who has choreographed and directed many of the Light Opera Company's musicals at the LBT and professional dancer, Zoe.

Zoe was centred stage with the Light for its centenary show in April, playing leading lady Sally Smith in a hugely successful production of Me And My Girl. She's also been at the heart of a string of other success stories for the Gallery By DAVID HAMMOND Light in shows such as Copacabana, West Side Story and Crazy For You. The show's accompanist is Emma Binns, the musical director Caroline Robinson. Both have worked extensively with local operatic societies.

And everywhere else, back stage and front of house, there will be familiar faces from the Light Opera team supporting a new generation of young performers which is just the kind of attitude to see the company on into decades more musicals.

Leah Stansfield plays Dorothy, the girl who is joined by the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion and Toto as they travel the universe of her imagination.

Megan Rawlins plays Aunt Em, with Keiran Palmer as Uncle Henry and James Walker as the Tin Man. Matthews Flinders, who took part in the finals of Dance Master in Blackpool earlier this month, takes the role of the Scarecrow and watch out for a guest appearance from Dominic Moccia as the Lion.

Dominic has emerged as one of the Light Opera's strong young performers growing into ever more high profile roles.

Alongside him in some of those full company shows have been performers from the last time Wizard of Oz was performed by the Theatre School seven years ago. Luke Flacks who was the Tinman, Ben Haigh who played the Lion and Tom Widdop who took the role of the Scarecrow.

In next week's company, the new generation of up and coming lead performers sees wizard turns from Jennifer Burndred as the West Witch and Keiran Marsden as Professor Marvel The Wizard with Annabelle Kaye as Miss Gulch and Hayley Diamond as Glinda.

Performances are on Friday night at 7pm with shows at 1pm and 5.30pm on Saturday. Book at the LBT on 01484 430528 or on www.thelbt.org Help celebrate young performers and the future of live musical shows.

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* THE FUTURE: The young performers from the Strickland/Cook Theatre School who will stage The Wizard of Oz at the Lawrence Batley Theatre next week
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Huddersfield Daily Examiner (Huddersfield, England)
Date:Jul 6, 2012
Words:535
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