Leeds Playhouse has launched an open casting call to find young actors to star in the leading roles of Oliver, Dodger as well as the Children’s Ensemble as part of its staging of magical masterpiece Oliver! opening in Leeds this November.
The Playhouse is working with leading casting directors Keston & Keston, who recently supported the Playhouse’s search for Charlie Bucket as part of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – The Musical, which is currently on tour across the UK. Open auditions for all children will be held on May 27 and May 28, 2023, to find Oliver, Dodger and members of the Children’s Ensemble.
All young people who meet the casting criteria and who register by 17 May will be seen by the team. They must be 9-12 years old, under 5ft tall and live within an hour’s commute of Leeds City Centre. This is a paid role, and the Playhouse welcomes young people of all genders to audition. Full details and information below.
Casting Directors Keston & Keston said: “We’re looking for committed and enthusiastic young people to be part of the company for the annual Quarry festive show. We are looking for young people with excellent singing, acting and movement skills but no experience is necessary to audition. We welcome applications from young people of all backgrounds including communities typically underrepresented in main stage productions. We strongly encourage inclusive suggestions for this production.”
Leeds Playhouse Artistic Director James Brining, who will be directing the production, said: “Oliver! is such an incredible story; an exciting adventure that has captivated generations. At its heart is a young boy who overcomes incredible adversity. I’m really excited to meet young people from all over the region –working on this kind of project can be a joyful and exciting experience and I hope Oliver! will match similar productions I’ve worked on in the past at the Playhouse, like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and The Wizard of Oz. We welcome young people from all communities to audition and encourage everyone who is interested and fits the brief to apply even if you don’t have previous acting experience.”
Role: Oliver and Dodger
About: We are casting boys to play the lead roles of Oliver and Dodger.
Age: 9-12 years old (children must be 9 by 1 October 2023 to apply)
Height: Must be under 5ft
Availability: Children must be fully available from 1st October 2023-27th January 2024. Children cast will share the role throughout the period. This role will involve time off school, and young people must be prepared to be licenced in order to participate
Other: Children must have unbroken voices for these roles
Role: Children’s Ensemble
About: We are casting teams of boys and girls to perform in the children’s ensemble including the roles of Noah Claypole and Charlotte Sowerbury.
Age: 8-14 years old (children must be 8 by 1 October 2023 to apply)
Other: Children must have unbroken voices for these roles
Location: We are looking for children from the North of England who live within a 1-hour commute from Leeds City Centre
Availability: Children must be fully available from 1 October 2023-27 January 2024. Children cast will share the role throughout the period. This role will involve time off school, and young people must be prepared to be licenced in order to participate
Who are we looking for?
We are looking for young people of all genders aged 8-14 years old who love to perform.
Where can the children come from?
We are looking for children who can travel into Leeds City Centre within approximately 1 hour.
Where and when are auditions happening?
Auditions are happening at Leeds Playhouse from May 2023. There will be various sessions and eligible children will be invited to a workshop session.
Can I stay with my child at auditions?
Parents/guardians will be asked to wait outside the audition room. There will be professional chaperones to look after the children.
How do I register my young person’s interest for an audition?
All children who meet the casting criteria will be seen by the team.
Does my child need experience?
No. Children don’t need any experience to apply or audition. We strongly encourage applications from newcomers and children from all backgrounds. We are looking for young people who can act, sing and join in movement/dance scenes with the company.
What roles are you looking for?
We are looking for young people to play the roles of Oliver, Dodger and the Children’s Ensemble.
What should my child wear/bring to audition?
Children should wear comfortable clothes. No need to bring anything else though – just themselves!
What will happen at the audition?
The first-round auditions will be fun, friendly and informal. We will invite children to meet the team and take part in a short group workshop involving singing and acting.
Does my child need to prepare anything?
Children will be asked to prepare a verse and chorus of a song from the production. This will be emailed in advance with an audition invite session and all material will be sent including lyrics, guide track and with support to prepare for the audition. On the day, the team will also help prepare all auditionees.
When will my child hear if they have been successful?
The team will send outcomes by email after auditions. Every child who auditions will hear from the team. Please note no outcomes will be given on the day.
What will the commitment be for the children who are cast?
They must be fully available from 1 October 2023-27 January 2024. Children will rehearse and perform on a schedule with the roles shared between them. Children will still attend their own school for the duration of this production, however some time off school will be necessary throughout rehearsals and performances, but we will do our best to minimise this through careful scheduling. Parents/Guardians will be provided with dates on offer but will be required to accompany and drop children off at the theatre for rehearsals, matinee and evening performances. Children will be accompanied by licensed chaperones and looked after at all times in the theatre.
Will my child receive a payment for being in the production?
Yes – there will be an expenses payment for both rehearsals and performances, which will be discussed during the casting process at the offer stage.