Show will go on

"OH What a beautiful result!"An 11th-hour appeal through The Evening Star has ensured that one of the best-loved musicals has its young actors as the curtain goes up tonight.

By Jo Macdonald

By Jo Macdonald

"OH What a beautiful result!"

An 11th-hour appeal through the Evening Star has ensured that one of the best-loved musicals has its young actors as the curtain goes up tonight.

Five young theatre stars are able to take their rightful place in the cast of Oklahoma.

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The Appeal Group production has been in rehearsal since January but with the opening of the show only days away it became apparent the children may have had to be dropped from the show.

Despite filling out all the necessary forms to get a chaperone licence, the theatre company's application got stuck in a backlog.

Without a legal supervisor, Chloe, ten, and Ryan Conway, 11, Siobhan Bedford, 13, Michael Ryles, 13, and Danielle Adams, 11, would have been unable to perform.

They faced heartbreak that all their hard work was to come to nothing and made one last ditch appeal through the Star to find someone with a licence willing to look after the children during Oklahoma's run at the New Wolsey Theatre from today until Saturday.

They were successful and a couple of chaperones from Ipswich Operatic and Dramatic Society stepped in to the breach, with a little help from a friend of The Appeal Group.

Production manager, Jo Whelton, said: "The night the article went in I received a call so now it's all good.

"Suffolk County Council have issued the performance licences so we can carry on and the kids can go out on stage on Monday night.

"We're all over the moon about it. It's really good news."

"The children think it's absolutely fantastic," she continued. "They lost a bit of enthusiasm last week because they didn't know if there was any point in working hard.

"This week they've had a spring in their step. They're very happy children."

By law, all children in theatrical productions must be chaperoned by a parent or someone licensed. They must be supervised in the dressing rooms, walked to the stage, watched while they're performing and taken backstage again.

Someone with a licence is able to look after several children, while parents are only allowed to look after their own sons or daughters.

Recent changes in the process of obtaining a chaperone licence have resulted in a backlog of applications at the National Criminal Records Bureau.

n Oklahoma is at the New Wolsey from Monday to Saturday with performances at 7.45pm and at 2.30pm on Saturday. It is raising money for the Suffolk Kidney Association at Ipswich Hospital. Tickets are £9 for shows tonight until Friday, £5.50 for the matinee and £10 for Saturday night, available at the box office or by calling 01473 295900.