Youngsters cool in audition spotlight

IT would leave lesser performers trembling with fear, turn their legs to jelly or have them running for the door for fear of rejection.However, scores of young hopefuls were in confident mood yesterday as they attended an open audition for the first ever professional pantomime in Ipswich.

IT would leave lesser performers trembling with fear, turn their legs to jelly or have them running for the door for fear of rejection.

However, scores of young hopefuls were in confident mood yesterday as they attended an open audition for the first ever professional pantomime in Ipswich.

Budding thespians aged between nine and 14 were at the town's Regent Theatre in a bid to try and secure a starring role in Peter Pan playing either Michael or John Darling, the Lost Boys or Babes.

And from the array of talent on show it looked as if it would be a tough decision for the two judges - director Loretta Legge and associate producer Carina Skinner.

Meanwhile Keelan Aldis, seven, from Felixstowe, was attending his first ever audition.

“I go to stage school and had a few roles in plays at school but I've never done anything like this before,” he said.

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Nine-year-old Jake Trimmer, who goes to St Pancras' Catholic Primary School in Ipswich, said: “This is my first proper audition but I'm looking forward to doing it, although I'm a little scared as well. I think I might do well but I don't know. I just like acting.”

There were also performances from Suffolk Academy of Dance, Theatretrain, the Linda Shipton School of Dance and the Stage Coach agency.

Those who are chosen will have the chance to tread the boards alongside renowned English actor Brian Blessed, who is playing Captain Hook, and children's TV presenter Kirsten O'Brien, who is playing the title character.

Hazel Clover, media manager for the Regent, said: “We've had a lot of interest and a lot of people have come along. Mostly from theatre groups but also a great number of individuals because the producer and director want to make sure that they have the best.

“It's very exciting because it's the first time we have been able to give youngsters this type of opportunity.

“They will get to work next to some really big names in the world of acting and it really is fabulous that we have been able to get so many local children involved because that it very important.”

There will be 48 performances of Peter Pan over a five-week period and rehearsals begin in November.

Opening night is on Saturday December 17 and the play runs through the whole of the festive season with a final show on Sunday January 15.

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