Kings Theatre bosses hail 'incredible' talent as more than 300 Portsmouth children audition for new Annie show

HUNDREDS of children packed into the King’s Theatre yesterday as auditions for the venue's in-house production of Annie got underway.

Sunday, 19th January 2020, 7:20 pm
Updated Monday, 20th January 2020, 7:22 pm

The busy day saw youngsters aged seven to 16 sing and dance in front of an expert panel, vying for a lucrative spot on stage when the show works the boards from April 15 to April 18.

Theatre bosses are posed with the difficult task of whittling a roster of more than 300 applicants from across the Portsmouth area down to two teams of between 15 and 20 young stars.

A jam-packed schedule marked the first round of that process yesterday, with production chiefs expecting to have found their full cast by Sunday, January 26.

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Auditions begin for the role of Annie in a new production at The Kings Theatre in Southsea. Director Jack Edwards with some of the hopefuls, and Buddy the dog, who will be playing a role in the show. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (190120-1)

Ten-year-old Jasmine Foscheri, from Portsmouth, was among the applicants who succeeded in getting a call back and said she had a ‘wonderful' time on-stage.

‘It was quite scary because I had to sing and I’m not the best at singing, but I loved it,’ she said.

‘I didn’t think I would get in and me and my mum made a bet that if I do, she owes me a McDonald’s.

‘I met a really nice girl called Molly and two of my friends, Isla and Florence came as well.

Auditions begin for the role of Annie in a new production at The Kings Theatre in Southsea. Picture: Ian Hargreaves (190120-3)

‘It would be amazing to be part of the proper show.’

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Set in 1930s’ New York during the Great Depression, Annie, a musical, follows the story of an orphan of the same name who spends a fairytale Christmas with a famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks.

Meanwhile the owner of the orphanage Annie used to live in, Miss Hannigan, hatches a plan to spoil her search for true family.

Picture: Ian Hargreaves (190120-5)

Jack Edwards, the Kings Theatre’s creative director and director of Annie, saidreceiving350 audition applications was a ‘real shock’.

‘It just shows you there’s so much talent out there that wants to come here,’ he said.

‘It’s our second in-house production and we’re hoping it’s going to be a real start of things going forward.

‘The standard today has been incredible and we should be so proud in Portsmouth of what’s out there.

‘We’ve had seven-year-olds belting out huge Broadway numbers and it surprises me every time, even though I've been in the business for a long time.’

The Kings Theatre’s CEO, Paul Woolf, added: ‘It’s amazing to see all these kids of different ages and backgrounds so keen to perform at the Kings Theatre.

‘For us, it’s a huge plus when you involve the community like this because it engages so many families across the city.

'The downside is not everyone can go through – and we wish we could thank all 300 people for applying and tell them they're all in.

‘But what’s so great about a day like today is that it energises the whole theatre, and every member of the team loves it and gets really engaged with it.'

Tickets for Annie are available to buy at the theatre’s box office.

Visit in person, or call (023) 9282 8282 or go to kingsportsmouth.co.uk