IT REMAINS one of the most popular shows in musical theatre and its producer is one of the best-known names in the region’s amateur world.
Together, Lionel Bart’s much-loved musical Oliver and Huddersfield’s Doreen France make an unbeatable combination.
Doreen has been hard at work with the Collegians Musical Theatre Company on a production of Oliver which opens at Dewsbury Town Hall on Tuesday, June 10. It runs until Saturday the 14th.
There are five evening performances (7.15pm) plus a Saturday matinee (2pm).
It has been another demanding show for Doreen, not just in getting a big cast moving but in bringing together a great blend of skills.
“Unfortunately, the person who was to have produced it has had to have a heart bypass and was unable to do the show,” said Doreen.
Not only did she swiftly step in as the show’s director and choreographer, Doreen has been able to support the Collegians’ own team with experienced hands that she has worked with elsewhere.
“Pianist Jeff Taylor, who I work with a lot, is coming over with me and my friend Joyce Waddington, who I’ve worked with at Brighouse, is to do the props. There are so many props in this show.”
“Chris Comber, who has just finished a run at the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield Light Opera Company’s La Cage Aux Folles, has had a week off and has now joined us at Dewsbury.
“Eddie Hoyle is coming across too. I’ve worked with him both at Marsden Amateurs and at the Avalanche Dodgers.”
Christina Jagger and June Pitchforth, two more of Doreen’s many friends, have also joined the company. Both are vastly experienced performers and have worked alongside Doreen many times; “I taught them both to dance,” she says
Sandra Tann, well known in Huddersfield amateur circles, will be working her magic every night with the aid of a wispy beard, wig and hat, to help get Fagin looking suitably disreputable.
She’ll also be on hand to offer stage make-up tips to others in the company.
There’s bags of commitment from the Collegians’ company in general, with many of the performers putting in many miles to get to rehearsals.
“Fagin lives in Selby, Bill Sikes is in Wakefield and Oliver travels with his mum from Selby,” said Doreen.
It is a show which is clearly full of memories for her. She has been associated with the show on a number of occasions and has played Nancy twice. She appeared in a later production as the workhouse mistress, Widow Corney.
“When I first played Nancy I think that it was the first time that anyone had ever seen another side of me rather than just the song and dance girl,” said Doreen.
For tickets phone 01924 324501